Bordeaux Hermitagé

Interesting offer from Rare Wine Company: Ch. Palmer Hermitagé.

Yeah, too bad it’s ‘only’ 200-bucks! (I know I know: it’s Palmer)

Not worth the Robert De Nero:

  • 2006 Château Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend - France, Vin de Table Français (1/14/2010)
    Palmer Vertical with Thomas Duroux (La Plume, Jefferson Hotel, Washington DC): A special 200 cs cuvee from Palmer that is 90% 06 Palmer blended with 10% Syrah from the Northern Rhone (Thomas refused to pinpoint its typicity but it is anywhere from Cornas to Cote Rotie! Kinda smells like Hermitage but with punch?). A thick, brambly nose dominates this foreboding wine. Hints of that 06 Alter Ego we drank several flights ago pokes through with some Palmer typicity, but it is something of an enigmatic hybrid. Pleasant to drink and converse about its origins, but hardly profound. (90 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

I am incredulous on how stupid this is. Why would anyone pay $200 (or more?) for something that you can do at home. Take a bottle of Palmer Alter Ego ($50), pour yourself a glass and enjoy it while you open a bottle of Cave Tain Hermitage (also about $50). Top off the Alter Ego with the Hermitage, and voila. The French must be killing themselves over this. What’s next? Hermitagé (Chambolle) Musigny? Hermitagé California Pinot Noir (oh wait, that’s already being done).

I kinda liked the '04, which was about half the price, and found it pretty educational. But now that Palmer has modernized and started doing high-tech manipulation, it becomes a less interesting canvas for this peek at old-style low-tech manipulation. What’s the point of adding syrah after you’ve already done reverse osmosis?

My two notes on the '04.

1/21/2008: This is the special cuvee created by Palmer as an homage to the Hermitaged Bordeaux of the 19th century. A dollop of Hermitage was often added to the blends then to satiate the desire of the British market for dark, rich, Parkerized claret. This is apparently 85% 2004 Bordeaux grapes from Palmer and 15% from an undisclosed Rhone source, but some reports have said it’s true Hermitage. That’s more syrah than the real 19th century blends, but the experiment wouldn’t be much fun if it were too subtle to be noticed. The open question about this wine was, is it just a gimmick, or is it really a history lesson on 19th century claret?

Right out of the gate this feels like pretty classic Bordeaux. The texture is a little harsh, with abrupt tannin on the finish. But it’s hard to pinpoint what the syrah does to the blend – until you realize this is Palmer and the complexion of this wine is darker and grittier than Palmer tends to be. Still, it throws me off because it’s not much denser than typical for Bordeaux, and there’s something about it not entirely claretlike that goes beyond flavor profile and concentration. It’s the acidity! There is a real zip to this wine, and it adds a drinkability that makes the tannin easier to contend with. Is this the syrah or the 2004 Bordeaux grapes talking? I report, you decide. This ought to make a fascinating comparison with the standard Palmer 2004 when they are both mature.

3/27/2008: At a Château Palmer Vertical: I’ve had this wine once before but was especially looking forward to it in this context to taste against the regular 2004 Palmer. My first time out, I had trouble discerning the Hermitage influence. With the benefit of side-by-side comparison, it’s clear. The two wines really are different. The 2004 has pretty aromatics and gentle, almost silkily pliant red fruit. The XIXth Century blend reveals deeper blueberry aromatics, which also deepen the complexion of the flavors, and a thicker cloak of both extract and glycerine that give it a richer, more expansive palate presence without pushing it over the top.

In 2004, Palmer released an amazing new wine. Previously called, “Historical XIX Century Blend,” this newly renamed wine, “Historical XIX Century Wine” was fascinating to smell, taste and dream about. Only 100 cases of this beauty were produced. However, it’s truly worth the extra effort to seek out a bottle or two.

The wine, a blend of 85% Bordeaux from Palmer’s vineyards and 15% Syrah from the Rhone was produced as an homage to a wine that might have been released in the 19th century. The Bordeaux varietal’s are 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. Grapes from Palmer are not young vines. They were chosen because managing director, winemaker Thomas Duroux felt they would blend best with the Syrah. It is unknown if this wine will be produced again. It depends on the vintage. In 05, it would have taken too much Syrah to overcome the strong Bordeaux characteristics. It will be produced in 06 and 07. It’s too early to tell about 08 or 09.

2004 Hermitage TN… Inky black, purple in color. One smell shows you’re not in Kansas any more. An incredible complex aroma of black cherry liqueur, cassis, herbs, and pepper fill the air. The palate experiences an extremely lush, fat, opulent sensation. Rich and concentrated. The finish is long, clean and pure and continues through nicely with good length. At first, it reminds you of an Hermitage, but, with some air, the Bordeaux characteristics shine through. This wine will drink well young for Palmer. With it’s sexy personality, I imagine it will start opening in 7-10 years and continue offering unique pleasure for another 15-20 years… give or take. When drinking it, I picture Mr. Spock tasting it, raising one eybrow and remarking… “Fascinating.”

A few interesting points regarding labeling laws in Bordeaux. Notice, the wine does not say Bordeaux. The wine needs to be sold a Vin de Table as all the grapes do not come from Bordeaux or Palmer. Also, Palmer and their Chateau logo has been removed from their historic label as all the grapes did not come from their estate. As a Vin de Table, the wine does not carry a vintage date. But, when you look at the bottom of the label, please note the lot #… L 20.04 which corresponds to the vintage date, 2004. The top of the capsule reads XIX. In response to the emails and PM’s I received, the alcohol level is listed as 13%.

The 04 remains the best of the Palmer Historc bottling’s at this point. It’s a very good wine.

Jeff doesn’t this come off as a bit pandering? [scratch.gif] If you’ve taken this from their promotional materials, I apologise, but please specify…

Why is it “pandering” to rave about a wine that one likes? Isn’t that what the BB is for?

Lew, I thought the intro read like it was lifted from Palmer promotional material also, so its not a surprising assertion by Faryan.

Not to me. In fact, there probably was no promotional available at the time I wrote that, back in April 2007. Were you even old enough to drink yet? neener IMO, it remains worth seeking out, especially the 04. That was my opinion after tasting it and it remains the same today. At that time, not one bottle had left the Chateau and no one outside of Palmer had heard of the wine or tasted it yet.

I wouldn’t mind this becoming a little bit of a mini-trend.

Syrah does blend splendidly with Bordeaux varieties.

just sayin’ . . .