Chateau Palmer dinner notes

I was fortunate enough to be invited to the dinner hosted by Jean-Louis Carbonnier of Chateau Palmer last night at Marche Moderne in Costa Mesa - a favorite restaurant of the foodie wine geek crowd in OC. (The general manager of the restaurant is starting to recognize me…I think that’s not a good thing) A pleasure to meet Jean-Louis, and to hear the many stories of Bordeaux, the primeur market, the Latour decision, and most interesting to me was Palmer’s take on critics, but I digress…

Food was excellent, as usual, and service as well. On to the wines:

2006 Chateau Palmer Alter Ego - beautiful young nose of red fruits, graphite, very expressive. Big tannic structure, long finish that is remarkably ‘clean’. Excellent

The next bottle was interesting - this, and the other wines, were served single blind, technically, but only this one was somewhat of an experiment with the winery. My notes first: Far more perfumed and complex nose, vibrant. Smells young, yet somehow integrated . Huge tannic structure - still youthful - beautiful round dark fruits, silky finish. We later found out that this is the XIXth Century Historical Wine from Palmer, which is primarily '07 Chateau Palmer, with 15% Northern Rhone Syrah. I was disappointed in myself for not recognizing the Syrah, but I guess I really didn’t even think to look for it!

2002 Chateau Palmer - taking a look at what is considered a ‘weak vintage’ by the critics. Older notes on the nose, redder fruits, more musk and spice, perfume emerges after a short while, very complex however, highly acidic, tiny non-drying tannins, with a great structure.

1996 Chateau Palmer - nose JUMPS out of the glass - even from the other side of my placesetting. Gorgeous floral, red fruits on the nose, silky mouthfeel with sweet fresh red fruits, some anise and leather, and a very elegant finish.

Thanks! Love Palmer.

Love, love, love Palmer!

Hey Todd, what is Palmer’s take on the Latour decision? You put those teasers out there, so I’ll take the bait! And, is their take on critics somehow related to how much the critics like their wines? I’ll bite on that one too!

Thanks Todd for the note on the XIX as I have some of this stashed away…

Sounds like an interesting wine…

I’d rather wait and see if we can get Thomas Duroux as our Special Guest first, and let him address it from his point of view, but perhaps I can convince Jean-Louis to show up and give his thoughts as well. It was interesting to get the point of view of a top Chateau on it…

Wow, Paul! They only made 3 barrels of it, so you have quite a rarity.

Wow, only three barrels? had no idea it was that rare. Jordan Jacobs has poured it for us at poker twice! Thanks JJ!

Please note that there have been three different historical blends.

Château Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend L.20.04.
Château Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend L.20.06.
Château Palmer Historical XIXth Century Blend L.20.07.

Based on Todd’s comments about this primarily being 2007, I presume the one tasted was the last one.

Todd, alter ego rocks, plowed through a case of the brilliant '04s and the '02 is terrific also, glad u enjoyed