Wine Words & Video Tape

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Bordeaux 2010 Primeurs: Chateau Palmer

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Palmer under Thomas Duroux and his team have made a wonderful 2010. For me it is a whisker behind the brilliant wine that they made in 2009 but that’s not a criticism. There’s more grip this year, but the wine is still wonderfully lush and perfumed, but the tannin is more noticeable and the wine will need more time to settle.

The vintage was long and lasted a month for Palmer’s team of 150 Danish students doing the picking. It began on September 22 and finished on October 20 and was conducted on a plot by plot basis as the grapes achieved proper phenolic ripeness, the main concern in such a dry, concentrated vintage. The resulting fruit was rich and ripe, high in tannin, acidity and potential alcohol. The Cabernet was 13-14% and the Merlot 14-15% range. Some of the grapes had extraordinary degrees of extract and tannin, some of the Petit Verdot had IPT readings of 120!  Care was exercised in extraction here, there were fewer pumping overs in the cellar and the wine spent less time on its skins. The team here didn’t want to pick up any bitterness from the skins and pips. The large amount of malic acid too in the resulting wines meant that malolactic fermentation was long, in some cases lasting into January. The estate is describing the vintage as legendary, and that doesn’t appear to be an exaggeration here.  Again the alcohols are high here, statistically more Napa Valley than Margaux but the freshness is amazing so you simply don’t notice it.

Chateau Palmer

Dense and saturated colour; tight to the rim; quite dense; ripe, cassis and blackcurrants; very layered nose, seam of ripe fruit, very perfumed; lots of depth; deep and layered; good and clean, quite ‘cool’ feel and fresh; concentrated and tannic palate but nicely done; chewy and dense. Lots of life and grip here. 2009 is more flamboyant but this extremely good and not far behind at all. In fact, given time it may be the other way around. Let’s see. Super wine. [54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, alc 14.5%] 95-96+/100 Tasted 7April 2011 at the chateau.

Alter Ego

Deep; creamy ripe blackcurrants; pretty seductive; quite intense with grip, more grip on the palate. Freshness here, despite the 14.4 degrees alcohol. In fact pretty lively on the palate. Great effort. 90-92/100 [51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 49% Merlot, alc 14.4%] Tasted 7April 2011 at Chateau Palmer.

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