Alter Ego comes from defined parts of the total Palmer vineyard, which is divided 50/50 between Alter Ego and the 'Grand Vin'. This is 52% Merlot and 42% Cabernet with 6% Petit Verdot. Lovely nose. Real class in the aromatics. Fabulously floral followed by a palate of the purest silk, a touch of sweetness, some very ripe plummy sweet notes. A spectacular start, but this fades into some rather flat flavours as the dry tannins build. But no doubting the sexiness of the initial texture. Rating: 91-92 L&S (Apr 2016)
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This is sensational, characterized by such purity and beauty and with aromas of blackberries, dark chocolate, walnuts, cedar and lavender. Full-bodied, tight and focused — in part thanks to sensational tannin tension that is intense yet polished. Needs five to six years of bottle age to come together. Great second wine of Palmer. Rating: 96 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Feb 2018)
Production was split equally between the Grand Vin and this second wine at Château Palmer in 2015. This is not the most profound Alter Ego I’ve tasted, but it’s soft, sweet, supple and pleasant with silky tannins and bramble and raspberry fruit. Drinking range: 2020 - 2025 Rating: 91 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (May 2016)
The 2015 Alter Ego de Palmer is a blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 52% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. It has a very open, ravishing, quite precocious bouquet with ripe black cherries, fresh dates and crème de cassis that gain intensity in the glass. The palate is more refined, reins it all back in thanks to quite tensile tannin, a crisp line of acidity, moderate depth in the mouth and a gentle grip. There is a touch of tarriness and cracked black pepper towards the finish with very good length. Give this 5-7 years in bottle. Drinking range: 2020 - 2040 Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2016)
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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