|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Margaux|
Traditionally the finest wine of the Médoc after the first growths. 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 and yields have been very low. There is also a fine second wine produced called Alter Ego de Palmer.
The late-ripening, low-yielding vintage has delivered a beautifully balanced wine of striking intensity in the 2021 Palmer. Unwinding in the glass with complex aromas of blackberries, exotic spices, licorice, violets and burning embers, it's full-bodied, layered and enveloping, with a deep, concentrated core of fruit, ripe tannins and lively acids, concluding with a long, expansive finish. If recent vintages of Palmer have set new records in their power and richness, the 2021 marks a return to the classical proportions of the 1990s—with all the additional concentration and precision that Thomas Douroux's pioneering viticulture and thoughtful winemaking have brought to the equation at this address in the interim. The grand vin is a blend of 56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, picked between September 24 and October 15. Tasted twice.
The 2021 Palmer has a discrete bouquet that demands patience. This does not race out of the blocks, rather it unfurls with subtle graphite scents, blackberry, hints of cassis, plus some of the briny aromas that I noticed on the Alter Ego. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins that frame the cedar and graphite infused black fruit. Quite strict for a Palmer, yet fresh with a cerebral, saline finish that is almost Pauillac-like in style despite the majority from old Merlot vines that are situated on some of its finest gravel terroirs. Very long, very suave on the finish. Superb.
There will be 7,500 cases of Palmer this year from a yield of 22 hl/ha. The harvest was 2 weeks later than last year with grapes picked into mid October. Chaptalisation (used for the first time since 2013) brought the alcohol up to 13.5% abv. The blend is 56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot - aged in 70% new oak. Deep purple in colour. Smoky liquorice and brooding cherry, damson and cassis fruit define the nose. The palate offers more steeped hedgerow fruit, finding an interplay between the sweet and the fresh. The tannins are initially silky but deceptively firm and plentiful. They provide a saline backbone reinforced by bright, balanced acidity. The mid-palate is impressive for the vintage, but the finish remains airy and high-toned, with violets joining sweet spice and succulent cherry. Long.
There’s brightness and clarity to this young wine, with blackcurrants, violets, lavender and blackberries. Medium body with a sold core of fruit and a long, fresh finish. Fine tannins. Bright acidity. 56% merlot, 3% petit verdot and 41% cabernet sauvignon. From biodynamically grown grapes.
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2021 Palmer needs a little swirling and coaxing to unlock evocative plum preserves, black cherry compote, and star anise notes, followed by earthy nuances of tilled soil, black truffles, and cracked black pepper with a touch of wild sage. Medium-bodied, the palate delivers beautifully soft, rounded tannins and lots of juicy fruit in the mid-palate, supported by harmonious acidity, finishing with beautiful purity and perfume. The blend is 56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot. 65% of the crop will be aged new barriques for the first year, then transferred to foudres for the second year.
Palmer has a little more Merlot in the 1st wine blend than usual, something that is not the case for everyone this year, but reflects how unusual Palmer's Merlot on gravel really is. This is one that makes you sit up and take notice; with savoury fruits that have sinew and character, juicy raspberry, blueberry and black cherry, good persistency, helped by fresh acidities and slate texture. Clear ageing potential, acidity more present than in the past few years at Palmer, but the sense of energy and momentum is entirely in the spirit of the estate. 22hl/h yields (but 8ha were lost to frost, so the 'real' yield was 27hl/h). Harvest September 24 to October 16, with the majority in by October 11.
56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot. 22 hl/ha. Cask sample.
Less exuberance but Palmer identity intact, the old-vine Merlot to the fore. Dense and full with a generosity of fruit. Silky texture on attack, the tannins present but controlled. Slightly dry finish with a bit of chew. Should improve further with élevage. (JL) 13.3%
Drink 2028 – 2046