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April 29, 2015

Palmer and Alter Ego 2014

palmer

Chateau Palmer have just released their 2014 vintage at £126.60 a bottle ex-London, which represents a reduction of 8% on 2013 and 11% on 2012 and 2011. Palmer are on a roll, having made one of best wines of 2011, 2012, and 2013, 2014 is no different. Palmer has an average current market price of £1,615 since 2004 and their 2014 is at the very summit of the wines made here in the village of Margaux. It has been scored 94-95 from James Suckling and 93-96 from the Wine Spectator.

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Despite its classification as a Third Growth, Palmer regularly surpasses the price and Parker points of many Second Growths and is considered by critics to be amongst the best produced wines anywhere in Bordeaux, second only to Château Margaux itself in the village of Margaux. Palmer is renowned for its beauty, perfume and concentration, and its relatively high proportion of Merlot grapes in the blend makes it the Médoc’s most similar wine to those of Pomerol. The wine has a velvety smoothness with a high concentration of berry fruits and a floral nose of spring flowers.

Palmer have also released their second wine Alter Ego, which is a superb wine in its own right. James Suckling has scored it an excellent 92-93 points and James Molesworth has awarded it 90-93. This is an excellent Alter Ego and at £31 per bottle is a very affordable way to enjoy Chateau Palmer’s wondeful terroir and winemaking.

The History of Palmer 
Chateau Palmer originally formed part of the historic estate of Chateau d’Issan until the late 16th century when a part of it was sold to the Gascq family.Originally called Château Gascq, the wine was a favourite at the court of Louis XV. Following the battle of Toulouse, the British General Charles Palmer decided to remain in France and purchase the estate, changing the name to Chateau Palmer in 1814. He gradually bought additional surrounding land and developed the Chateau in to one of the finest producers in Margaux.

In 1853 Palmer was bought by the industrialists Emile and Isaac-Rodrigue Péreire whose name in the banking world rivalled that of the Rothschilds. Sadly they did not have enough time to turn around the fortunes of the wine by the time the 1855 classification was announced, but they did build the distinctive and much loved turreted Chateau and developed the Estate. Palmer was sold in 1938 to the négotiants Sichel, Ginestet, Miailhe and Mähler-Besse and these four famous Bordeaux families began to build Palmer back to its former glory. Sichel and Mähler- Besse remain owners to this day.

Palmer 2014, 6×75 – £760 or 12×75 – £1,520 EP
James Suckling 94-95
This has a fabulous depth of fruit with dark berries, currants, blueberries and hints of licorice and spice. Full-bodied, chewy and rich with velvety tannins and a fruity finish. The tannin backbone comes through at the end, giving the wine tension and freshness.
Wine Spectator 93–96
This is reserved in profile now, with crushed red and black currant fruit and lightly singed alder notes. Yet the core is coiled, showing very energetic raspberry and plum coulis flavors, with a lilting violet edge and a long, iron-fueled finish. There’s a very refined backdrop of tobacco and singed juniper, and the finish is long and suave. Tasted non-blind.

Alter Ego 2014, 6×75 – £185 or 12×75 – £370 EP
James Suckling 92-93
Vibrant and fruity with currant, blueberry and spice character. Full yet tight with tension and brightness. Very velvety tannins. Sexy already.
Wine Spectator 90–93
Bursts with violet, plum and raspberry fruit, lined with silky tannins and backed by a tantalizing iron hint. Features lovely brisk energy and gorgeous purity. Tasted non-blind.
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