Palmer 2016

Margaux, Third Growth

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Tasting Notes

The 2016 Palmer was bottled in summer 2018 and matured in 60% new oak. This year it has the same proportion of grape varieties as planted in the vineyard. The gorgeous, extremely pure and floral bouquet features intense black cherries, humidor, crème de cassis and crushed violet. It is quintessential Palmer in every way. The palate is medium-bodied with fine structure and density, matched by perfectly judged acidity. Black fruit infused with pencil lead and hints of black olive gives way to a more cassis-like note toward the finish, which displays superb structure. This is a great Palmer, one from Thomas Duroux’s top drawer. 13.5% alcohol.

Score: 97

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2070 01 January 2019

The 2016 Palmer is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot cropped at 29 hectoliters per hectare between 3 and 18 October. Matured in 65% new oak (my sample coming from a used barrel), the bouquet is perhaps not quite as intense as some of its peers and takes time to click into fifth gear. Eventually it offers tightly wound blackberry, briary and mineral scents; it is very focused, but maybe less extrovert and more classic in style compared to recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry, quite firm in the mouth with slightly tarry black fruit, hints of black truffle developing towards the finish that feels masculine and linear. It has very impressive length, completing what is an intellectual Palmer, one that I suspect will really blossom in bottle.

Score: 95 - 97

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2024-2055 28 April 2017

Technical Director Thomas Duroux and his team made one of the most brilliant wines of the 2016 vintage. Palmer is simply exceptional. Rich and dramatically sweeping in the glass, the 2016 is breathtaking. All the elements simply fall into place in a wine of mesmerizing beauty. The counterpoint of dark, sumptuous fruit and floral notes makes for an utterly compelling Palmer that will take its place among the estate's finest vintages. Dark cherry, lavender, spice and mocha are some of the many notes that build into a deep, substantial finish that is truly unforgettable. In a word: magnificent!

Score: 100

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2066 01 January 2019

Sophisticated and polished from the outset, the 2016 Palmer is utterly captivating. Dark shades of fruit, accented by hints of smoke, leather and discreet French oak open up in the glass, but it is the wine'e effortless, gracious personality that stands out most. The 2016 literally hovers on the palate with exquisite grace. I can't wait to see how it ages.

Score: 95 - 98

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com 25 April 2017

The 2016 Palmer is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Opaque garnet-purple colored, it slowly glides out of the glass with compelling notes of blueberry compote, warm cassis and kirsch with emerging hints of violets, cigar box, black tea, sandalwood and Sichuan pepper. Medium to full-bodied, wonderfully rich, concentrated and packed with latent energy, the palate literally grows in the mouth, revealing layer upon layer of black, blue and red fruits and tons of floral sparks, framed by super ripe, incredibly fine-grained tannins and finishing with epic length. It’s a wine that makes you wanna drape yourself languidly over a chaise lounge, glass of Palmer in hand, sighing with deep satisfaction, “This is so wonderfully Palmer.”

Score: 98

Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2024-2060 30 November 2018

The grand vin represents 65% of production in 2016, the highest ever. It has many similarities in style with the 2001 and 1986, being a classically styled wine full of soft slate, fern, liquorice and cassis, but from the modern era where you can achieve so much more precision. This is a wine that makes you smile from the first sip, and keeps on getting better, caressing you gently across the palate. There is never any let up through the mid-palate, and the biodynamics that have been practised here for the past few years are clearly paying off. Elegant, utterly silky and precise, the structure is just effortless with reasonably fresh alcohols that are the result of late ripening. A perfect example of the appellation, it has the florality, density and slow tannic pace that means it takes you right along with it as the flavours build. The blend is 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot. Intellectual without being overbearing, and built to age. This is impressive stuff.

Score: 98

Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050 20 April 2017

47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot. Super-rich but elegant aromas of dark plums and spices, with fresh spring flowers behind. Full-bodied with black fruits, spices, cloves, and leaves. Very long and classic.

Score: 95 - 98

Albany Vintners 19 April 2017

47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot. No sulphur dioxide until after MLF. Very dark, velvety look - really bright. Complex and energetic. Not simple and sweet but quite a step change. Feels a little transitional because it's so different and more energetic than the old style. 65% new oak, as always, but the wine can absorb it better. Some bitter chocolate. Lots of sweetness. Energy and freshness. (17.5+)

Score: 17 - 18

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2025-2045 17 April 2017

I wrote that the 2015 was incredible, and this 2016 is again. It’s equally structured and powerful as the 2015, yet there’s an underlying intellectual serenity to this wine. You taste it, and you want to know and experience it even more. Full and tannic yet ever so polished and beautiful. Mesmerizing. Made from biodynamically grown grapes.

Score: 99 - 100

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com 24 March 2017