We have been working with the iconic, highly reputed Château Palmer now for three years, and we are delighted to be their no. 1 partner in the UK: our very special relationship gives us direct access to their cellars. Alter Ego is by no means the second wine from Palmer; rather it is a different expression, coming from younger vines and different terroirs and we would say of First Growth quality. The rich, yet simultaneously elegant, style has always been appealing, and 2016 looks to be of exceptional quality. The team noted that this was the latest harvest they have ever undertaken, beginning on 3rd October and finishing on 18th October. The estate is now certified biodynamic, giving greater biodiversity to the terroir and more intense perfume to the grapes. Due to the damage of powdery mildew, production of Alter Ego was 50% down. Yet the team was happy: the quality of the vintage saved the harvest; the concentration and freshness of the grapes was extraordinary. Château Palmer is this year delighted with the elegant structure and balance of its two wines.
All prices in bond
2016 Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux: £575 per 12 bottle case/ £590 per 6 magnums / £650 per 3 Double Magnums
The 2016 Alter Ego de Palmer is a blend of 40% Merlot, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12% Petit Verdot this year (a little less Merlot than usual). That exuberant Merlot drives the aromatics along, almost citrus-like with scents of blood orange and blueberries soaring from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannin on the entry, quite sharp acidity at first, quite structured for an Alter Ego with a grippy finish. I think the new oak will bind this together, this sample coming from a used barrel. Drink Date 2021 - 2036. Score: (89 - 91), Neal Martin
2016 Château Palmer: £2840 / 12 bottles, £2855 / 6 magnums, £2940 / 3 double magnums
The 2016 Palmer is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot cropped at 29 hectoliters per hectare between 3 and 18 October. Matured in 65% new oak (my sample coming from a used barrel), the bouquet is perhaps not quite as intense as some of its peers and takes time to click into fifth gear. Eventually it offers tightly wound blackberry, briary and mineral scents; it is very focused, but maybe less extrovert and more classic in style compared to recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry, quite firm in the mouth with slightly tarry black fruit, hints of black truffle developing towards the finish that feels masculine and linear. It has very impressive length, completing what is an intellectual Palmer, one that I suspect will really blossom in bottle. Drink Date 2024 - 2055. Score: (95 - 97). Neal Martin