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Palmer 2017

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

Traditionally the finest wine of the Médoc after the 1st growths, Palmer slipped a bit in the 1980's but has returned to top form recently, rejoining the super-second mini-league alongside Lascases, Cos d'Estournel, Ducru, Pichon Lalande, etc. The talented wine-maker is Thomas Duroux who always produces a pure, smooth and elegant wine with (for the Médoc) a high proportion of Merlot in the blend. Since 2014 the vineyard has been certified biodynamic. Much of the crop is used for the second label - Alter Ego. After Chateau Margaux itself, there is no doubt that this is the top wine of the appellation but prices refect this.

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Tasting Notes

Tasted blind. Deep ruby colour. Spicy and dark-fruited. There is enough smoky wood to add complexity without dominating the fruit. Dark cherry bursts through on a palate with real energy. Acidity forms the structure as much as tannin (which is fine and ripe), so the fruit feels very tangy and juicy. Brisk and intense, this is a wine of elegance and definition. A very refined example that shows the best elements of the vintage.
Drink 2024 – 2037

Thomas Parker MW, JancisRobinson.com, October 2021

Very perfumed and subtle with dried flowers and citrus, as well as blue fruit. Full-bodied with wonderfully diffused, integrated tannins that just run over the edges of the wine. It’s extremely polished and very, very long. Fresh and bright. Energetic finish. A thoughtful wine. A blend of 54% merlot, 42% cabernet sauvignon and 4% petit verdot. Drink after 2023.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (June 2019), January 2020

Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Palmer needs considerable swirling to shake loose its gorgeous perfume of Morello cherries, blackcurrant pastilles and wild blueberries with emerging suggestions of iron ore, dusty soil, wild sage, cinnamon toast, and graphite. Medium-bodied, the palate has exquisitely ripe, fine-grained tannins and compelling tension to the tightly wound red and black fruit layers, finishing long and minerally. The blend is 54% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Petit Verdot.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, December 2022

Peony and rosebud aromatics on the nose, welcoming even although the austerity is clear right now. Needs another few years to soften, as has far more density than many 2017s, along with clarity of expression, sculpted blueberry and cassis fruits. Resonates through the finish and as it opens you see the smoked cedar edges and sweet liquorice root. Harvest September 20 to 29, 60% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, December 2021

Black core. A little smoky and reduced, more closed/restrained than the Alter Ego. Tannins are firm but so fluid. The tannins are somehow deceptive, they seem so velvety. Very fresh, subtle and extremely persistent. Incredibly pure, and very long. So fluid (though I have to be careful because apparently fluide in French means 'dilute') and incredibly elegant.
Drink 2027-2047

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2018

The nose has a mix of fruits freshness underpinned by rich ripe black fruits. The palate has fleshy richness creamy and supple velvet smooth the tannins fine and integrated. The underlying freshness gives a lighter stylish elegance to the finish. 2026-45

Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2018

Winemaker Thomas Duroux explained that this wine is made because the picking date was determined by the ripeness of the grapes and the exact size, shape and style of the wine which he wanted to make i.e. 2017 Palmer. It was not determined by the weather or any other extraneous factors which, in years gone by, might have resulted in a less complete wine. This is a stunning, silky, perfectly proportioned wine with amazing freshness and energy. A great sign is that the oak has already melted away into this wine’s core perfectly.

Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2018
Read more tasting notes...

This is a sexy and well-formed 2017 with very velvety and suave tannins that go on for minutes. Full-bodied, soft and round. Extremely long and last for minutes.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2018

A blend of 54% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored, 2017 Palmer gives a very serious nose of pronounced blackcurrant cordial, warm plums and blackberry preserves with hints of cedar chest, pencil shavings, violets, dark chocolate and star anise plus exotic wafts of sandalwood and cassia. Medium-bodied, the palate features fantastically vibrant, crunchy black fruits with a firm texture of ripe, grainy tannins and tons of freshness, finishing very long and mineral laced. It will need a good 5-7 years to really blossom with all those tightly wound nuances, but it should be a stunner!

Drink Date
2025 - 2065

Some of the vineyards to the west of Margaux that go into Alter Ego got a bit of frost in 2017, but there were no frost issues for Palmer, and overall yields here were a respectable 38 hectoliters per hectare. This vintage marks the first time that the estate used all native yeasts for the fermentations. Winemaker Thomas Duroux is also decreasing his sulfur additions, with his first addition of SO2 occurring relatively late in the processing this year—not until the end of blending, at the end of February 2018.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, March 2020

The 2017 Palmer, a blend of 54% Merlot with 42% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, is very deep purple-black in color and leaps from the glass with freshly macerated blue and black fruits: wild blueberries, blackberries and black cherries plus hints of licorice, rose hips, tilled soil and oolong tea with a waft of truffles. Medium-bodied, very finely crafted with exquisitely ripe and smooth yet firm tannins and sporting great mid-palate intensity and wonderful freshness, it finishes long and minerally.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (236), April 2018

It's very interesting to watch a 'super-second' risk scaling back the muscular attributes of its wine. The key, says director Thomas Duroux, was building the blend carefully and using the press wines to preserve the mid-palate (12% press in this wine, around the same as the 2015). It's less powerful and concentrated than the last few vintages, and yet the wine feels sculpted and sewn into place. The fine tannins are extremely clear and precise, and there's a purity of fruit expression that gives an overwhelming initial impression. The aromatics are really striking, offering an abundance of violet notes on the nose with huge finesse. It just gets better and better in the mouth,, and the tannins do that slow-build thing that is so disarming. This has clear ageing potential. Very low SO2 use for the past few years, in keeping with their biodynamic principles. Just one plot of Petit Verdot for the grand vin was hit by frost. Harvested 20-29 September. 11,000 cases of Palmer, representing 55% of the crop.
Drinking Window 2026 - 2040

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2018
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.