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2021 Château Palmer En Primeur

"The 2021 Palmer is one of the truly epic wines of the year." - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

Released this morning, 2021 Château Palmer marks a turning point for this much-loved estate, with the new release in a more classical style, harking back to vintages of from the 1980s and '90s.  In that respect, it is like other successful wines of the year, but this château has been on a huge journey in the intervening decades, with viticulture and winemaking now on a par with the First Growths.  All of this has come together to produce a wine which tastes more 'like' Palmer than perhaps any other vintage to date (comparisons with the legendary 1983, perhaps?).   

Unlike most other left bank estates, the proportion of Merlot in the blend is higher than usual in 2021 (unsurprisingly, Merlot is taken very seriously here, with Thomas Duroux in charge since 2004, formerly winemaker at Ornellaia).  Unusually, Palmer's Merlot is planted on gravel rather than clay soils.  The effect is to produce a wine which has the elegance and fine aroma which characterise the vintage but is also, in Galloni's words, "a compelling mix of opulence and energy. (94-97 points).  

With the Merlot crop reduced and used mainly in the grand vin, 2021 Alter Ego has more Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend than usual and we loved its precisely defined fruit and intense perfume.  Jane Anson describes it as "one of the 2nds of the vintage" (93 points).

Both wines, particularly the grand vin, are very limited in availability, so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like an allocation.

Offered en primeur landing spring 2024. 


To order, e-mail us at

Château Palmer, Margaux

Producer Profile

Château Palmer, Margaux

Château Palmer is a Troisième Cru Classé estate in the commune of Margaux.  Originally the vineyards were part of the d'Issan estate, but became known as Château de Gasq when they were purchased by the family of the same name.  The estate acquired its modern name in 1814, when it was bought by the English general, Charles Palmer, on his way back from the Peninsular War where he had fought with Wellington against Napoleon.  Palmer eventually died bankrupt, having spent his wealth on his vines!

In 1938, the Sichel family joined forces with a group of wine merchant friends to purchase the property (originally including the Ginestet and Miailhe families).  Today, the majority shareholders of Sichel and Mahler-Besse, with a number of other minority shareholders.

The vineyard is 52 hectares of 'croupes' (knolls) of Garonne gravel, planted to 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 6% Petit VerdotThomas Duroux, formerly winemaker at Tenuta Dell'Ornellaia, has been in charge since 2004.  The estate is run biodynamically

The second wine, Alter Ego de Palmer, has become increasingly serious in recent years, so much so that in fact Palmer now sees this as not a second wine as such, but as a wine in its own right, with the grapes coming from a dedicated vineyard. 


RED 2021 Château Palmer 75cl £1,422 per case of 6 Château Palmer
2021 / / 75cl
£1,422 per case of 6
Tasting Notes"56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot. 22 hl/ha. Cask sample. Less exuberance but Palmer identity intact, the old-vine Merlot to the fore. Dense and full with a generosity of fruit. Silky texture on attack, the tannins present but controlled. Slightly dry finish with a bit of chew. Should improve further with élevage. (JL) 13.3%. Drink 2028 – 2046 17+ points" (JL)------"The 2021 Palmer has a discrete bouquet that demands patience. This does not race out of the blocks, rather it unfurls with subtle graphite scents, blackberry, hints of cassis, plus some of the briny aromas that I noticed on the Alter Ego. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins that frame the cedar and graphite infused black fruit. Quite strict for a Palmer, yet fresh with a cerebral, saline finish that is almost Pauillac-like in style despite the majority from old Merlot vines that are situated on some of its finest gravel terroirs. Very long, very suave on the finish. Superb. 94-96 points" Neal Martin,"The late-ripening, low-yielding vintage has delivered a beautifully balanced wine of striking intensity in the 2021 Palmer. Unwinding in the glass with complex aromas of blackberries, exotic spices, licorice, violets and burning embers, it's full-bodied, layered and enveloping, with a deep, concentrated core of fruit, ripe tannins and lively acids, concluding with a long, expansive finish. If recent vintages of Palmer have set new records in their power and richness, the 2021 marks a return to the classical proportions of the 1990s—with all the additional concentration and precision that Thomas Douroux's pioneering viticulture and thoughtful winemaking have brought to the equation at this address in the interim. The grand vin is a blend of 56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot, picked between September 24 and October 15. Tasted twice. 95-97 points" William Kelley,"Palmer has a little more Merlot in the 1st wine blend than usual, something that is not the case for everyone this year, but reflects how unusual Palmer's Merlot on gravel really is. This is one that makes you sit up and take notice; with savoury fruits that have sinew and character, juicy raspberry, blueberry and black cherry, good persistency, helped by fresh acidities and slate texture. Clear ageing potential, acidity more present than in the past few years at Palmer, but the sense of energy and momentum is entirely in the spirit of the estate. 22hl/h yields (but 8ha were lost to frost, so the 'real' yield was 27hl/h). Harvest September 24 to October 16, with the majority in by October 11. 96 points""The 2021 Palmer is one of the truly epic wines of the year. It's not the 2018, but it is in that vein, albeit at 13% in alcohol. There's tremendous richness and sheer extract here. Blackberry jam, chocolate, smoke, licorice, lavender and mocha notes possess remarkable primary intensity more like a young must than a wine with a few months of age. Readers will find a Palmer that offers a compelling mix of opulence and energy. 94-97 points" Antonio Galloni,
RED 2021 Château Palmer - Alter Ego de Palmer 75cl £330 per case of 6 Château Palmer
Alter Ego de Palmer
2021 / / 75cl
£330 per case of 6
Tasting Notes"60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot. Cask sample. Less Merlot than usual due to mildew and frost. Attractive nose with dark-fruit and floral notes. Expressive fruit on the palate, lively and fresh with a refined texture. Tannins present but rounded. Finishes on a dry, chalky note. 16.5 points" (JL)------"The 2021 Alter Ego has quite a penetrating bouquet with an accentuated marine/oyster shell aspect that combines with the vivid blue and black fruit the palate is medium with crunchy black fruit, certainly a more structured Alter Ego than usual with a fine line of acidity and graphite/cedar notes furnishing the finish. This all require some bottle age, but it should mature extremely well. 90-92 points" Neal Martin,"The 2021 Alter Ego de Palmer is a somewhat unusual blend, in that it's fully 60% Cabernet Sauvignon this year, the estate's Merlot having suffered in the April frosts. Exhibiting aromas of cherries, sweet berries and plums mingled wit hints of spices and pencil shavings, it's medium to full-bodied, ample and polished, with a charming, seamless profile founded on beautifully refined structuring tannins. Tasted twice. 91-93 points" William Kelley,"Deep plum in colour, with silky cassis and plum fruits on the attack. This is savoury, with sappy acidity that is mouthwatering rather than biting. This isn't exuberant and doesnt have huge flesh to the fruit, but it is a truly enjoyable and engaging wine that is one of the '2nds' of the vintage. More black fruit in this than the Palmer in many ways. Higher Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend than usual after frost affected the Merlot, giving it more of a classical Margaux balance than you find in most vintages of Alter Ego, which tends to be generous. 3.76ph. 93 points""Palmer's 2021 Alter Ego is fabulous. Dense and rich in the glass, with positively explosive energy, the 2021 dazzles from start to finish. A rush of dark cherry, plum, spice, blood orange, menthol and licorice infuses the palate with tremendous intensity. Hints of rose petal and pomegranate appear later to round things out. The 2021 possesses tremendous textural richness that is evident from the very first taste. The aromatics alone are especially present today. 92-94 points" Antonio Galloni,

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