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Palmer 2011

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Margaux
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

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Tasting Notes

The opaque blue/purple-colored 2011 Palmer reveals a stunning bouquet of licorice, truffles, camphor, spring flowers, black raspberries and black currants. One of the superstars of the vintage, this brilliant 2011 possesses superb concentration and purity, medium to full body, and remarkable length of close to a minute. A tour de force in winemaking, the Palmer team merits accolades for achieving this level of quality in a more challenging vintage than either 2009 or 2010. The "wine of the vintage" in Margaux, tiny yields of 20 hectoliters per hectare, a final blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, and a severe selection (only 55% of the production made it into Palmer) are the reasons for this success.

Winemaker Thomas Duroux continues to fine tune this already brilliant estate, producing first-growth quality wines year after year.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (212), May 2014

A wine with currants and mineral character on the nose and palate. It's full-bodied, with silky, polished tannins and a long finish. Very tight and refined now. Tannic. Palmer only made 20 hectoliters of wine a hectare. Like a tightly wound ball of cashmere thread. Try in 2020.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2014

Touches of raspberry and tobacco leaf straight off the first nose. This could be opened now with a good few hours in a carafe, as the tannins are fine-boned and riven through with salinity and juice. An elegant, well-balanced Palmer with white truffle, loam, and soft white pepper spice, lingering through the finish. An early harvest following a dry summer that was not overly hot, running from September 7 to 29. A hail storm at the end of June damaged 90% of the vineyard so this is a small yield at 21hl/ha - the lowest since 1961 (until 2018) - and unusually has no Petit Verdot. 60% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, December 2021

Made from the lowest yields at Palmer since 1961 and from what Thomas Duroux described as "nearly a non-crop", this carefully crafted Margaux was the best wine in the commune in 2011. The Petit Verdot was excluded from the grand vin because it wasn't as structured as usual, but there is no shortage of concentration. Beautifully aromatic, with notes of orange peel, black cherry and cassis, this is very fine indeed, with silky tannins and a tapering finish. 10+ years.

Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2012

Dense colour, ripe red and black fruits, superb concentration and controlled power, very polished and intensely expressive, 1st Growth quality. Drink 2017-2035

Steven Spurrier, Decanter.com, April 2012
Read more tasting notes...

Chateau Palmer's 2011 yields of a minuscule 20 hectoliters per hectare were caused by the overall drought conditions, the extreme heat at the end of June, and some problems during flowering. Only 55% of the crop made it into Palmer, and given the lowest yields since 1961, the final blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon possesses huge tannins, but they are remarkably velvety and sweet. This opaque purple-colored, dense, concentrated, full-bodied wine will need time to totally form its personality. The harvest, which occurred between September 10-24, produced a big, boisterous, concentrated wine that should age for 25-30 or more years.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (200), April 2012

The 2011 Palmer has a ripe sweet bouquet of black cherries, blueberry, a touch of iodine and crushed violets, flamboyant as usual. There is a hint of cough candy that develops with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a firm grip. There is a carapace of toasty tannins underneath which lies a core of dense black fruit, although it does not have the same degree of finesse on the finish as say, Rauzan Segla. This is quite a serious Margaux, one that probably deserves longer ageing than others to allow those brusque, rigid tannins to soften. Tasted April 2012.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, April 2012

Palmer only made 20 hectoliters of wine a hectare. That must be the record for the smallest production in the vintage. Extraordinary concentration for the vintage with full body and rich velvety tannins yet it's fresh and intense. Really impressive and powerful. Wow. One of the wines of the vintage.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2012

A vintage that I have tasted a few times this year, and an excellent one to be reminded of at the 10 year window. Layers of blueberry, plum, cassis and rosemary, sculpted and heavy on the rose and violet floral aromatics that speak of its appellation. As it opens, the smoky notes become more evident, and this is sensuous but reflective of a cooler summer than the blockbuster 2009 and 2010 that preceded it. A hail storm at the end of June meant this is a small yield at 21hl/ha - the lowest since 1961 (until 2018). Needs another two or three years to really open up, but you might be lucky with a few hours in the glass - the most recent bottle of this wine that I had (August 2021) was absolutely singing and ready to go. One of the very few Palmers with no Petit Verdot in the blend, and a rare Merlot dominance, both of which make this an unusual bottle.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, September 2021
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.