The pleasures of Bordeaux 2016 continue at Château Palmer, the Margaux appellation’s ambitious overachiever. The property has been on a roll for over a decade. Palmer 2016 is amongst the very best that the vintage has to offer. It rivals first growth Château Margaux [again]. If 2015 was all power here, the 2016, by comparison, is beautifully aromatic, with wonderfully plush fruit and velvety tannins. There is freshness too with a nice spine of acidity. It is a fantastic wine, difficult to imagine Bordeaux being any better to be honest. The purity is fantastic. Pricing, however, is once again firm shall we say and in sterling terms at least this is the most expensive Palmer yet released. Alter Ego, the other wine produced at the property – not quite a second wine, more a different, fruit driven interpretation of the terroir – is succulent and appetising.
The wet and cool conditions in the early growing season were very worrisome, bringing the threat of mildew. Huge effort was required in the vineyard in this period especially [the property run by Thomas Duroux now follows a biodynamic regime]. A hole in the weather opened up perfectly in early June to permit a quick and even flowering. Weather improved from then on, with no further substantial rain until September 13. Nevertheless, despite the drought and the warm temperatures by mid August only partial ripening had been achieved meaning that the harvest would be a late one.
September’s single rain event [37mm in a single day] helped achieve final ripening. Havest, between October 3-18, was one of the latest on record at the estate. A combination of dry weather, sun, but cool nights, preserved aromatic intensity and acidity. The wines produced have depth, balance and considerable style. The texture the tannin is wonderful. The split between Château Palmer and Alter Ego is 65:35 in terms of production.
Alter Ego, Margaux, 2016
Lovely colour; depth; dark core; lots of fruit; jam packed; spicy plum; black cherry; spices; extract and matter but very supple; very moreish and appetizing; lovely extract; succulent; really good chew to the fruit; seemingly nice acidity; same acidity as last ’15 apparently; nice length; appetising [40% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petit Verdot, 29hl/ha, 13% alc]. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2021-2028. 92-94
Château Palmer, Grand Cru Classé, Margaux, 2016
Deep and saturated looking; fresh fruit aromas; cassis notes but also spices; beautiful nose; perfumed; lovely extract and fruit on the palate; pure, concentrated but velvety tannin; fantastic wine; lovely acidity which adds a degree to the flesh of the vintage; harmonious; really good stuff. Potentially perfect Margaux. [47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 29hl/ha, 13% alc]. Tasted 4/4/17. Drink 2023-2046. 97-100