Chateau Palmer Alter Ego de Palmer 2016
|France, Bordeaux, Margaux
A super fresh and expressive nose with a wealth of ripe red and dark plums, as well as blackberries and cassis, with subtle cedar and bracken complexity. The palate has a deeply rich, long and assertive style with a deep-set, flavorful and structured finish. Classically styled with great depth.
The 2016 Alter Ego is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. Fresh, vibrant and pulsing with energy, the 2016 is utterly captivating from the very first taste. There is a purity to the 2016 that is simply remarkable. Floral overtones add lift to this super-expressive, sensual Margaux. Alter Ego is made from a selection of parcels that are picked earlier than those used for the Grand Vin. Lower temperatures in fermentation and gentle vinifications yield a wine that emphasizes freshness and energy. In that sense, Alter Ego is not really a second wine of the Grand Vin, but rather is more accurately described as a second, and independent, wine off the property.
This richly structured and tannic wine offers dark fruit and ripe tannins. The second wine of Château Palmer, it’s full of black-plum and dense berry flavors balanced by the acidity and the structure. Age this wine and drink from 2023
Blended of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 12% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Alter Ego de Palmer opens with beautifully expressive notes of black cherries, fresh blackberries and redcurrants plus suggestions of menthol, dark chocolate, cloves and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied with a rich mid-palate and stacks of exuberant black and red fruits, it has a velvety texture and fantastically long finish.
Palmer lost 20% of its crop in the spring, and the Merlot was affected more than the Cabernet so there is only around half as much Alter Ego as normal. The yield here is 29hl/ha, so a lot less than most of Margaux, mainly due to vineyard rebalancing after moving to biodynamics and the spring crop loss. The harvest start date of 3rd October was the latest on record, following on from a very long, slow ripening leading to lots of tannins (71 IPT) which although soft and integrated are at a higher level than 2015, while the 3.65pH remains the same. Late harvests encourage elongated tannins, and Thomas says he has never seen such sophistication in the construction of the wines here, so different from the 2015. As with Palmer, Alter Ego has a highly aromatic nose, majoring here on damson and blackberry. Tasted on an overcast Friday morning and yet it sings, with the most beautifully soft expression of black fruits. It's a different style to others, the 13% ABV being extremely low for this amount of Merlot. Beautiful.
The 2016 Alter Ego is cut from the same cloth as the grand vin, just less intense, with beautiful cassis fruits, notes of spring flowers, spice, and cedar pencil. A lovely, elegant wine, it has some similarities to the 2010, yet is ever so slightly more elegant, with softer tannins. Drink this beauty any time over the coming 20 years or more
Features an overt core of ripe plum and blackberry confiture flavors, lined with cocoa and fresh humus hints. A lacing of singed alder in the background helps harness the fruit, with cassis bush and licorice snap notes checking in on the finish. Drink now through 2030. - JM