A history. Château Palmer's is a tale of the spirit, recounted in the lives of the Major General Palmer, the Pereire brothers, and continuing today through generations of the Mähler-Besse and Sichel families. Profiles in passion...
Charles Palmer. On a spring day in 1814, Lieutenant Colonel Palmer made the auspicious acquaintance of a young widow named Marie Brunet de Ferrière. Sharing a stagecoach ride across France, the noblewoman fell for the charms of the dashing soldier whose reputation for conquests – both military and romantic – already preceded him. By journey's end, she had agreed to sell him the Médoc vineyards she'd just inherited. Without ever having visited, this son of a Bath brewer, aide-de-camp to the Prince Regent and future major general in the British Army, became the owner of domaine de Gascq. An estate renowned for the quality of its wines since the beginning of the 18th century, Charles Palmer spent 30 years enlarging and modernizing it, finally instilling it with such a timeless style, it would forever carry his name: Château Palmer.
The Pereire brothers. By the mid-19th century, Émile and Isaac Pereire had built an empire. Railways, real estate, banking, and cutting-edge industry bore their name. Yet something was missing. Raised in Bordeaux, the children of immigrants, they still dreamed of grandeur in that region closest to their hearts. Both dreamed of acquiring Château Palmer. In 1853, they finally did. They then set about reorganizing it around a neo-Renaissance château, built from scratch in a single year.
Its surrounding outbuildings became the Village, spaces for work and pleasure dedicated to wine. Neither the mildew nor the phylloxera that struck in the late 19th century, not even the First World War, could tarnish their achievements. Château Palmer, it seems, was destined to cross the centuries.
Today. Consecration. Since 1938, Château Palmer has distinguished itself as one of Bordeaux’s leading grand crus. In less than a century, four families have helped to drive the estate towards international recognition. Today, two have remained to lead it into a new era. The Mähler-Besse family, originally from the Netherlands, made its name in the textile and wine business. The Sichel family specialized in the distribution of fine wines in the UK, France and Germany. Together, their descendants rebuilt the estate after the Second World War, and brought into the world a number of exceptional vintages, including the legendary 1961. They have now entrusted the direction of Château Palmer to Thomas Duroux, but continue to ensure the estate evolves sustainably, attentive to the world that surrounds it.
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