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.
"The 2017 Palmer, a blend of 54% Merlot with 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, is very deep purple-black in colour and leaps from the glass with freshly macerated blue and black fruits: wild blueberries, blackberries and black cherries plus hints of licorice, rose hips, tilled soil and oolong tea with a waft of truffles. Medium-bodied, very finely crafted with exquisitely ripe and smooth yet firm tannins and sporting great mid-palate intensity and wonderful freshness, it finishes long and minerally.
Some of the vineyards to the west of Margaux that go into Alter Ego got a bit of frost in 2017, but there were no frost issues for Palmer, and overall yields here were a respectable 38 hectolitres per hectare. This vintage, for the first time, the estate used all native yeasts for the fermentations. The blending process took place before malolactic fermentation this year, which is not very common. Winemaker Thomas Duroux is also decreasing his sulphur additions, with his first addition of SO2 occurring relatively late in the processing this year—not until the end of blending at the end of February."
96-98 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Robert Parker Wine Advocate
"54% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot. Apparently, the blends were made particularly early this year, almost before the beginning of the malos. No selected yeast added. No SO2 on the berries, helping to fix the colour.
Black core. A little smoky and reduced, more closed/restrained than the Alter Ego. Tannins are firm but so fluid. The tannins are somehow deceptive, they seem so velvety. Very fresh, subtle and extremely persistent. Incredibly pure, and very long. So fluid (though I have to be careful because apparently fluide in French means 'dilute') and incredibly elegant. Drink 2027-204"
17.5+ points, Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson
"This is a sexy and well-formed 2017 with very velvety and suave tannins that go on for minutes. Full-bodied, soft and round. Extremely long and last for minutes."
97-98 points, James Suckling
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.