x
  • Country ranking ?

    97
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Beef Tenderloin with Shitake and Crisp Rosemary Potatoes

A Vintage Affair

Courtesy Château Palmer By Peter Hellman

Peter Hellman’s initial encounter with Château Palmer’s mythic 1961 vintage was love at first sip. A quarter century later he finally meets his elusive suitor again.

 

 

Suppose, on a night of your youth—long ago but not forgotten—you were seduced: unexpectedly, beguilingly, deliciously. And then the night was gone. Decades pass, but the memory lingers. Past is past, you say, now is now, and never the twain shall meet.

But suppose you suddenly had the chance to touch your lips once more to the long-ago seducer. And to do so in an exotic hideaway far from home. Would the embers have gone cold after so long? Or might they lie banked, ready to be fanned once more into flame?

Those were my questions one May evening as I boarded a nonstop flight from New York to Hong Kong. Seventeen hours later a hydrofoil ferry sped me across the Pearl River Estuary toward my destination, Macao. Sitting in the almost empty cabin, I let memories take over....

My thoughts drifted back to that balmy evening in the late seventies: I was at a lively dinner party at a grand old New York City home. The hosts, wine buffs both, had served many good whites and reds during dinner, and with the cheese course, the final bottle was brought out. Yet one more well-bred vintage, I assumed. But I was quite wrong.

The cork was pulled at the far end of the table and suddenly a rich, sweet, spicy scent wafted over to my nostrils. I’d never known a wine to send its essence from such a distance.

Though the other wines had flowed liberally that evening, this bottle was trickled out parsimoniously. Each of us was allotted a bare quarter of a glass. It was not especially dark, more cherry-tinted than purple. And while classic Bordeaux can be puckery, this wine gave an impression of sweetness, not from sugar but from its perfect ripeness and silkiness. It evoked the essence of ripest purple and red fruits—mulberry, plum, currant, cherry—and seemed to be moving in the mouth, an agile dancer’s motion.

And that was my seducer, dressed in an alluring midnight-blue and gold label: the legendary 1961 vintage of Château Palmer, a red Bordeaux from Margaux. According to Bordeaux’s classification system, Château Palmer is a mere third growth; in theory its wines should always be of lesser quality than those of its neighbor, the famed first-growth Château Margaux. But not in 1961.

In the spring of that year, two late frosts had caught Bordeaux’s vines in their flowering, damaging a substantial portion of the crop. Then came a hot, dry summer. At harvest the surviving grapes were smaller and less juicy than normal and their skins, rich in tannins and flavor compounds, abnormally thick. The result at Château Palmer was that its production of 3,000 cases was only a quarter of its normal yield. But less was more, much more. That year Palmer was beyond superb: It was a wine of special powers.

For years after that evening, I searched wine shops for bottles of Palmer 1961 and never found a single one for sale. They sometimes turned up at fine-wine auctions, where a bottle could fetch as much as $3,000, often more than the first growths of 1961.

A few years ago Palmer hired a hot young winemaker named Thomas Duroux, who fine-tuned its viticulture and invested in new technology. Curious about these changes, I visited the winery on a chilly February day. With its four turreted towers and its banners flying, the château is an imposing sight. Behind it the vines, gnarly and leafless in the cold, stretched in orderly rows down toward the Gironde estuary. As I strolled along the vineyards’ edge with Bernard de Laage, Palmer’s development director, we discussed the 1961 vintage. When had he last tasted the wine, I asked. “Oh, a few weeks ago,” he said. “Three bottles at dinner.”

“Here at the château?”

“No,” he said, “in Macao.”

De Laage had been in Macao at the request of Louis Ng, a wealthy Chinese businessman who owned about 50 cases of Palmer 1961. Ng had bought them from London wine merchant Farr Vintners in the late nineties. He paid a premium on the already high price because the bottles had just arrived from the cellars of Palmer co-owner Mähler-Besse, where they had been stored since leaving the château. Good provenance makes wine, like art, more valuable.

But after a few years, Ng was distressed to notice that the level of wine in many of the bottles was dropping. It seemed to be evaporating, and despite careful storage the aging corks were most likely to blame. Farr Vintners offered to take the wine back, but Ng turned them down. He was determined to save his trove from spoilage. In any event no comparable quantity of this wine was available for money or love.

Ng asked De Laage to visit the Hotel Lisboa in Macao, where the wine was stored in a specially cooled vault. “I was stunned,” De Laage told me. “Here was two percent of the entire 1961 production, all in one place almost a half century later. At the château we have very few bottles left.” Ng hosted a dinner for De Laage at which they opened three bottles. De Laage then returned to Bordeaux, where tests proved that the corks were failing.

As at other Bordeaux châteaux, Palmer sometimes agreed to recork old bottles if they were delivered to the property (see “To Cork or Not to Recork”). But “house calls” were never made. De Laage decided to make an exception to that rule: He and his team would fly to Macao, where they would open and taste all of Ng’s 1961s. The bottles that met the quality standard of the vintage would be topped off and recorked. Any bad bottles would be discarded.

Recorking old wine is normally a process, not an adventure. But this was an extraordinary event, and I vowed to be there when it happened. That’s how I ended up on the hydrofoil, heading to Macao. Call it a date with an old flame.

On that day in May 2005, a padlock was removed from the door of a specially cooled private dining room at the Lisboa. In walked Team Palmer—De Laage, Duroux, and former technical director Philippe Delfault. In the center two banquet tables were laden with columns of wine bottles.

As I stood aside and watched, Delfault inserted a standard waiter’s corkscrew into the first bottle. The cork crumbled as he pulled it out. He started fishing out the bits using a long-handled ladle. But I hardly noticed. What stole my attention was the familiar and bewitching aroma: sweet and rich without being candied, gentle yet potent. Twenty-five years after our first meeting, the wine still knew how to turn my head.

“Want to check this bottle for us?” asked Duroux, as he pulled a cork.

“Anything to help you guys out,” I said.

He poured me a mouthful of newly opened wine. Sweet, round, and plush, yet somehow firm at the core, the taste, as with the smell, was as I remembered. So long in the bottle, yet so fresh.

The process of reconditioning the bottles was long, repetitive, and mechanical. An ancient long-levered corking machine had been air-shipped to the Lisboa, the same one used to seal the vintage originally. Each bottle was tasted “to be sure that it respected the quality of 1961,” as Duroux put it, and those that did were refilled from another sound bottle. Then carbon dioxide gas was injected into the bottle to expel the oxygen just as the cork was driven in. Each cork was stamped rebouché en 2005, new red foil was wrapped around the neck, and—voilà!—a 45-year-old wine could look forward to many more decades of brilliance. In the end only four bottles fell short of the lofty standards, even though they were fine to drink. These were resealed with unmarked corks. In total, 16 bottles were used to top off the remaining 500.

The recorking marathon was celebrated the next evening with a dinner at Robuchon a Galera, the Hotel Lisboa’s superb French restaurant. And to the guests’ delight, the waiters poured freely—20 bottles of Palmer ’61 in all. As the dinner ended I noticed, amid empties on a waiter’s tray, one bottle with a bit of wine remaining. I poured it into a fresh glass and drank. It delivered a final warm afterglow from those old embers. And, just for a few seconds, it made the back of my neck tingle.

Peter Hellman writes the Urban Vintage column in the New York Sun.

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The Story

Vintage after vintage, the wines of Château Palmer express our vision of an exceptional wine. We believe that it is born of the mysterious trilogy – terroir, history, memory – and all of our efforts are concentrated on bringing it into the world. Distinction, high standards and commitment are the values that guide every choice we make from the vineyard to the table where the wine is served.


Knowing
Knowing your terroir, your grapes, and your wines – this is a threefold enterprise of patient observation. What seems to be a given is in fact a matter of exacting standards at every moment. To know the terroir you have to become intimately familiar with it. We strive to know the grape variety, subsoil, and exposure of each and every plot but also of each and every row within the plot, as we regard every vine as a unique individual. To know our grapes well, we closely monitor their development until maturity. To know our wines, we taste the batches, the vats, the barrels, and the bottles again and again.


Understanding
Progress in œnology has provided us with insight into the development of wines. Progress in agronomy has given us a better understanding of the life of our vineyards. This makes for more precision in our interventions as much in the winery as in the vineyards. Applying the best technical innovations in a spirit of reconciliation between science and craftsmanship, we use all relevant means to reveal the unique character of the Palmer terroir with each new vintage.


Creating
With the grapes that nature offers us, our job is to create the best possible wine. Is this craftsmanship or artistry? No doubt both. Like skilled craftspeople that love their trade, we select and blend the batches with meticulous care. And like artists, we let ourselves be swept away by the work that is born, as it imposes itself upon our will, surprises, amazes and transcends us.


Kindling desire
Ultimately our goal is to make Château Palmer wines as desirable as can be. To achieve this, everything we do, whether we work in the vineyard, the winery, or in the offices, is informed by high standards and a sense of detail Nothing is left to chance, not the choice of paper for a label, or that of an etching for the wood crates, or of a theme for a reception. 

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Vintage 1961

Characteristics of the vintage 1961
Considered to be one of the greatest vintages of the post-war period, 1961 nevertheless got off to a difficult start with two harsh frosts in quick succession on April 21st and 29th.
After this, the vines flowered early but cold weather in May resulted in widespread coulure. The vines suffered further from the very hot, dry summer and by September, the grapes were beginning to dry out and the near drought conditions were leading to serious vine stress.
Heavy rain at the end of September thankfully allowed the grapes to achieve near perfect ripeness.
Small volumes and high concentration combined to produce wines of truly exceptional quality in 1961. From the moment fermentation began, the colour and rich concentration of sugar and tannins were outstanding. The wines are silky, creamy and consistent.
Harvest dates: from 09/19/1961 to 09/27/1961

Blend

Merlot: 52%
Cabernet Sauvignon: 30%
Petit Verdot: 13%
Cabernet Franc: 5%



 

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Average Bottle Price

2890 2015 2014 2012 2010 2005 2000
2 016€ -24.1% 2 655€ +11.1% 2 389€ -6.1% 2 543€ -33.9% 3 845€ +198.3% 1 289€ +46.6% 879€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

56 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Full, Cherry Red and Healthy

ending

Long, Smooth and Gentle

flavors

Blackcurrant, Truffles, Blackberry, Blueberry, Plum and Violet

nose

Intense, Seductive, Pure and Complex

recommend

Yes

taste

Warming, Medium tannin, Well-structured, Complex, Perfectly balanced, Medium-bodied, Rich, Full, Harmonious and Sweet

Verdict

Fine and Well-rounded

Written Notes

We traveled back in time to the great 1961s, beginning with a 1961 Palmer that was reboucheed in 1998.  Its nose was a city of smoke and sex, intriguing and dangerous.  It was musky and husky with lots of good dust.  Its palate had a touch of jam on it, along with some honeyed flavors.  It was long and rich, but it got grapier in the glass and didn’t lift with time, perhaps a function of the reconditioning (95). 

  • 95p
Very deep, dark, mature colour. Quite youthful on the nose – flavour of blackcurrants, violet, and truffles. Wow... a wonderful concentration of fruit and flavour – still powerful, complex and rich, well balanced wine. Very feminine and refined. This Palmer is excellent to drink now, but can last well for a few more decades. However, my earnest advice is: don’t wait, don’t sell, just be kind to yourself and enjoy it now. Tasted seven times with similar notes.
  • 98p

Consistent notes. Deep ruby red color with brown edge. Lots of beatifully scented luscious fruit, silky tannin, incredible balance, sophisticated and refined. This a legendary wine, which hasn't changed significantly since I tasted it for the very first time in 1987. A true dignified aristocrat wine, who firmly has kept its mind-boggling quality during so many years. Simply amazing stuff! Outshined Latour in this vintage.

  • 99p

Information

Origin

Margaux, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

Serious

Glass time

1h

Drinking temperature

16

Inside Information

www.jancisrobinson.com, Jancis Robinson, 02/25/2009
« Wilts cellar – five bottles left! I feel so privileged to have tasted this wine on so many occasions, and especially to have been given a chance to enjoy this bottle so late in its incredibly extended lifespan. What a miracle wine. (Humorist Miles Kington was sent by his brewer father to pick grapes in Bordeaux and ended up at Palmer in 1961, but the wine virus didn’t take.) Still wonderfully sweet on the nose and sinewy, positively willowy, on the palate. Quite extraordinarily persistent. Not big. Such a different animal from so many red bordeaux made today. Now taking on some slightly gamey notes with a little dustiness but lots of life and energy. It faded a little in the glass after 10 minutes or so with the acidity becoming more prominent, and I would therefore not decant this wine ahead of time if I were in the enviable position of serving it, but if the Gruaud was a wine of pleasure, this is a wine to marvel at.
Drink 1975-2015  »

www.topwinesofthecentury.com, John Kapon, 10/01/2004
« The 1961 Palmer took Left Bank honors this day, far from a long shot but a surprise nonetheless! It had a great nose that was very supple with flashes of grape, cassis and blackcurrant fruit, and nice supplementary aromas of minerals and gravel. The pinch of chocolate was perfect on its meaty palate, and like I mentioned previously, it made the Latour look worse, for lack of a better word. The wine was delicious, long and still young  »

Wine News, Abraham Horowitz, 04/01/2004
« Light orange-brown hue. Penetrating scents of cedar, pencil lead and bell pepper. Lively flavors of raspberry and orange marmalade. Velvety tannins and lasting flavors of sweet tobacco and raspberry in the extraordinary finish. »

Wine News, Abraham Horowitz, 04/01/2004
« Light orange-brown hue. Penetrating scents of cedar, pencil lead and bell pepper. Lively flavors of raspberry and orange marmalade. Velvety tannins and lasting flavors of sweet tobacco and raspberry in the extraordinary finish. »

CARNETS - BETTANE et DESSEAUVE, Betane & Desseauve, 06/01/2002
« Une merveille: le nez voluptueux, complexe, inoubliable, alterne des notes de rose à des nuances tertiaires animales comme le musc et la civette, avec une grâce confondante qu'il doit à un bon taux d'acidité volatile. Mais, par miracle, cette acidité n'a pas attaqué la texture qui conserve un velouté exceptionnel qui a largement contribué à la légende de ce millésime de Palmer et que cette bouteille confirme! D'une longueur extraordinaire, ce vin allie le panache à l'assagissement du grand âge et rapelle que le plaisir de dégustation passe d'abord par le charme de la saveur et le confort des sensations tactiles. Le vin semble hors du temps.  »

International Wine Cellar, Stephen Tanzer, 06/01/2002
« Full medium red. Great sweet, mature nose of redcurrant, rose petal, truffle and underbrush, with some exotic tarry merlot showing. Wonderfully sweet and concentrated, with a hint of the liqueur-like quality of the vintage. This reminded me of a great old bottle of Hermitage. Finishes with powerful sweetness and uncanny persistence. This was one of the handful of wines that completely dominated the scorecards of both groups of tasters.  »

La Revue du Vin de France, 09/01/2001
« La robe, assez profonde, précède un nez très fin et complexe sur des nuances d’écorces et de fumé, avec une touche de rose fanée et de praline. Grande fraîcheur en bouche, avec un fruit tertiaire dominant et une présence tannique tout en équilibre . La finale est superbe.  »

Cwww.asianpalate.com, Jeannie Choo Lee, 11/01/2013
« This was my wine of the evening in an extraordinary vertical tasting at the chateau that included the 1983, 1953, 1945 and 1928. A gorgeous bouquet of dried flowers on the nose that is pure pot pourri. The palate offers much more than just floral characters – the wine opens up to a sweet mid palate core with sweet spices, roasted herbs and touch of white truffles. Very long finish. An impressive Palmer that is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. »

www.jancisrobinson.com, Jancis Robinson, 02/25/2009
« Wilts cellar – five bottles left! I feel so privileged to have tasted this wine on so many occasions, and especially to have been given a chance to enjoy this bottle so late in its incredibly extended lifespan. What a miracle wine. (Humorist Miles Kington was sent by his brewer father to pick grapes in Bordeaux and ended up at Palmer in 1961, but the wine virus didn’t take.) Still wonderfully sweet on the nose and sinewy, positively willowy, on the palate. Quite extraordinarily persistent. Not big. Such a different animal from so many red bordeaux made today. Now taking on some slightly gamey notes with a little dustiness but lots of life and energy. It faded a little in the glass after 10 minutes or so with the acidity becoming more prominent, and I would therefore not decant this wine ahead of time if I were in the enviable position of serving it, but if the Gruaud was a wine of pleasure, this is a wine to marvel at.
Drink 1975-2015 »

www.topwinesofthecentury.com, John Kapon, 10/01/2004
« The 1961 Palmer took Left Bank honors this day, far from a long shot but a surprise nonetheless! It had a great nose that was very supple with flashes of grape, cassis and blackcurrant fruit, and nice supplementary aromas of minerals and gravel. The pinch of chocolate was perfect on its meaty palate, and like I mentioned previously, it made the Latour look worse, for lack of a better word. The wine was delicious, long and still young »

Wine News, Abraham Horowitz, 04/01/2004
« Light orange-brown hue. Penetrating scents of cedar, pencil lead and bell pepper. Lively flavors of raspberry and orange marmalade. Velvety tannins and lasting flavors of sweet tobacco and raspberry in the extraordinary finish. »

Wine News, Abraham Horowitz, 04/01/2004
« Light orange-brown hue. Penetrating scents of cedar, pencil lead and bell pepper. Lively flavors of raspberry and orange marmalade. Velvety tannins and lasting flavors of sweet tobacco and raspberry in the extraordinary finish. »

CARNETS - BETTANE et DESSEAUVE, Betane & Desseauve, 06/01/2002
« Une merveille: le nez voluptueux, complexe, inoubliable, alterne des notes de rose à des nuances tertiaires animales comme le musc et la civette, avec une grâce confondante qu'il doit à un bon taux d'acidité volatile. Mais, par miracle, cette acidité n'a pas attaqué la texture qui conserve un velouté exceptionnel qui a largement contribué à la légende de ce millésime de Palmer et que cette bouteille confirme! D'une longueur extraordinaire, ce vin allie le panache à l'assagissement du grand âge et rapelle que le plaisir de dégustation passe d'abord par le charme de la saveur et le confort des sensations tactiles. Le vin semble hors du temps. »

International Wine Cellar, Stephen Tanzer, 06/01/2002
« Full medium red. Great sweet, mature nose of redcurrant, rose petal, truffle and underbrush, with some exotic tarry merlot showing. Wonderfully sweet and concentrated, with a hint of the liqueur-like quality of the vintage. This reminded me of a great old bottle of Hermitage. Finishes with powerful sweetness and uncanny persistence. This was one of the handful of wines that completely dominated the scorecards of both groups of tasters. »

La Revue du Vin de France, 09/01/2001
« La robe, assez profonde, précède un nez très fin et complexe sur des nuances d’écorces et de fumé, avec une touche de rose fanée et de praline. Grande fraîcheur en bouche, avec un fruit tertiaire dominant et une présence tannique tout en équilibre . La finale est superbe. »

Tasting of 1961 Clarets, Robert H, 01/01/2001
« Dark & dense. Opulent nose of spices, sandalwood, wood, leather, some smoke. Equally impressive on the palate with lots of volume, waves of flavors, mouthfilling. Elegance, balance, finesse, sweetness and length and more length. A truly outstanding Bordeaux, perfectly mature but with no end in sight. One of the best bottles I have had in my life. Outstanding++< »

The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker, 10/01/1994
« Tasted 9 Times With Consistent Notes The 1961 Palmer has long been considered to be a legend from this vintage, and its reputation is well-deserved. The wine is at its apogee, with an extraordinary, sweet, complex nose with aromas of flowers, cassis, toast, and minerals. It is intensely concentrated, offering a cascade of lavishly ripe, full-bodied, opulent fruit, soft tannins, and a voluptuous finish. This is a decadent Palmer, unparalleled since in quality with the exception of 1983 and 1989. »

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

95p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

We traveled back in time to the great 1961s, beginning with a 1961 Palmer that was reboucheed in 1998.  Its nose was a city of smoke and sex, intriguing and dangerous.  It was musky and husky with lots of good dust.  Its palate had a touch of jam on it, along with some honeyed flavors.  It was long and rich, but it got grapier in the glass and didn’t lift with time, perhaps a function of the reconditioning (95). 

1m 20d ago

96p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

The Big Ticket had arrived towards the end of the auction and quickly snapped up ten or fifteen lots. He also snapped up a 1961 Palmer for us to drink. Now you know why the artist formerly known as Eric the Red Wine Bandit is now officially The Big Ticket. The Palmer was superb, classic all the way. The earth, minerality and acidity jumped out first, but there was still a core of dark cassis fruit behind all that with only a hint of autumn in the wine. Robust, still youthful and long, the Palmer still maintained its hallmark elegance.

2m 6d ago

99p
 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

Consistent notes. Deep ruby red color with brown edge. Lots of beatifully scented luscious fruit, silky tannin, incredible balance, sophisticated and refined. This a legendary wine, which hasn't changed significantly since I tasted it for the very first time in 1987. A true dignified aristocrat wine, who firmly has kept its mind-boggling quality during so many years. Simply amazing stuff! Outshined Latour in this vintage.

11m 3d ago

100p
 Frank Smulders MW, Pro (Austria)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

"Château Palmer 1961. Though a bit problematic when we opened the bottle in the afternoon, it showed during the actual tasting, in the evening, precisely why Palmer is often seen as underrated in the 1855 classification. Wow! The nose perhaps a bit more reluctant then the three wines mentioned before, but on the palate a beautiful sweetness of fruit and tannin, great balance and ending in a powerful, slightly dominated by the alcohol finish. 100 points"

1y 3m ago

99p
 Jason Lee / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

"Château Palmer 1961/ Clear, little cloudy, deep red colour. Very intense, developing and complex aromas of yoghurt, milk chocolate and intense dark red berries with bell pepper. Concentrated taste with ripe almost jammy fruitiness. Moderately high acidity is balancing the ripe fruit and firm big, velvety tannins. Long finish with attractive concentration and finesse. Superb, but has still a very good future ahead! 99 points"

2y 6m ago

99p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

"Considered to be one of the greatest vintages of the post-war period, 1961 nevertheless got off to a difficult start with two harsh frosts on April 21th and 29th. Most of the Merlot flowers were frozen to death. But after that short period, the weather could not have been better, although the vines suffered from the very hot, dry summer. The harvest took place under a cloudless sky and a small crop of healthy and ripe grapes were collected. Small volumes and high concentration combined to produce wines of truly exceptional quality. Because there was more technical knowledge and human care in fermentation in 1961 than 1928 and 1945, the wines were very attractive and supple from the beginning, in spite of their excessive tannins. These wines were deep in colour, creamy and consistent.
Château-bottled, the level was low-neck . Decanted for one hour. Very deep, dark and promising colour. The nose was incredible; wide open with odd but seductive mix of chocolate, truffles, black currant and caramel-scented aromas. Full, rich and sweet wine with soft and well-balanced finish. Not as deep, fat and concentrated as we were hoping but one of the best bottles of Palmer from the 1961 vintage that we have encountered. This was very enjoyable, but unfortunately not as good as its legendary reputation would let one wish. This Palmer is excellent to drink now, and will last well few more decades, but our earnest advice is – don’t wait, don’t sell, just be kind to yourself and enjoy it now.
"

2y 7m ago

98p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

"Very deep, dark, mature colour. Quite youthful on the nose – flavour of blackcurrants, violet, and truffles. Wow... a wonderful concentration of fruit and flavour – still powerful, complex and rich, well balanced wine. Very feminine and refined. This Palmer is excellent to drink now, but can last well for a few more decades. However, my earnest advice is: don’t wait, don’t sell, just be kind to yourself and enjoy it now.
Tasted seven times with similar notes.
"

2y 8m ago

99p
 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

"It is hard to compile a list of the greatest wines of the 20th century that doesn’t include this beauty. In fact, in a tasting of 118 1961’s in which my wife and I participated for FINE Magazine in Europe, while it was not the wine I ranked the highest, in terms of a group composite score (all either professionals or experienced tasters), this was the top scoring wine.
We had a beautiful bottle this evening, perhaps not quite as glorious as those I’ve had in Europe, but very close. If in terms of wine greatness, you are a lover of intensity, this wine may just fall short of touching the hem of divinity for you…but it’s hard to imagine another quibble.
This is quite a unique package, the bouquet itself is surreal, a confection of cherries, cassis, allspice, roses, truffles, and violets. Guillem Kerambrun, Wine Director at Benoit, and in Europe Deputy Wine Director for the Ducasse Group, just kept smiling and shaking his head in awe and almost reverence from the sip he had.
Sheer poise and balance, depth and a full array of sweet, concentrated, at moments, almost liqueur-like high notes that are dazzling. It almost at the mid-palate seems to straddle great old Bordeaux and great old Hermitage with its spice notes, sweet perfumed complexity -- the Merlot here in this vintage quixotically almost resembling a Right Bank Merlot flavor profile. Ethereal and yet full of presence, it culminates in a sensuous, concentrated finish that is an ode to profound Claret. 99 Points+
"

2y 8m ago

96p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

"The next flight took it up a notch thanks to a 1961 Palmer. There was a touch of ‘cleaner’ that had to blow off, but behind that it became nutty with fresh aromas of cassis and wafer. Its palate was so good and so lush, long and classic with a leathery, thick finish. While this wine can be inconsistent, there was no doubting the greatness of this magnum (96M)."

4y 3m ago

100p
 Frank Smulders MW, Pro (Austria)  tasted  Château Palmer 1961  ( Château Palmer )

"Château Palmer 1961. Though a bit problematic when we opened the bottle in the afternoon, it showed during the actual tasting, in the evening, precisely why Palmer is often seen as underrated in the 1855 classification. Wow! The nose perhaps a bit more reluctant then the three wines mentioned before, but on the palate a beautiful sweetness of fruit and tannin, great balance and ending in a powerful, slightly dominated by the alcohol finish. "

4y 4m ago

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