2010 Chateau Palmer Harvest Thomas Duroux Interview



Thomas Duroux from Chateau Palmer discussed what took place prior to the 2010 Chateau Palmer Harvest.  “We had a very dry summer with almost no rain in August. We were concerned as vines were suffering from draught, basal leaf started to dry out! But finally we received, 37 mm of rain” Was that enough moisture to turn things around?  Duroux answered, “That should be enough to make sure phenolic maturity is completed for the 2010 Chateau Palmer Harvest”. 

It was reported that a major storm hit the Medoc, Monday, October 4 .     Did the weather allow you to continue harvesting? “We had 17 mm of rain yesterday. We had planned to harvest a big parcel of late Merlot, which are more powerful. But with the showers, we decided to harvest this parcel today.”  Did that much water effect the grapes? “Considering the thickness of the skins, the rain will not be a problem, specially on a sanitary point of view”.

What is the big difference between the harvest conditions between 2009 and 2010 at Chateau Palmer? “The flowering took longer this year. We do not have the same homogeneity”. With that in mind, does 2010 remind you of any other year? Or is it still too early to tell? “It is too early to compare. We would like to compare 2009 and 2010, inevitably. But we will have to wait a little bit more time.  Maybe it will be a great mix, between the exuberance of the 2005, and the purity of the 2009”?

Did your harvest start as expected during the week of September 27? “Yes we started picking, last week”.  Compared with some Bordeaux wine producers, Palmer is a small property for the Medoc.  How many people are working the harvest in 2010?  “Our team is made up of 130 persons:15 vignerons and vigneronnes, along with 72 Danish students and 37 Belgian students accompanied by their professors”.

As of Sunday, October 1, where are you at with the harvest at Palmer? “As of today, we harvested our replacement vines and half of our merlot parcels. We expect to finish the merlot Sunday evening, or Tuesday evening, depending on the ripeness evolution of the grapes”.

While it’s still early, and as we both know a lot can happen between now and the end of the 2010 Chateau Palmer Harvest, look at the unexpected storm yesterday for example, can you share your thoughts on the vintage at this time? “For the moment, our observation is we have a good alcohol levels, merlot is around 14°/15°, cabernet sauvignon is on average, 13.5°/14°). The level of potential tannins is really important. That is certainly superior to 2009 and finally, we have a great acidity level, with pH that is quite low”.

What does this mean to the consumer? “The 3 factors determining the good balance of a wine are favorable. So we have the conditions to make a great fine wine, but we know need to take a global perspective and wait for the results of the first tanks to confirm this feeling”.

When will you feel more comfortable with how the wines are turning out? “As the fermentation in the first tank (with the berries that have been picked last week) is nearing completion, we will have some indicators very soon”.

What unique challenges have you faced with the 2010 harvest? “First, we thought that we would group the Merlot harvest. But it took more time than expected. We want to be sure the grapes reach their optimum stage of maturity before picking. We taste the grapes everyday in order to determine which parcels we will harvest the following day. As weather conditions are  forecast to be good for the rest of the week,  we take the time to do it properly”.

Your feedback, comments and questions are welcome.


  1. Jean-Christophe MEYROU on

    I was at Palmer last week, the first Merlot the harvested were superb. No doubt that Thomas will make another amazing wine this year !

Post your comments or questions now