Ready to discover why Chateau Palmer is among the most highly coveted wines in the world?
This esteemed French winery which produces elegant Third Growth Bordeaux blends. The 1961 vintage of Chateau Palmer was so impressive that the term ‘Super Second’ was coined in its honor.
What’s the secret behind the perfection of Chateau Palmer wines?
This article contains:
(Click on the below links to dive into a specific section)
- A Quick Intro to Chateau Palmer
- The History of Chateau Palmer
- Viticulture at Chateau Palmer
- Chateau Palmer Vinification
- Best Chateau Palmer Wines to Buy in 2021 (Including Taste, Prices)
- 1961 Chateau Palmer, Margaux
- 1959 Chateau Palmer, Margaux
- 1966 Chateau Palmer, Margaux
- 2006 Chateau Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend
- 2015 Chateau Palmer 'Vin Blanc de Palmer'
- 2016 Chateau Palmer 'Vin Blanc de Palmer'
- 1999 Chateau Palmer Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux
- 1983 Chateau Palmer La Reserve du General, Margaux
A Quick Intro Chateau Palmer
The Chateau Palmer estate was founded in 1748. The winery is situated around the villages of Margaux and Cantenac on the Left Bank of the Bordeaux wine region.
It is owned by the Mahler-Besse and Sichel families.
In the 1855 Bordeaux Wine Official Classification, the wine was indexed as one of the fourteen Troisièmes Cru (Third Growth) wines.
Chateau Palmer wine is made using the grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. There are four distinctive Chateau Palmer wine styles:
- Chateau Palmer: The namesake Grand Vin is considered one of the most popular Third Growths in Bordeaux.
- Alter Ego de Palmer: The winery also produces a second wine - Alter Ego - from the same terroirs but using a separate winemaking process. The resulting wine is young and can be consumed right away, unlike the Grand Vin.
- Historical XIX Century Wine: This Vin de France wine was released for the first time in 2004. It uses a mix of the Bordeaux grape varietals Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a small percentage of Syrah.
- Vin Blanc de Palmer: Chateau Palmer also started producing a white Bordeaux wine in 2007. This wine is a blend of Muscadelle, Loset, and Sauvignon Gris.
Now, let’s explore the exciting origins of Chateau Palmer.
The History of Chateau Palmer
Chateau Palmer was part of Chateau d’Issan until 1748. That’s when the Gascq family acquired 50 hectares of the Chateau d'Issan vineyards. The holding was renamed Chateau de Gascq and soon got established in the wine market, competing with prestigious estates like Chateau Lafite and Chateau Haut Brion.
In 1814, Madame de Gascq sold the estate to the British Major General Charles Palmer, who renamed it to Chateau Palmer. Palmer eventually expanded the namesake winery and gained popularity in London’s high society through his friendship with the Prince Regent.
In 1843, Palmer sold the Chateau to the Pereire family (bankers and also rivals of the Rothschilds), who improved and modernized the estate.
In 1938, Chateau Palmer was sold yet again to four families (Ginestet, Miailhe, Mahler-Besse, and Sichel), who were some of the wealthiest wine merchants in Bordeaux.
Over time, the families Mahler-Besse and Sichel gained full ownership of Chateau Palmer and are currently the estate’s sole proprietors.
In 2004, winemaker Thomas Duroux (former winemaker of the Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia winery) joined Chateau Palmer as the CEO.
The guidance of winemaker Thomas Duroux has helped the estate improve wine quality nd processes significantly. Today, the wines are often compared to First Growths like Chateau Margaux.)
Now let’s explore the terroir and grapes of Chateau Palmer.
Viticulture at Chateau Palmer
The Chateau Palmer vineyard spans over 66 hectares in the Margaux appellation. The lands overlook the picturesque Gironde estuary in Medoc.
Today, the vineyards are planted with 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, and 6% Petit Verdot.
The terroir includes 18 different types of gravel, sand, and clay. The Merlot berries are planted in gravel and clay soils, while a large portion of the Cabernet vines is planted on a more gravelly terrain.
Previously, the winery was growing Cabernet Franc, but these vine plantings have been removed now. The estate also reduced the amount of Petit Verdot they grow and use in the final blend.
As of 2017, Chateau Palmer was certified 100% biodynamic. This makes them one of the few chateaus in the Bordeaux appellation to convert fully to biodynamic farming.
Here are some of the biodynamic farming practices that Chateau Palmer adopts under the leadership of the talented Thomas Duroux:
- Grapevines, insects, and fruit trees all thrive in Chateau Palmer’s vineyard holdings and maintain a sustainable ecosystem.
- The team uses herbal teas to battle fungus, mildew, and other diseases. The teas also act as fertilizer and are poured onto each vine prior to flowering.
- The estate uses soundwave machines to assist with developing protein cells in the vines.
- Before picking the berries, the team uses infrared cameras to understand the exact moment the grapes should be harvested.
Chateau Palmer Vinification
Chateau Palmer produced about 12,000 cases of their Grand Vin and about 8,000 cases of Alter Ego de Palmer. It employs both traditional and modern methods in its winemaking process:
- Harvesting: The grapes go through optical sorting before being pressed. Indigenous yeasts are added to the grapes at this stage to limit the use of sulfites.
- Fermentation: The fermentation process is conducted in 54 conical, stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation is done in the barrel and lasts for about 10 days.
- Aging: The Grand Vin ages for 18-22 months in 50% to 70% new French oak barrels at 13 degrees Celsius. The Alter Ego wines are typically aged in 25% to 40% new French oak barrels for 16 to 18 months.
As an add-on, Chateau Palmer has an experimental vat room where the winemakers analyze how the wine blends develop throughout the year.
Now let’s explore the most outstanding Chateau Palmer bottles you should add to your wine collection.
Best Chateau Palmer Wines to Buy in 2021 (Including Taste, Prices)
These Margaux wines are must-haves for any wine lover:
1. 1961 Chateau Palmer, Margaux
Here we have a delicious wine with aromas of mulberries, dark cherry, and black truffle. This great wine also has a flavorful bouquet of violets, tobacco, and complex earthy tones. It stands out with its finesse, silky tannin texture, and bright acidity.
The wine is a blend of 52% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc.
Price of 1961 Chateau Palmer, Margaux: $4,537
2. 1959 Chateau Palmer, Margaux
This medium-bodied vintage has intense notes of violets, cassis, dark cherry, and blackberry aromas. The wine’s minerality and acidity round off its balanced finish.
This Chateau Palmer is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, and 6% Petit Verdot.
Price of 1959 Chateau Palmer, Margaux: $1,792
3. 1966 Chateau Palmer, Margaux
This vintage has gentle black currant, cedar, and autumn forest aromas. It has tasting notes of lively fruit, fine tannin levels, and balanced acidity, making it a great wine to enjoy with a lamb dish.
Price of 1966 Chateau Palmer, Margaux: $745
4. 2006 Chateau Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend
Here we have an intense wine with a juicy blueberry fruit aroma. The palate is dense and full-bodied with a gentle warmth stemming from the Syrah and a silky tannin mouthfeel.
This wine is a blend of 42.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42.5% Merlot, and 15% Syrah. Decant this wine for about 2 to 4 hours to soften its flavors.
Price of 2006 Chateau Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend:$276
5. 2015 Chateau Palmer 'Vin Blanc de Palmer'
This rich white wine has aromas of burnt orange and lavender. It also has notes of blackberries, spice, and creme de cassis. You can even catch a gentle whiff of charcoal and caramel cherries. This wine is both dense and bright with a silky texture and fantastic acidity.
Price of 2015 Chateau Palmer 'Vin Blanc de Palmer': $345
6. 2016 Chateau Palmer 'Vin Blanc de Palmer'
Considered a rare wine in the USA, this intriguing and plush vintage has bright acidity and a light lemon hue. This Vin Blanc wine offers a gentle aroma of lime, melon, ripe fruit, and thyme. The palate offers elegant tasting notes of white flowers, honey, and lemon.
Price of 2016 Chateau Palmer 'Vin Blanc de Palmer': $322
7. 1999 Chateau Palmer Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux
This second wine is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. On the nose are aromas of cassis, new oak, and sweet black fruit. The palate has a silky texture with tasting notes of black currant, spices, and distinct minerality.
Price of 1999 Chateau Palmer Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux: $150
8. 1983 Chateau Palmer La Reserve du General, Margaux
Here we have a full-bodied wine with complex aromas of tobacco, cedar, truffles, and black currant. The palate has a chewy tannin texture with dark ripe fruit, chocolate, and toasty cigar tasting notes.
Price of 1983 Chateau Palmer La Reserve du General, Margaux: $247
Now let’s explore what makes Palmer wines a fantastic investment option.
Why Chateau Palmer Is a Good Investment Wine
The Chateau Palmer Grand Vin wines are among the highest-priced wines in the Margaux appellation and continue to appreciate with time. For instance, between 2019 and 2021:
- Chateau Palmer 1996 increased in price by 18%, from $270 to $320.
- The Chateau Palmer 'Vin Blanc de Palmer' 2016 went up by 47%, from $221 to $326.
Here are some interesting auction results as well:
- A case of 6 magnums of the 1998 Chateau Palmer 3eme Cru Classe sold for $2,704 at Sotheby’s auction in 2020.
- A bottle of the 1966 Chateau Palmer, Margaux sold for $469 at a Zachy’s auction in 2019.
- A 12-bottle collection of the 2010 Chateau Palmer, Margaux was sold for $3,720 in 2020 at Sotheby’s.
- At the Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. auction in 2016, a 12-bottle case of Chateau Palmer 1961 was auctioned for $53,775.
But how can you invest in a bottle of Chateau Palmer wine without having to wait for the next auction event?
Here’s where Vinovest comes in.
Buy Chateau Palmer and Other Fine Wines Through Vinovest
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Begin your wine investment journey in five easy steps:
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Vinovest has some amazing benefits:
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Chateau Palmer: A Must For Every Wine Lover
Chateau Palmer’s exceptional winemaking practices deliver an extraordinary wine that is an apt expression of the estate’s terroir. This age-worthy Bordeaux wine will make a great addition to the portfolio of any wine enthusiast.
So what are you waiting for?
Sign up with Vinovest, and add a bottle of this incredible wine to your collection.