Chateau Palmer 2021
• Domaine: Château Palmer
• Appellation: Margaux
• Classification: Third Growth, 3ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Margaux, Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
If a reclassification were ever in the cards, Château Palmer would be up for a promotion without a doubt. This Third Growth Margaux estate transcends its ranking from 1855 and is now considered by many wine critics to belong in the higher ranks. These sensationally fragrant, richly complex wines are some of the finest examples of Bordeaux. Their second label, Alter Ego, has a cult-like following and if a new classification were ever to take place, would be easily considered a Fourth Growth wine or higher. Alter Ego is a worthy purchase for any wine buyer - and it never stays on the shelves too long. With knockout vintages each year, Château Palmer is a star producer with a massively loyal fanbase.
The history of Château Palmer dates far before it received its namesake. The vineyards were initially holdings of Château d’Issan before they were purchased by the fiery Madame de Gascq. Madame de Gascq saw the estate’s potential well before anybody else did and told Englishman Charles Palmer the wines of the estate were easily as good as some of the First Growth properties in the Médoc. Charles agreed with her, purchased the estate, and per the tradition of the time named it after himself. Charles Palmer tripled the property’s holdings to 80-hectares, and in 1843 sold it to the Periere family. The Periere family invested a lot of money into improving and modernizing the Château, only to sell it to a group of four powerful négociant families. Of these four families, the Mähler-Besse family and the Sichel family are still some of the major shareholders running the estate today.
In 1998, Château Palmer debuted their legendary second label, Alter Ego. Buyers take note – Alter Ego is not a Second Wine. It’s an entirely separate label with different plots used for production. Château Palmer is unique for a Left Bank estate because their vineyards – and wines including Alter Ego -- have a heavy preponderance of Merlot. These vines are planted within the mixture of gravelly/clay soils. Many other properties in Margaux plant their Merlot vines simply in clay, but what makes Château Palmer unique is their decision to plant these vines in their more graveled areas.
Today Château Palmer is overseen by the young and energetic Thomas Duroux. Duroux brings with him an impressive background; he formerly was in charge of the Super Tuscan legend Ornellaia prior to his working at Château Palmer. Before that, he apprenticed at Château Léoville Las Cases and has worked at renowned wineries such as Mondavi and Tokay. Thomas Duroux was responsible for transitioning the vineyards to 100% biodynamic viticulture. Sheep graze in the 60-hectare vineyards and a herd of cows provide manure for fertilizer. Special nettle and horsetail teas are sprayed on the vines to assist in fertilizing and protecting them. Château Palmer has also invested in soundwave machines that emit tones and vibrations to help develop protein cells in the vines. Château Palmer has been Certified Biodynamic since 2017, with their 2014 label being their first 100% biodynamic vintage.
The viticultural team at Château Palmer has a culture of respect regarding the land, their wines, and their team. That holistic mentality and consistent pursuit of excellence manifests itself in their profound wines – year after year.
"The late-ripening, low-yielding vintage has delivered a beautifully balanced wine of striking intensity in the 2021 Palmer. Unwinding in the glass with complex aromas of blackberries, exotic spices, licorice, violets and burning embers, it's full-bodied, layered and enveloping, with a deep, concentrated core of fruit, ripe tannins and lively acids, concluding with a long, expansive finish. If recent vintages of Palmer have set new records in their power and richness, the 2021 marks a return to the classical proportions of the 1990s—with all the additional concentration and precision that Thomas Douroux's pioneering viticulture and thoughtful winemaking have brought to the equation at this address in the interim. The grand vin is a blend of 56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, picked between September 24 and October 15. Tasted twice." - William Kelley, The Wine Advocate (4/29/2022), Ratings: 95-97
"Palmer has a little more Merlot in the 1st wine blend than usual, something that is not the case for everyone this year, but reflects how unusual Palmer's Merlot on gravel really is. This is one that makes you sit up and take notice; with savoury fruits that have sinew and character, juicy raspberry, blueberry and black cherry, good persistency, helped by fresh acidities and slate texture. Clear ageing potential, acidity more present than in the past few years at Palmer, but the sense of energy and momentum is entirely in the spirit of the estate. 22hl/h yields (but 8ha were lost to frost, so the 'real' yield was 27hl/h). Harvest September 24 to October 16, with the majority in by October 11." - Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (4/7/2022) Rating: 96, Drink: 2028-2043
"The 2021 Palmer is one of the truly epic wines of the year. It's not the 2018, but it is in that vein, albeit at 13% in alcohol. There's tremendous richness and sheer extract here. Blackberry jam, chocolate, smoke, licorice, lavender and mocha notes possess remarkable primary intensity, more like a young must than a wine with a few months of age. Readers will find a Palmer that offers a compelling mix of opulence and energy." - Antonio Galloni, Vinous (5/2022), Ratings: 94-97
"The 2021 Palmer has a discrete bouquet that demands patience. This does not race out of the blocks, rather it unfurls with subtle graphite scents, blackberry, hints of cassis, plus some of the briny aromas that I noticed on the Alter Ego. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins that frame the cedar and graphite infused black fruit. Quite strict for a Palmer, yet fresh with a cerebral, saline finish that is almost Pauillac-like in style despite the majority from old Merlot vines that are situated on some of its finest gravel terroirs. Very long, very suave on the finish. Superb. - Neal Martin, Vinous, (May 2022) Rating: 94-96
Château Margaux 2018Special Price $928.95 Average US Price $1,086.00
Château Margaux 2020$698.95
Château Margaux 2019Special Price $848.95 Average US Price $934.00
Château Margaux 2016Special Price $788.95 Average US Price $891.00
Château Margaux 2017Special Price $598.95 Average US Price $651.00