Just a thought, but there were a few years in the 80’s that Palmer matched or bettered Ch. Margaux (and there weren’t other great Margaux estates), think that may have had something to do with the prices over the past few decades. Participated in a Palmer vertical late last year and to my tastes, it does seem incorrectly priced vs. peer quality.
83 and 89 admirably shined very bright for Palmer when compared to most 2nd Growths. However, after then, I also find it questionable that it is priced on the high side of the spectrum relative to most other, more consistent/solid, 2nd Growths.
I have not drunk much, owing to the price, and it does tend toward the glossy side, as Jayson points out, but in the group tastings where I’ve had it, it tends to stand out–broad shouldered, yet still complex and interesting wine, kind of like the Latour of Margaux. Maybe that accounts for some of its rep?
Didn’t used to be expensive - certainly through to the '90, Palmer was “as cheap” as other “super seconds”. Haven’t followed pricing since the 2000. Could it be that Ducru, LLC, PL all have excellent substitutes / next best wines in their appellations, whereas Palmer (and LMHB) are more expensive being: 1st [small gap] Palmer/LMHB [large gap] next best?
I have nothing against Palmer, in fact the 1961 I had with a mid shoulder fill is one of my top three wines. I have had he 1989 several times, and brilliant as it sometimes is, at least half the bottles have been disappointing. 1983 is much more consistent and also great.
That being said, although those two wines are legitimate super seconds, the majority of wines are in the middle of the pack. For years, I would go to Palmer hoping to find a wine as great as the 1961 must have been. 2005 came close, but when I tasted the 2010, I think I found it. Even the usually pleasant but non descript Alter Ego was profound that year.
But most of the wines I have tasted are in the very good but not great category, and I can think of few wines that are better than say Mouton, arguably the least of the first Growths.
I’ve had the '83 and '89 Palmers and both were wonderful. But, I purchased them when they came out so the price wasn’t an issue then. Now, you’re right, the price is definitely up there and I haven’t purchased it since because of that.
I agree with Kevin. I think Palmer’s price is well earned. IMO the three top super seconds by quality are LMHB, Palmer, and LLC. But LLC will continue to sell for less than Palmer and LMHB, because it is a stricter, more linear wine, and because it shuts down very hard. It is also from a commune that gets less attention and love than the other Medoc communes.
I would add that to my taste Montrose has now matched them at least since 2010. But that is too short a history to make a judgment on, at least for me. Montrose also has the distinction of making an extraordinary second wine in recent vintages.
So, how do we define “ super second”? To me, it implies true seconds that outperform somewhat regularly and challennge the firsts. But since undefined, can include over performing lower-than-seconds also (am I being too flexible?). Palmer can do it, if not regularly. I threw in Lynch Bages, and I would think LMHB, LLC, Ducru are there. Montrose was mentioned, and i would say that there high level performace goes back in time further than 2010.
Just sticking with the left bank theme and accounting also for wines that never spoofed, and recognizing many folks disagree and for reasons that allude me love LLC and Lynch Bages (yes, yes, I’ve never had the 89), at least: Barton, Poyferre, Pape Clement, Domaine de Chevalier, Calon Segur, Gruaud, certain vintages of Rauzan Segla and certain vintages of Giscours. That’s off the top of my head.
Jayson had always called it admirably very well and fair with the wines at off lines that I’ve had with him. However, this time I’ll disagree with his take on Palmer being >>> LLC. Even in 83 and 89, where Palmer hit it over the wall, I thought LLC still got hit 2nd and 3rd base hits. Moving on to the 90s, while Palmer did very well and kicked butt in '99 , I still think that LLC did better in all the other years in that decade, all the way to 2002.
Btw, I think Palmer’s 2004 is one of the wines of the vintage.