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A Final Curtain Call for Chateau Palmer - The Fabled 2010 Benchmark Margaux
September 24, 2020



The “Last Cellar Release” from the Ornellaia of Margaux! Revisiting the Fabled 3rd Growth That “Once Again Performs as a 1st Growth.” Eleven Years Later a Treasure Gets Re-released from the Fabled Château Cellar. Plus the “Finest Vintage In 32 Years of Covering Bordeaux.”

“One of the superstars in Margaux…There’s no question that Thomas Duroux and the staff at Palmer are producing wines of first-growth quality, and have been for nearly a decade…this [2010] is going to be one of the great classics ever to emerge from this iconic Château.” - Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

“2010 is really one of the most extraordinary vintages, up there with the 2005, 2009, 2015 and 2016 but for me the 2010 is probably the most serious, deepest wine of all of them and I believed would require a long time to open up…this will be the last time you will be able to buy the vintage direct from the château.” - Thomas Duroux, CEO of Château Palmer

Right on the heels of the well-received rerelease of the 2009 (and 2010) Château Latour, we are pleased to present the 2010 Château Palmer, that is being rereleased today from Bordeaux with a special label and prooftags! In addition, we are including the ex-Château rerelease of the 2009 from the overachieving 3rd Growth that is, as Robert Parker puts it, “producing wines of first-growth quality.” However, the focus is the 2010, and there is plenty of reason why “the estate team regard the 2010 Château Palmer as their best since the 1983.” For the first time in ten years that the iconic wine has been re-released from the prized Margaux address - Thomas Duroux has indicated this will be the last release direct from the Château cellar. So, while there is 2010 Palmer out there on the market and Wine Searcher that has circulated from merchants and auction houses, you will not find a better bottle with this level of provenance!

Yes, for IWM, we internally call Palmer the “Ornellaia of Bordeaux.” That’s because winemaker and general director Thomas Doroux has been raising the bar for the fabled Château since 2004. And before Palmer, he was at the winemaking helm of Ornellaia and Masseto for a brief stint. Regardless, he is a master of the Merlot and Cabernet varietal in both Bolgheri and Margaux and is now at the helm of the historic 1814 Château and overachieving 3rd Growth that can.” Simply put Palmer captures the essence of Margaux’s silky and elegant character, much in the way the neighboring Château Margaux does – but Palmer achieves it at typically, one-half to one-third the price.

I had the opportunity to sit down and taste with the Château Palmer team to revisit back vintage selections and new releases on several occasions. Certainly, among the highlights were the 2005, 2016, 2018, and from the ”Year of Margaux” – the perfect 2015. However, it was the 2010 that stood out for the significant structure that laid waiting underneath the generous Margaux fruit. We agree with Neal Martin, there was “a Pauillac-like graphite seam that runs from start to finish. Like the 2005, there is a beguiling symmetry here, more focused and linear than the sumptuous 2009.” That being said, it is the 2009 that was more approachable and hitting all the right notes when we last visited. Like the 2010, it is simply one of the greatest expressions from this fabled Château. We are not alone, many collectors and critics agree with Parker lamenting, “One of the all-time great Palmers (along with the 1961, 1966, 1970, 1989, 2000 and 2005), the 2009 Palmer is a blend of 52% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and a whopping 7% Petit Verdot.” This is once again is a wine that challenges the First Growths. The good news is the 2009 and 2015 has recently arrived in New York direct from the Château, while we wait for the 2010s to arrive.

Featured Wine: A Final Re-Release from the Fabled Third-Growth - Château Palmer.



*Indicates pre-arrival direct from Château cellar

Additional Notes and Reviews:

Château Palmer is one of the breathtaking stops along the Château trail and a must visit for the serious wine enthusiast. The fabled Château that we now know essentially began in 1814, when Colonel Charles Palmer arrived in France and purchased what was Château de Gasq after a chance meeting with the owner’s widow who claimed her wines could challenge Château Lafite. Colonel Palmer, and its subsequent owners through the centuries, made strides at doing just that, but it is with recent vintages and the Thomas Doroux team that the 3rd Growth is taking on its prodigious neighbors.


2010 Château Palmer, Margaux
98 Points, Jane Anson, Decanter: "One of the great years of Bordeaux now at 10 years old and showing why this is such an unusual vintage in terms of the depth of structure and muscular concentration that was achieved. In fact, I am upping the drinking window from the last time I tasted this, as there is such a pulse of life and grip that shows no signs of going anywhere. The initial layers are starting to be peeled back, but this retains primary black and blue fruits that are still full of flesh alongside baked earth, tons of liquorice and black chocolate with a grippy tannic structure, fresh acidities and a serious attitude. Brilliant stuff, that is clearly going to power on for decades. Drink 2022-2048.”

98+ Points, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate: “The 2010 Palmer is one of the superstars of the vintage, a blend of 54% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot, which is just slightly different than what I indicated two years ago. The alcohol level hit 14.5%, and the wine comes across like a more stacked-and-packed version of their 2000. It is tannic and backward, but has a sensational black/purple color and a gorgeous nose of camphor, barbecue smoke, blackberry and cassis. Full-bodied, with oodles of glycerin but a relatively healthy pH, this wine has a precision and freshness that belie its lofty alcohol and extravagant concentration. This is a sensationally rich, full-throttle Palmer that could well end up being one of the all-time great wines made at this estate. It needs a good 7-10 years of cellaring and should keep for 50 or more years. There’s no question that Thomas Duroux and the staff at Palmer are producing wines of first-growth quality, and have been for nearly a decade.”

96+ Points, Neal Martin, Vinous: “Tasted at the Château Palmer vertical in London, the estate team regard the 2010 Château Palmer as their best since the 1983. This showing did nothing to suggest otherwise. It offers stunning precision on the nose: incredibly fresh and vibrant with the same spine-tingling level of mineralité as the 2005. What they both share is a Pauillac-like graphite seam that runs from start to finish. Like the 2005, there is a beguiling symmetry here, more focused and linear than the sumptuous 2009, yet with sensational length that makes you wonder what on Earth it will taste like in another 10-15 years. I would keep this in your cellar for another decade at least and it may well merit a higher score down the line. Tasted May 2015.”

2009 Château Palmer, Margaux
99 Points, Jeb Dunnuck: “The 2009 Palmer is unquestionably one of the greatest young Bordeaux I’ve tasted, and it has a rare mix of richness and elegance that’s incredible. Blackcurrants, violets, lead pencil shavings and a touch of minerality all emerge from this rich, massively concentrated Margaux that still glides across the palate with no sense of weight or heaviness. It’s perfectly balanced, has a ripe, hedonistic core of fruit, as well as integrated acidity. It’s a dream today, but is going to have 30-40 years or more of prime drinking. Drink now through 2057.”

97 Points, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate: One of the all-time great Palmers (along with the 1961, 1966, 1970, 1989, 2000 and 2005), the 2009 Palmer is a blend of 52% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and a whopping 7% Petit Verdot that came in at close to 14% natural alcohol. An opaque blue/black color suggests a wine with thrilling levels of concentration and intensity, and That's exactly what a taster gets. Subtle smoke, incense and Asian spice (soy?) notes interwoven with graphite, blueberry, blackberry and cassis characteristics lead to a full-bodied, phenomenally concentrated, viscous, opulent wine with plenty of sweet tannin. This sensational Palmer reveals even more floral notes than vintages such as 2005 and 2000. It should drink well for 50 years.”

2015 Château Palmer, Margaux
(100 Points, James Suckling) 98 Points, Jeb Dunnuck: “One of the gems in Margaux is unquestionably the 2015 Palmer. Possessing more elegance and purity, as well as concentration, than the Alter Ego, it offers up a gorgeous bouquet of crème de cassis, caramelized cherries, charcoal, and graphite, with just a hint of spring flowers in the background. A final blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot that was brought up in 70% new oak, this full-bodied, ripe, incredibly polished 2015 is already hard to resist given its elegance and purity, yet should be at its best from 2023-2043. If you have more than one bottle, it's sensational today as well.”

97 Points, Neal Martin, Vinous: "The 2015 Palmer is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot with around 14.1% alcohol, a little higher than usual. It is much more backward on the nose than the Alter Ego and demanded coaxing from the glass, eventually revealing scents of blackberry, cassis, boysenberry, crushed stone and a touch of vanilla pod, beautifully defined with a brooding sense of power. I suspect that this will be no shy and retiring violet when it reaches full maturity. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannins that caress the mouth on the entry, and it is a voluminous Palmer, not heavy but multifaceted. Black fruits are laced with oyster shell, hints of allspice and crushed stone, delivering a crescendo toward an intense finish that this château has specialized in under winemaker Thomas Duroux. It will require at least a decade in bottle, but I probably agree with the estate that it will last many decades. Superb...but only for the patient. Anticipated maturity: 2025 - 2065."

2015 Château Palmer Alter Ego
(96 Points, James Suckling) 92 Points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous: “The 2015 Alter Ego is just as alluring today as it was from barrel. Sweet floral notes, spice, dried cherry, mint, tobacco and crushed flowers are all laced together in this silky, mid-weight Margaux. Time in barrel has mellowed some of the exuberance the 2015 showed from barrel. Open-knit, supple and super-expressive, Alter Ego is a winner. Time in the glass brings out aromatic presence of Cabernet Sauvignon. 2022 – 2035.”

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All my best,
Chris