History and philosophy...

Firstly, a few words about my own background, which may help clarify the objectives of Primo Palatum.

Born in Cahors in 1968, I graduated from the University of Enology at Toulouse in 1991. After having made wine in Cahors in 1990 and at Domaine de Chevalier in 1991, I settled in Bordeaux and established my first company, Réveil-Papilles. After a last vinification, the same year, at Château de Fieuzal, I concentrated on consultancy, teaching enology, and trading in the top wines of the South-West and Languedoc-Roussillon. I had visited these regions many times between 1989, when I began my enology studies, and 1996, and had therefore established privileged contacts with the best growers. These contacts later proved the key in successfully establishing Primo Palatum.

In September 1996, just before the harvests, following a long conversation with a friend who was also a wine trader, I decided to make the break and return to my original vocation - making wine. But how could I do this without vines, cellars or money ? A few persuasive phone calls convinced friendly growers to allot me a small part of their harvest to launch the range of “haute expression” wines. This range took the name Primo Palatum a few months later.

The philosophy ?
• To create a unique long-term partnership with a single grower per appellation possessing a particularly well-sited vineyard.
• To work from one year to the next with the same selected parcel, planted with the native varieties of the region, or with those that best express the full potential of the terroir on which they are planted.
• To share with the grower all means available, technical and financial, as well as experience and “talent” so as to produce the very best wine possible.

This involves above all very careful work in the vineyard, with short pruning, green harvesting if necessary and leaf-plucking, in order to obtain low yields of ripe, balanced grapes.

Then, for the whites, gentle pressing, fermentation and ageing in cask on the lees with bâtonnage. For the reds, long macerations with measured extractions in order to preserve all the flavour of the ripe fruit and the finesse of the tannins. The final blend is always assembled before malolactic fermentation and subsequent ageing. Ageing in barrels, on the fine lees, with bâtonnage, and no racking until the bottling. This takes place with neither fining nor filtration.

The ageing of the whites, as well as the reds, is conducted in 225 litre barrels custom-made with my personal selection of staves, from fine grain Allier and Nevers oak, dried in the open air for 36 months.

All the wines in the Primo Palatum range are vinified, aged and bottled in their region of origin. This has a price, but is the only way for me to preserve the precious link with the different terroirs and the growers who bring them to life. The role of Primo Palatum is ultimately closer to that of a wine producer expressing precise terroirs than to that of a traditional négociant-eleveur who blends wines from different growers and centralises ageing and bottling on one site.

This gives Primo Palatum a unique place in today’s French wine landscape.

With passion and rigour, Primo Palatum continues to offer wines of the highest quality.

Xavier COPEL

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