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.
Thomas Duroux has overseen a transition of Palmer’s vineyards to biodynamic principles in recent years (I spent a morning inspecting their parcels for a future standalone piece on the estate.) I was interested to see how they coped with 2021 with the fraught but ultimately triumphant 2018 still fresh in their minds. “We lost 8.5 hectares to frost,” he told me, “mostly Merlot that goes into the Alter Ego. Then there was rain and big mildew pressure in late June and July when we lost 20% of the crop, but we managed it better than in 2018. July was rainy, and the vines did not stop growing, which was a concern. By mid-August I was pessimistic with respect to the size and quality of crop. Then it changed, and we had five weeks of dry weather which was a very good thing. We started picking on 24 September. The first vats of Merlot were pleasant, but the question was how the wine would be balanced in terms of tannin construction. We feared we would have a hole on the mid-palate. We took our time with the Cabernet Sauvignon. The key to the vintage was when we harvested an old Cabernet Sauvignon plot, which was the only plot with a high yield (45hL/ha). We saw the potential of juice (11% alcohol) and we presumed it was weak, when other plots with lower yield (27hL/ha) had better construction and stronger mid-palates. So, the five weeks of dry weather, plus the small yields due to mildew pressure are the two key elements of what is a qualitative vintage. In the end, the wines needed a little chaptalisation as there was a small risk of harshness in the tannin structure, just half a degree. The acidities are good, 3.71pH for Palmer, good IPT, a little higher than average and wines that are a modern version of wines of the last century. My feeling is that year after year, the vines are in better connection with their environment and this helps them adapt to the weather fluctuations.”
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.
Chateau Palmer | 33460 Margaux | Frankreich
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Château Palmer lebt Geschichte. Es erweckt Respekt vor seinen Böden und Weinbergen, aber auch vor seinen Weinen. Das Ergebnis jahrhundertelangen Weinbaus, geehrt durch das Streben nach einer einzigartigen Vision. Ein Stil für sich. Ein Maßstab für alle zukünftigen Bemühungen. Denn im Château Palmer ist Veränderung nie Selbstzweck, sondern ein Mittel, um sowohl die heutigen als auch die gestrigen Weine zu servieren. Es ist die Frucht einer kostbaren Freiheit. Die Freiheit, ständig neu zu bewerten, zu hinterfragen, niemals Angst davor zu haben, sorgfältig kalibrierte Risiken einzugehen. Im Herzen ein unveränderliches Ideal - sich immer zu verbessern, nicht nur für die Weine, sondern auch für ihre Handwerker und die Umwelt um sie herum.