Thomas Duroux is the pensive, sincere presence behind Chateau Palmer, Bordeaux’s third-growth wine that has captivated the interest and the checkbooks of wine lovers around the world.
Chateau Palmer produces wines that have the elegant charm and silky femininity emblematic of the Margaux appellation, but with a strength and tannic backbone you don’t always find in its neighbors. It’s a wine that gives you immediate pleasure, but also leaves you intrigued and wanting to explore more.
The property, bordered by an impressive castle-like chateau with “witches-hat turrets,” includes 55 hectares and produces an annual 120,000 bottles of Chateau Palmer and 96,000 bottles of its second label, Alter Ego.
Thomas Duroux, described in one word, is a listener. In managing the vineyards, he listens. “You need a strong relationship with the place, the vines, with everything,” he told me during a recent trip to Bordeaux.
Indeed, Chateau Palmer has started managing its blocks of vines more precisely and looks not only at the variety, age, and rootstock, but also at what is happening underground below the vines. Thomas now divides all blocks into pieces or “families” and then makes management and harvest decisions accordingly.
Additionally, when he’s thinking about the future of Bordeaux and the business of Palmer, he also listens. During my visit in March, he took the time to ask our group (four business school students) weighty questions about where we saw en primeur, pricing, and Bordeaux’s popularity heading in the future.
Chateau Palmer is an exciting property and, in my opinion, it’s an exciting and challenging time for Bordeaux as well.
Check out our interview with Thomas below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »