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The Story

Palmer and its Alter Ego are two nuanced expressions of the Château Palmer terroir, two interpretations of the variations offered by the climatic conditions of the vintage. These variations can be likened, in music, to symphonic pieces and their jazz adaptations, in the visual arts, to a classic painting and a contemporary rendering of the same subject, and, in literature, to an epic narrative in alexandrine verse and a prose poem. 

Alter Ego was born with the 1998 vintage. It resulted from a new approach to selecting and blending devised to interpret the Château Palmer terroir differently without departing from the values that make the reputation of our wines – namely, finesse and elegance, aromatic richness, harmony and length. 


Offering intense, crispy and juicy fruits, Alter Ego is a spontaneous uninhibited wine, soft and round as soon as it has finished barrel ageing. Its lush aromas and supple tannins make it a wine that can be appreciated in the first years after bottling. 

At the end of the summer, the slowly maturing berries are regularly tasted to evaluate their potential. We pay attention to the taste of the grape, the thickness of the skin, and the resistance of the seed. By this time we already have a sense of what the wines will be like. We are looking for lush grapes for Alter Ego that will release the aromas of fresh fruit. Harvesting and vinification decisions are made based on the idea that we have of the Château Palmer and Alter Ego style. Final blend tastings usually come to confirm our intuitions. The batches chosen for Alter Ego are then blended and put into barrels to age for 18 months. The fruitiness and aromatic intensity are preserved by the use of a moderate percentage of new oak barrels (25 to 40%).

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Wine Information

Back-to-back very great vintages are hardly a frequent occurrence. In terms of quality, 2010 benefited from exceptionally favourable weather, like the 2009 vintage.

Thanks to these particularly favourable conditions, we were able to take our time in order to pick each plot at peak ripeness. In fact, the 2010 harvest was the longest in Château Palmer’s recent history.
Although the alcoholic degree is very high, like in 2009, the acidity synonymous with freshness - and tannic concentration are greater, making for wines with an extremely solid foundation. Their power, combined with a high level of acidity, gives them the potential for becoming benchmarks, and for this to be a legendary vintage. Furthermore, as opposed to previous vintages of the century that are responsible for Bordeaux’s reputation, the ability to choose exactly the right time to pick and perfect control of extraction made it possible to temper the wines’ strength and vigour. They are like a finely cut diamond that, over time, will fully express all the delicacy of Château Palmer’s terroir.
After a late start to the growing season that protected the vines from spring frosts, bud break took place evenly in the month of April. By late May, the size of the potential crop appeared excellent.
However, fertilization was greatly upset by a cold, wet period in June that caused flowering to be very spread out and led to a significant amout of coulure (shot berries), thereby reducing hopes for a large crop.

The weather in July was particularly warm and favourable, eliminating any heterogeneity in the vines after flowering, and véraison (colour change) occurred fairly quickly. This very beautiful weather - sunny, but not excessively hot, with cool nights - lasted without interruption until the end of the harvest.
The 2010 vintage also had a very marked water deficit that grew as the summer went on. This accounted for even greater phenolic concentration than in 2009 (which was already high), as well as very small berries with astonishing aromatic richness and well-preserved acidity. A few very welcome millimetres of rain in the second week of September (35 mm in Margaux) fortunately speeded up ripening of the skins in certain areas strongly affected by water stress.

Thanks to these particularly favourable conditions, we were able to take our time in order to pick each plot at peak ripeness. In fact, the 2010 harvest was the longest in Château Palmer’s recent history.

Harvest dates: from 09/22/2010 to 10/20/2010


Cabernet Sauvignon: 51%
Merlot: 49%

Ageing potential

2017 - 2030


« à venir »

Press Review

Wine Spectator, James Molesworth, 03/31/2013
« Offers a tarry frame melded to a core of plum sauce, tobacco and dark currant preserves. Fleshy and broad, with a good charcoal spine for freshness. Approachable now, but should improve with cellaring. Best from 2014 through 2025." J.M »

eRobertParker.com, Robert Parker, 03/01/2013
« An equal-part blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2010 Alter Ego represents 50% of the crop at Palmer. It has been an interesting second wine to take note of ever since the first vintage in 1998. The 2010 displays loads of chocolaty espresso notes, with plenty of punch, glycerin and unctuosity as well as some tannin like its bigger sister, but it is clearly meant to be drinkable at a much earlier age. It will still require several years of cellaring and should last 12-15 years.

There’s no question that Thomas Duroux and the staff at Palmer are producing wines of first-growth quality, and have been for nearly a decade. »

eRobertParker.com, Neal Martin, 02/14/2013
« Tasted at the château. The Alter Ego 2010 has a well-defined, quite exuberant bouquet of dark cherries, boysenberry and cassis that blossom in the glass. There is just a hint of fresh dates emerging with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with an edgy, liquorice-tinged entry. It has a grainy texture, good depth, though needs just a little more refinement towards the finish. Tasted November 2012. »

Gaultmillau, Pierre GuiGui, 05/24/2011
« Sapidité, délice velouté, trame gourmande :
voici en quelques mots Alter Ego qui a aujourd’hui le niveau d’un grand cru classé de par sa matière magistrale et sa grande précision aromatique. »

http://www.bonhams.com, Bonhams, 05/24/2011
« Rich, concentrated, well-structured, very good second wine. »

Vinifera, Jacques Perrin, 05/01/2011
« Il se caractérise par un style inhabituellement puissant, d'une très belle dynamique fruitée, et de superbes tanins veloutés. »

www.connectionstowine.com, Panos Kakaviatos, 04/18/2011
« Good fruit, red. Seems less voluptuous than last year but also more focused and with more tension, good tension. Mark Golodetz remarked that it will be a very long lived wine. Duroux said that the structure is more evident. In any case, a fine success for Alter Ego. »

bordeaux-undiscovered.blogspot.com/, Nick STEPHENS, 04/08/2011
« olour a great dark crimson, on the nose it was full of fruit, quite complex. Loads of fruit in the mouth, well structured, very nicely balanced. I'm sure that this is a wine that many chateaux would love to have as their Grand Vin. »

Wine Spectator, James Molesworth, 04/08/2011
« Velvety and inviting, with lovely dark plum and blackberry fruit, followed by a long, caressing finish. This has some grip too, but it's nicely integrated. Should have some staying power. Tasted non-blind. »

www.connectionstowine.com, Jeff LEVE, 04/08/2011
« 2010 Alter Ego 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Merlot offers blackberry, floral, cassis and bitter chocolate aromas.
Powerful for Alter Ego, the wine ends with a smooth, fresh, refined finish. While the wine reached 14.4, there is no sensation of heat. »

Cellar Blog, Allan LISKA, 04/07/2011
« The 2010 Alter Ego is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Merlot with an acidity level of 3.55. It is a very powerful vintage that is hard to compare to other vintages. Good black fruit aromas with great spiciness on the nose. The wine has a great acidity that blends well with the well-structured tannins and a good finish. »

Wine Mag, Roger Voss, 04/07/2011
« Ripe black currants and powerful fruit with great acidity and enticing dusty tannins. The wine brings out juicy Merlot flavors with a more concentrated element. »

www.winewordsandvideotape.com, Jeremy Palmer, 04/07/2011
« Deep; creamy ripe blackcurrants; pretty seductive; quite intense with grip, more grip on the palate. Freshness here, despite the 14.4 degrees alcohol. In fact pretty lively on the palate.
Great effort. »

Decanter, Steven Spurrier, 04/06/2011
« Fragrant wild violets nose, wonderful weight and texture, succulence and firmness, definitely not a 'second wine'.
Drink 2015-25. »

The Wine Cellar Inside, Jeff LEVE, 04/05/2011
« 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 49% Merlot offers blackberry, floral, cassis and bitter chocolate aromas. Powerful for Alter Ego, the wine ends with a smooth, fresh, refined finish. While the wine reached 14.4, there is no sensation of heat. »

www.sokolin.com, David Sokolin, 04/05/2011
« It's the second wine that tastes about as good as any of the Margaux that i just tasted at the big Margaux UGC tasting (except Lascombes).
It's precise and powerful with juicy tannin. »

www.jancisrobinson.com, Jancis Robinson, 03/30/2011
« Very dark purplish crimson. Markedly aromatic. Very lifted with a strong undertow. Racy and vibrant, just a little green note there and even orange peel. Great tension and even a little sucking-stone character. Much more structure than usual for Alter Ego. Certainly doesn’t taste hot.
Alter Ego is still theoretically made specifically to be drunk young but 2010 presented a challenge to this philosophy!
‘In a vintage like 2010, you cannot go against it,’ Thomas Duroux.
This tastes like a very smart wine off its own bat. A most unusual Alter Ego.
Drink 2020-2028 »

www.erobertparker.com, Neal MARTIN, 03/28/2011
« this has a very tightly wound bouquet with dark cherries, cassis and a touch of liquorice. There is a very fine sense of definition at the moment. The palate is medium-bodied with sturdy, firm tannins, layers of mocha-tinged dark berried fruit leading to a structured, quite spicy finish with gentle but insistent grip. Tasted March 2011. »

www.jamessuckling.com, James SUCKLING, 03/23/2011
« Floral and blackberry and currant. Full to medium body. Round and velvety with chocolate and nuts.
A firm and structured Alter Ego. »

www.quarin.com, Jean-Marc QUARIN, 03/21/2011
« Vin en dentelle avec du goût, un corps raffiné malgré le fort degré d'alcool (14,°9) et 82 d'IPT qui fond au palais et se boirait en l'état. Longueur normale. »

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Vintage 2010

Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness

The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but decidedly chillier than those of 2005, which totalled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and attractive aromatic freshness. 

Very little rainfall (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227mm of rain fell. 

Another feature of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures above all in the first three weeks of August, which made for the preservation of good levels of acidity in the grapes while also maintaining attractive aromatic freshness.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

<10 tasting notes

Tasting note


Deep and Ruby red


Long and Round


Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Toasty, Cassis and Chocolate


Intense, Complex, Refined and Rich




Average in Acidity, Warming, Medium tannin, Perfectly balanced, Well-structured, Complex, Developing, Full-bodied, Full, Dry and Drying tannins


Impressive and Well made

Written Notes

Good looking normal size bottle. Colour is ruby red and deep. On the nose it is intense, complex, refined and rich. The taste is full, and dry, with medium tannin, with silky tannins, and average in acidity, full-bodied, with complex, well-structured, perfectly balanced structure and developing. On the palate it is layered and has cassis, toasty, blackberry, blackcurrant and chocolate flavours. The finish is long and round. This wine is impressive. I paid around 50-100€ a bottle. Perfectly stored bottles are still very worthy and will last well for another 5-10€ years and decant at least 15min before tasting. Good value for money. I do recommend.
- (Tasting note created by Tb's AI)
  • 91p
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Margaux, Bordeaux


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