Château Palmer 2018 - 100 Points Neal Martin
£380.00 per bottle
Appellation - Margaux
Owner - Consortium of shareholders
53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 7% petit Verdot
Second wines – Alter Ego
Annual production – 250,000 bottles
"The 2018 Palmer is a legend in the making. I had an inkling out of barrel, but such was its intensity that I wanted to assess it in bottle before I felt confident in saying so, because this could have gone either way. It storms from the glass with black fruit and floral scents, crushed violet and incense that knock your senses sideways while retaining brilliant delineation and focus. The palate is not quite as bold and brassy as when I tasted it from barrel, though I can vouchsafe that among over 20 vintages of Palmer that I have tasted at this stage, this is easily the most extroverted and powerful, displaying a kind of millefeuille of intense black fruit counterpoised by a razor-sharp line of acidity. This audacious Palmer was still revving its engines 48 hours after opening. There will never be another Palmer like this, sui generis. It was a massive risk. But by throwing caution to the wind, something extraordinary was born. Drink 2030-2070."
Neal Martin, vinous.com, March 2021
The 2018 Palmer is composed of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. Grapes were harvested September 13 to October 15, and the wine has a 3.83 pH and 14.3% alcohol. Very deep purple-black in color, the nose is a little reticent to begin, but with coaxing, it slowly emerges to show fragrant violets, underbrush, mossy bark and iron ore with exponentially growing notions of crème de cassis, Black Forest cake, plum preserves, hoisin, Christmas cake and red roses with wafts of dusty earth, Indian spices and cracked black pepper. Full-bodied, concentrated and downright powerful in the mouth, it has a solid structure of firm, wonderfully plush tannins and masses of fragrant accents, finishing very long and very spicy. By the time I finished tasting this, the nose had exploded in this fragrant bomb of fruit, earth and floral notions. This is one of those 2018 wines that has a beguiling brightness that comes from the many floral, spice and mineral accents among all that rich fruit. WOW!
Score: 97/99 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019
It is the essence of cabernet fruit with density that is so thick that it has the texture of grape puree. Full body and melted tannins that give the wine a sense of velvet. Very soft and juicy. With air, it goes to bright, crushed black currants. Tar. Fresh tannins give it energy. I have never tasted anything like this in all my 38 years as a wine critic in Bordeaux. From tiny berries of cabernet sauvignon (53 per cent), 40 per cent merlot and seven per cent petit verdot.
Score: 94/95 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019
The level of glycerine sets this apart, giving the cascade of plum, currant, blackberry and black cherry fruit extra oomph, while seeming to heighten the purity at the same time. Beautiful violet, incense and juniper notes flash in the background. This is packed with iron-laced grip, but remains seamless and extremely long. I suspect this will be one of the most talked-about wines of the vintage.
Score: 97/100 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, March 2019
(53 Cabernet Sauvignon, 40 Merlot, 7 Petit Verdot) | 65% new oak | 14.3% alc | 11 hl/ha | 3.83 pH | 85 IPT There was no Alter Ego made in 2018 and with only 11hl/ha yields, winemaker Thomas Duroux was lucky that he had any fruit at all to make his beloved Grand Vin. Thomas explained that it was his job to keep the Palmer DNA in this wine, at all costs. It therefore took his team a month to harvest just 60 hl of wine – they were most likely picking berry by berry! It certainly tastes like this wine was made using kid gloves though because it is every inch a remarkable creation. By trying to avoid concentration but to remain relaxed enough to harvest every single vine at the right time Palmer have made a triumphant wine in 2018. Had there been any pressure to rush out and pick this would not have been possible, but this vintage is unlike any other. Winemaking was all about following the pointers of the vintage while trying to maintain some semblance of control. What a revelation this wine is. It is super-fresh on the nose, palate and finish. There is amazing buoyancy of fruit with an eye-popping crunch of acidity underneath the extraordinary papal purple colour. Mega-precise, focussed and all-enveloping this is one of the most fascinating and mesmerising wines of the year. Thomas thinks it is a milestone wine at Palmer as he has never made any like this before. Like some of the other great vintages from this Château it was born of accident if you like. I simply allowed the ridiculously decadent fruit to wash over my palate while the Asian spices, liquorice root, violet and espresso details tweaked the synapses in my brain. The finish was still going half an hour after I left the property. This is a sublime wine.
Score: 19.5+ Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019