The blends for the grand vin and second wine are similar this year. This is carefully presented, accomplished and precise, with fresh mint and peony notes on the nose followed by bright and vibrant black fruit flavours. It's extremely pretty, with some lovely floral notes. The yield was 38hl/ha as they lost a few plots to frost over to the west of the appellation. 13.5% press wine. 45% of overall production, representing 9,000 cases. IPT 66.
This shows excellent body and depth of fruit. Rich and very deep. Layered and flavorful. Solid and chewy. Serious second wine.
A blend of 53% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot, the 2017 Alter Ego de Palmer is very deep purple-black in color and gives up exuberant crushed red currants, red cherries, black plums and mulberries with touches of forest floor, garrigue and lavender plus a waft of dark chocolate. The palate is medium-bodied with a good core of plummy fruit and very soft, plush tannins, sparked by just enough freshness, finishing fruity. 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, for the first time, the estate used all native yeasts for the fermentations. The blending process took place before malolactic fermentation this year, which is not very common. 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.
Merlot 52%, Cabernet 41%, Petit Verdot 6%. The nose is ethereal, juicy plum and red berries. Stylistically it’s a generous open style that is already quite approachable. There’s a good level of freshness. Elegant and with wonderful balance.
The 2017 Alter Ego is matured in 25% new oak. It has quite a rich, dark chocolate-tinged bouquet that is driven by the Merlot, almost Right Bank in style. It just lacks the same detail and clarity as the Grand Vin. The palate is medium-bodied with light tannin, nicely balanced, certainly one of the more approachable Alter Ego in recent years with a touch of spice and clove towards the finish.