This is solidly ripe, with juicy energy adding extra lift to the mix of plum, cherry and blackberry fruit. A super-fresh iron streak checks in, along with mouthwatering bay and savory notes. This stands out from the pack.
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.
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.
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.
There was some loss in production here, 15 ha, also a second fruit set on these vines, which were not used in the wines (there are instances where producers did use this second generation fruit this year). The blend this year is 54% Merlot, 42% Cabernet, 4% Petit Verdot. The blend contradicting my notes on a general Cabernet vintage, which is quite typical from Palmer. I often taste here straight after Chateau Margaux or vis versa, when you listen to the view of whether it’s a Cabernet vintage or not, you will always get a contradicting view between these two Chateau (although they look at each other) and it’s usual for Palmer to be the odd one out, in terms of the vintage generally. Palmer’s positioning and approach is all its own, now 100% biodynamic and with 100% natural yeasts used too. The yield was 38 hl/ha this year. The perfume of this wine is lovely, it’s bright and lively. The palate has a pure core of cassis, there’s a fresh acidity, not lively, just right. This is super well structured, elegant and very fine. This is a charming classic Palmer, very precise, there’s a lot of details to the wine.
The 2017 Palmer was cropped at 38hl/ha between 20 and 29 September and then matured in 65% new oak (though this sample was taken from a used barrel as usual). For me there is quite a large difference between the Palmer and Alter Ego, the bouquet here is much more sophisticated and demonstrating more delineation: black fruit, iris, brown spices, a touch of clove and a subtle brine influence in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin, crisp acidity, smooth and harmonious with a palpable sense of tension. I love the purity here, almost to an extent that I felt like asking Thomas Duroux to eschew the new oak! This has great potential and I love the typicité that I hope will not be obstructed.