In 1814, Charles Palmer (1777-1851), Major General in the British army, bought a wine property from the Gascq family on which he was to leave his name.
The story of Charles Palmer's acquisition of the estate relies as much on a tale of amorous intrigue as on historical truth. A gentleman, officer and aide-de-camp to the Prince de Galles,Charles Palmer was known at the English Court for his female conquests and his military victories. The Napoleonic era was drawing to a close when Palmer arrived in France in 1814 with the future Duke of Wellington. It was on a trip by stagecoach across the country that he met Marie de Gascq, a young widow looking to sell her wine property in the Médoc. Madame de Gascq did not hesitate to compare her estate to Lafite-Rothschild. By the end of the trip, persuaded as much by her arguments as by her charm, Charles Palmer had become the owner of the estate. Palmer was a passionate man and he invested a great deal of time, energy and money to develop his property. Between 1816 and 1831, he purchased land and buildings in the communes of Cantenac, Issan, and Margaux. By the 1830s, his property covered 163 hectares, 82 hectares of which were vineyards.
The Major General lived mainly in England, leaving the day-to-day running of his estate to a Bordeaux wine dealer, Paul Estenave, and an estate manager Jean Lagunegrand.
He, in the meantime, undertook to get his wine known and appreciated by his fashionable relations in society and at the English Court. Thanks to his adeptness and his charm, “Palmer's Claret,” as it was called, quickly gained popularity in London clubs and even found favor in the eyes of the future King George IV. But Palmer was living the fast life and by 1843 he found himself forced to sell his estate. Notwithstanding this ultimate lack of success, Palmer remained the man who posterity would say had laid the foundations of excellence and prestige of the estate that bears his name.