Regarded a “Super Second” (but technically a 3me growth), Palmer is capable of producing wines that equal or even outstrip the quality of its famous Premier cru neighbour, Ch. Margaux.
Named for the wealthy English military man who bought the estate in the early 19th century, Palmer is now majority owned by the Mahler Besse and Sichel families - famous Bordeaux negociants.
Many of the best plots on the property were purchased after the Classification of 1855, explaining in part why Palmer did not warrant higher standing at that time. Certainly today there is no question that the wine is among Bordeaux’s best.
The estate also makes a separate second label - named Alter Ego - which is made from similarly high quality fruit but treated differently in the winery with the aim of producing a counterpoint in style to the First wine.
95-97/100 Andrew Caillard MW. Very deep inky colour. Intense violet/ dark chocolate/blackcurrant praline aromas. Very lovely chocolatey wine, packed with solid cassis/ mulberry / praline flavours, dense chocolaty savoury tannins and spicy/ cedar oak. Finishes firm and chocolaty. Delicious.
92-94+/100 Robert Parker Jr.Chateau Palmer’s 2011 yields of a minuscule 20 hectoliters per hectare were caused by the overall drought conditions, the extreme heat at the end of June, and some problems during flowering. Only 55% of the crop made it into Palmer, and given the lowest yields since 1961, the final blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon possesses huge tannins, but they are remarkably velvety and sweet. This opaque purple-colored, dense, concentrated, full-bodied wine will need time to totally form its personality. The harvest, which occurred between September 10-24, produced a big, boisterous, concentrated wine that should age for 25-30 or more years.
18.5/20 Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson.55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. 13% press wine. This year it was more a case of 'infusion' than extraction – to get the colour, fruit and structure without too much tannin. The free-run juice was very pure, the press wine creamy. Deep dark cherry colour. Again aromatic, less floral than the Alter Ego (which has all the Petit Verdot), graphite and dark, elegant fruit, not in the least leafy. Really mineral. Tannins are so polished and so fine though they coat the mouth with a very fine layer and add to the freshness. Cool and utterly long and clear. Tannins are very hard to describe because there is a dry finesse but also a creamy roundness that comes later in the mouth. No spicy exoticism in this vintage, plenty of classicism.
18.5/20 Stven Spurrier, Decanter. Dense colour, ripe red and black fruits, superb concentration and controlled power, very polished and intensely expressive, 1st Growth quality. Drink 2017-2035.
On Bordeaux’s Left Bank, near the southern end of the Haut-Médoc, lies Margaux, one of the most celebrated villages in the world of wine. Margaux is home to Château Margaux, the revered first-growth property, as well as 20 more Grand Cru Classé estates ranked in the 1855 classification of Bordeaux. The acclaimed wine of Margaux benefits from the diverse soil types in the appellation.
In general, Margaux has a very thin layer of topsoil, and the very best vineyards, above the Gironde River, have gravelly soils that encourage deep root growth and allow for good drainage. Because of the variations in soil, Margaux wines can range from delicately flavoured to highly concentrated, from medium- to full-bodied. Yet all Margaux wines share a fragrant bouquet, silky texture and remarkable balance. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in the wines of Margaux, as it does throughout the Left Bank, with Merlot and Cabernet Franc used in small percentages for blending. Because of their excellent aging potential, the best Margaux wines are prized by collectors.