2011 3ème Cru Classé Margaux

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Margaux
Classification 3ème Cru Classé

55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot. Palmer was produced from a tiny yield of 20 hl/ha - as they put it, the smallest harvest since 1961. They explained that the lighter soils of Margaux has been particularly susceptible to the drought. Bright, deep purple to black. Very grown-up nose; classic black fruit, very dense but very elegant. They really held back on the extraction - juts a few pump-overs at the beginning of the fermentation, an indication of just how small the beriies were, and just how much solid matter in proportion to the juice. It's more serious than it's neighbour Margaux, but perhaps less sweet and elegant. On the mid-palate it becomes savoury rather than grippily tannic. Very densely dry rather than flashily bright. Long term. Rating: 94+ L&S (Apr 2012)

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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. 2012 - 2042 Rating: 92-94+ Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 2012)

The 2011 Palmer has a ripe sweet bouquet of black cherries, blueberry, a touch of iodine and crushed violets, flamboyant as usual. There is a hint of cough candy that develops with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a firm grip. There is a carapace of toasty tannins underneath which lies a core of dense black fruit, although it does not have the same degree of finesse on the finish as say, Rauzan Segla. This is quite a serious Margaux, one that probably deserves longer ageing than others to allow those brusque, rigid tannins to soften. Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, 2012)

Merlot 55%, Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, and more importantly none of the usual Petit Verdot. Alcohol 13.1%. A pretty amazing colour here, coating the glass with its crimson hue. A very pure crushed fruit character on the nose, puréed forest fruits, elegant, rich and dark yet fresh. Really supple and seductive palate at the start, with energetic acidity underneath really rich fruit, very convincing. And a remarkably dense and tight, well-packed midpalate. Lots of ripe tannin in the finish but it sits behind the fruit very nicely. Very long. As I taste it I just keep coming back to the aromatics, which are beautiful. The tannins are the very dense and velvety, a good style for this vintage. Purity too, this reminds me of the 2010 a little, despite the different blend. Long, concentrated, cerebral but also seductive. Rating: 16.5-17.5 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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