2011 du Château Palmer Margaux

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Margaux

48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot. Tiny yields at Palmer. The Petit Verdot was unusually very floral and aromatic, not as dense as usual, so all of it went into the Alter Ego. Fresh floral fruit nose, the expression bright and jewelly. A bit of complexity and there is matière. Just a few angles, but the balance is good. Lovely stuff. Rating: 91+ L&S (Apr 2012)

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More approachable (it tips the scales at 13.2% alcohol), the 2011 Alter Ego de Palmer is composed of 48% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and a whopping 15% Petit Verdot. Despite all of the latter varietal, the wine is velvety textured, pure and impressively endowed with a lovely fragrance. It should drink beautifully for 10-15+ years. 2012 - 2027 Rating: 88-90 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 2012)

The assemblage is 48% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and for the second time, 16% Petit Verdot since it was very aromatic. The 2011 has a precocious bouquet that has forgotten that this is supposed to be 2011 and not 2009: layers of sweet macerated dark cherries, blueberry and minerals. One can really sense that Petit Verdot. The palate is medium-bodied with tensile tannins on the entry. It has good acidity and weight, firm grip towards the finish. Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, 2012)

Merlot 48%, Cabernet Sauvignon 37% and Petit Verdot an unprecedented 15%. Alcohol 13%. Lovely dark fruit here, with dark sweet plum, nicely packed in, stylish though, concentrated but pure and defined. The palate is lovely, open and expressive, with plenty of delicious fruit character, also lightly minerally and fresh despite the darker tones. A rich structure on the palate, a good tannic backbone too. The tannins do have a velvety dominance in the middle, more typical of 2011, with a concentrated character, but with bright and fresh acids. A tannic finish, but it maintains some sense of elegance. Rich but fresh. Faithful to the vintage. Rating: 15-16 Chris Kissack, 2012)

Château Palmer

Margaux Troisième cru 1855 What is now Château Palmer was originally part of a larger Château d'Issan but was divided among heirs and came into the ownership of the Gascq family in 1748. The widow of the last of the Gascqs, in 1814, and apparently having met him on a stagecoach, sold the estate to an Englishman, General Charles Palmer, and Château de Gascq became Château Palmer. He extended the estate and built quite a reputation for his wines (especially in London) but financial difficulties forced him to sell up in 1843 and, by the time of the 1855 classification, the reputation of Château Palmer had slipped sufficiently to rate "only" 3rd Growth status - a status it has exceded for most of its subsequent history. The present château was built at the end of the 1850's. In 1938 the Société Civile de Château Palmer was formed to take ownership of the estate, with the Sichel and Mähler-Besse families as leading shareholders, a situation which persists to this day. Château Palmer sits between Margaux and Cantenac, just east of Issan. The 55ha of vines are planted to 47% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with the balance being Petit Verdot. The Grand Vin spends 21 months in wood (45% new). The second wine is Alter Ego de Château Palmer. In the best years of General Palmer's reign, the wines of Château Palmer were regarded on a par with those of Château Margaux and, indeed, during the worst years of the 1960's Palmer probably had a better reputation. Today, despite huge improvements by its neighbours, Palmer sits very squarely as the leading Margaux estate that isn't actually Château Margaux.

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