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Chateau Palmer 2000–2012

November 1, 2017

The opportunity came my way to taste a vertical of Chateau Palmer organised by The Vintage Club at the Capella Hotel, Sentosa, Singapore, on 25 Oct 2017 with the chateau’s Brand Ambassador M. Damien Grelat in attendance. We began with a pre-dinner tasting promenade of eight vintages between 2000 and 2012, followed by a delectable 5-course Chinese dinner at the hotel’s superb restaurant Cassia, where the 2000 and 2008 vintages were re-visited, along with the estate’s second label Alter Ego 2010 (truly excellent) and 2011. All wines are ex-chateau. All in all, a wonderful evening.

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2015 G de Ch Guiraud. Pale straw colour, exuding a minerally bouquet with saline notes along with lifted tones of clear morning dew, refreshing trace of sweetness, slightly crisp, tapering to a subdued finish. Drinking well.

2011 Alter Ego de Palmer. Bright purple with pleasant aromatics, displaying good concentration of red fruits and red currants with good acidity, but tight and tannic, shorn of fat.

2010 Alter Ego de Palmer. Deep dark purple with delicious aromas of sweet red fruits, showcasing a palate of ripe dark berries and redcurrants, excellent in breadth and depth with fine detail and lovely velvety intensity, culminating in a lengthy finish. Almost voluptuous. Better than one or two of the grand vin below!!Excellent stuff and perhaps not surprising, for it seemed 50% of Palmer’s crop went into its second label for this vintage, making it almost a dead ringer for the grand vin. Pity we didn’t have the 2010 Ch Palmer on hand to compare with.

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2012 Ch Palmer. Deep crimson, exuding dark berries and blueberries with a feminine fragrance, rounded and fleshy on the palate with a warm plummy tone though not opulent at this early stage, displaying good acidity on a minerally bed, very well textured, glowing with biting intensity within its detailed tannin structure, finishing with good length. Great potential here. Excellent.

2011 Ch Palmer. Deep purple. Plenty of dark fruits and blackberries that exuded a sweet lovely fragrance but less expressive on the gentle palate where the fruit is shy, shutting down rather quickly in the glass. Somewhat dour in spite of its good minerality and quiet acidity. An introvert.

2008 Ch Palmer. Bright purple, proffering effusive aromas of fresh dark roses and dark currants with a sweet floral fragrance, very lovely. Medium-full, supple and fleshy, highly approachable with understated acidity and subtle tannins, showing good detail but a tad short. Tasted again at dinner where it seemed more intense and velvety but still short with a tangible ceiling to its scope and breadth. Highly promising, nevertheless.

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2007 Ch Palmer. Deep purple with attractive dark cherries, raspberries and some very attractive earthiness replete with traces of pungency on the nose though the palate is somewhat lean, displaying good integration with understated acidity, evoking a mild gentle intensity towards the finish. Already ten years post-vintage, this is good to go with food now.

2006 Ch Palmer. More developed on the nose than any of the preceding wines, quite lovely and perfumed with generous attractive plummy tones. Quite consistent as well on the palate where some early secondary development is evident, highly supple and fleshy with good concentration and detail, developing an attractive mild intensity with a dash of green towards the finish. Preferable to the 2007.

2005 Ch Palmer. Deep dark purple. Immediately glorious on the nose – sensuous, deep and complex, almost seductive in its gentle plummy glow. Medium-full with a slight tarry quality, richly opulent and layered, glowing with a lovely arching intensity across the palate where loads of ripe dark fruit lay beneath, barely evolving, turning just a tad stern at the back palate from the complex minerals, finishing with superb length. Truly outstanding but won’t be ready for at least another decade. Don’t waste it.

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2004 Ch Palmer. Deep dark purple as well, but with such lovely fragrance of sweet dark cherries and dark roses, deeply inviting, rounded with warm ripe fruit and understated minerals that produced an attractive seamless intensity, displaying excellent presence and good detailed tannin structure. A classic claret. Some would bemoan the lack of true distinction for the clarets of 2004, ie. they all seem to taste similar but I’d be happy to enjoy them now over the next couple of decades.

2000 Ch Palmer. Very deep purple, rounded with the hallowed glow of a claret approaching tertiary development, utterly seamless with great succulence and sublime acidity, teasing the palate with glorious fleeting intensity, revealing understated tannin structure with great detail and linearity, culminating in a superlative finish. I had just drunk plenty of 2000 Ch Palmer over the past two days prior to this evening’s tasting but I must say this present sample is the best: much fresher, more detailed, possessing absolute precision. On this evidence, the 2000 has surpassed the 1999. Glorious!

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