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.
Deep colour. A highly evocative and expressive wine with superb and intense pure black cherry cassis aromas, praline oak nuances and herb, star anise notes, The palate is richly concentrated, dense and compact with black cherry, elderberry, pure blackcurrant fruits, fine sinewy long graphite tannins, bitter sweet chinotto notes and beautiful radicchio crunchiness at the finish. Fantastic vinosity and freshness. Definitely a century innings ahead of it. Easily one of the great wines of the Bordeaux vintage. Tasted at Ch Palmer.
100 points - Andrew Caillard, MW
I wrote that the 2015 was incredible, and this 2016 is again. It’s equally structured and powerful as the 2015, yet there’s an underlying intellectual serenity to this wine. You taste it, and you want to know and experience it even more. Full and tannic yet ever so polished and beautiful. Mesmerizing. Made from biodynamically grown grapes.
99-100/100 James Suckling
The 2016 Palmer is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot cropped at 29 hectoliters per hectare between 3 and 18 October. Matured in 65% new oak (my sample coming from a used barrel), the bouquet is perhaps not quite as intense as some of its peers and takes time to click into fifth gear. Eventually it offers tightly wound blackberry, briary and mineral scents; it is very focused, but maybe less extrovert and more classic in style compared to recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry, quite firm in the mouth with slightly tarry black fruit, hints of black truffle developing towards the finish that feels masculine and linear. It has very impressive length, completing what is an intellectual Palmer, one that I suspect will really blossom in bottle.
95-97/100 Neal Martin
Sophisticated and polished from the outset, the 2016 Palmer is utterly captivating. Dark shades of fruit, accented by hints of smoke, leather and discreet French oak open up in the glass, but it is the wine'e effortless, gracious personality that stands out most. The 2016 literally hovers on the palate with exquisite grace. I can't wait to see how it ages.
95-98/100 Antonio Galloni, Vinous
47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot. No sulphur dioxide until after MLF. Very dark, velvety look - really bright. Complex and energetic. Not simple and sweet but quite a step change. Feels a little transitional because it's so different and more energetic than the old style. 65% new oak, as always, but the wine can absorb it better. Some bitter chocolate. Lots of sweetness. Energy and freshness.
17.5+/20 Jancis Robinson
"The 2016 Palmer was bottled in summer 2018 and matured in 60% new oak. This year it has the same proportion of grape varieties as planted in the vineyard. The gorgeous, extremely pure and floral bouquet features intense black cherries, humidor, crème de cassis and crushed violet. It is quintessential Palmer in every way. The palate is medium-bodied with fine structure and density, matched by perfectly judged acidity. Black fruit infused with pencil lead and hints of black olive gives way to a more cassis-like note toward the finish, which displays superb structure. This is a great Palmer, one from Thomas Duroux’s top drawer. 13.5% alcohol. 2026-2070"
97 Points, Vinous
"Such attractive fruit and alluring ripeness that it draws you in from the get-go. The discreet power here is delivered with a very astute touch. Assorted dark-berry aromas, as well as red plums, abound on the nose. The richness and depth in the mouth is stunning. The tannins are super polished and layered and they draw pristine dark fruit flavors deep into the finish in effortless mode. This is a star of the vintage. A blend of 47 per cent merlot, 47 per cent cabernet sauvignon and six per cent petit verdot. Try from 2024."
98 Points, JamesSuckling.com
'Technical Director Thomas Duroux and his team made one of the most brilliant wines of the 2016 vintage. Palmer is simply exceptional. Rich and dramatically sweeping in the glass, the 2016 is breathtaking. All the elements simply fall into place in a wine of mesmerizing beauty. The counterpoint of dark, sumptuous fruit and floral notes makes for an utterly compelling Palmer that will take its place among the estate's finest vintages. Dark cherry, lavender, spice and mocha are some of the many notes that build into a deep, substantial finish that is truly unforgettable. In a word: magnificent! 2026-2066'
100 Points, Antonio Galloni
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.