Château Palmer’s 2012 is very impressive and follows on from a trio of highly successful vintages here spanning 2009-2011. The improvements and the consistency achieved under the leadership of managing director Thomas Duroux now make Palmer one of Bordeaux’s stand-out wines, year in, year out. The heights to which Palmer can soar are well known – 1961, 1983, 1989 – but it’s the inconsistency that’s been ironed out. Unquestionably Palmer is now on the same qualitative pedestal as Château Margaux, if often its stylistic opposite, usually plusher and more seductive in style. The only issue this year is the price. I think it’s fair to say most people were hoping to see more than 1% trimmed off the tag but least it hasn’t gone up! Thank heavens for small mercies.
Posts Tagged ‘Petit Verdot’
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.
Last November Paul Pontallier was expressing embarrassment at the potential quality of the 2010 vintage he had just put in vat. Just how could the estate follow on from the 2009? Again it’s a case of a different year rather than a better one, but 2010 is a beauty here. In terms of the harvest itself the vintage was more homogenous across the plots than in 2009, a year in which some of the younger Merlots did struggle a bit with the heat and the drought. That wasn’t the case in 2010 and there was more consistency to the harvest. This has had a knock on effect more for Pavillon Rouge which is terrific. As for the grand vin, it is exceptional, with remarkable purity and freshness. In the line up of first growths this year it is the most beautiful and seductive. For the first time the proportions of the grand vin and Pavillon Rouge are the same, at 38%, down 15% on 2009, with the remainder of the harvest going into the estate’s new third wine [as yet to be christened – or to be tasted…].
Charles Chevallier and his team at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild have come up with the goods again, though that hardly counts as news these days. Hot on the heels of the perfect 2009 is a grand vin of extraordinary intensity in 2010. It’s not a better wine than 2009 but it is different. Maybe it doesn’t quite have the elegance and subtlety of the previous year but it is more classic, with more ‘volume’ as they put it at Lafite. It certainly feels like it has more power and concentration. It is a sublime and quite amazing wine, yet still with freshness and somehow ‘only’ 13.5 in alcohol. What terrific terrior they have. Carruades de Lafite too is a marvel in 2010, a ‘second’ wine that seems to have upped its game exponentially in the past few vintages.