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Beautifully rich even on the nose, this makes you smile from the first moment. On the palate things are intense and concentrated, as you might expect with an 11hl/ha yield (mildew-related). Upfront flavours major on big bitter chocolate with touches of smoke and grilled cedar, lots of savoury fruits and touches of reduction. Extremely impressive how layered and textured it is, though it really needs decades to reveal itself. There is the seductive floral edge of Palmer as it opens in the glass, but this is a muscular wine that needs time. 79% new oak. No Alter Ego in 2018. Bottled July 2020 after one year in barrel and a second year in larger Stockinger barrels for 20% of the crop to soften the oak influence. It's extremely hard for top estates to deliver consistency and innovation over decades; it really is like a sports team in that way, and this is a standout success in what was an extremely challenging year for Palmer.
Drinking Window 2028 - 2050
The 2018 Palmer is even more impressive from bottle than it was from barrel, and that is saying something. Rich, exotic and beautifully layered, Palmer is a real head-turner in 2018. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, licorice, espresso and sweet floral notes build over time, but it is the wine's stunning depth and textural voluptuousness that elevate it into the realm of the truly sublime. As I wrote in my initial review, the 2018 Palmer is a freak of nature from yields of just 11 hectoliters per hectare harvested over an entire month. Mildew was especially punishing. There is no Alter Ego, just the Grand Vin. Kudos to CEO Thomas Duroux and his team for what I can only describe as a truly magical wine.
-- Antonio Galloni
Complex nose of black cherries, blackberries, dark chocolate and floral undertones with perfume-like character. It’s full-bodied with firm tannins. Elegant on the palate with structure. Savory and balanced, complex and layered. Long finish. Really lingers. This has really evolved into a beautiful white swan after a difficult debut from barrel! Tiny production. only 11 hectoliters per hectare. Try after 2024.
The 2018 Palmer is composed of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. The wine has a 3.83 pH and 14.3% alcohol. Very deep garnet-purple in color, it explodes from the glass with atomic scents of blackberry preserves, crème de cassis and blueberry pie, plus suggestions of red roses, clove oil, dark chocolate and cedar chest with hints of Chinese five spice and menthol. The full-bodied palate is decadently styled, offering layer upon layer of black fruit preserves and exotic spices, framed by exquisitely plush tannins and seamless freshness, finishing wonderfully fragrant and with epic length. It's an amazingly beautiful beast of a wine—one for the hedonists!
Remarkably concentrated, this nearly oozes fruit, with waves of cassis, plum reduction and warmed cherry preserves all carried by a dense yet polished and seamlessly embedded structure. A backdrop of violet, lilac and pastis adds to the enveloping feel, and yet with all that depth and concentration, this is a vibrant, pure expression, thanks in part to a riveting iron spine through the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Best from 2028 through 2040. 5,830 cases made. — JM