|Grapes||Merlot, Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot|
48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot. Palmer's second wine, Alter Ego was the first in line of a really upbeat tasting at the château. 20% of the crop was lost to mildew which they were powerless against with organic treatments, but what was saved was fabulous in every way. A lovely, fresh, open nose. Very silky textured feel with fresh plum sweetness and rippling weight, then pure ripe black fruit on the finish. Drinking range: 2027 - 2042 Rating: 92-94 L&S (Apr 2017)
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The 2016 Alter Ego de Palmer has a perfumed bouquet of juicy black fruit, boysenberry jam and light violet aromas. The palate is sweet and chewy on the entry, and quite compact, with firm tannins, leading to a lightly spiced finish. It just misses some excitement and pizzazz compared to its peers. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2022 - 2035 Rating: 89 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com(Aug 2020)
The 2016 Alter Ego is cut from the same cloth as the grand vin, just less intense, with beautiful cassis fruits, notes of spring flowers, spice, and cedar pencil. A lovely, elegant wine, it has some similarities to the 2010, yet is ever so slightly more elegant, with softer tannins. Drink this beauty any time over the coming 20 years or more. Drinking range: 2019 - 2039 Rating: 93 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com(Mar 2019)
The 2016 Alter Ego de Palmer is a blend of 40% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Petit Verdot this year (a little less Merlot than usual). That exuberant Merlot drives the aromatics along, almost citrus-like with scents of blood orange and blueberries soaring from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin on the entry, quite sharp acidity at first, quite structured for an Alter Ego with a grippy finish. I think the new oak will bind this together, this sample coming from a used barrel. Drinking range: 2021 - 2036 Rating: 89-91 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com(Apr 2017)
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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