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The 2014 Palmer builds on the promise that it showed in barrel. It is clearly a more understated and nuanced Palmer from winemaker Thomas Duroux this year, but a Margaux with exquisite delineation and precision, hints of blackberry, boysenberry and a touch of pencil box. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin. It feels supple and lithe in the mouth. It will not have the depth and power of the subsequent 2015 Palmer, yet the 'flow' is very sensual and the Merlot (45% of the blend) just lends it roundness and a caressing texture. What a beautiful Margaux and I bet it will be deceptively long-lived.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
In 1814, General Charles Palmer purchased the wine estate of Madame de Gascq, and subsequently gave it his name. Two hundred years later, Château Palmer continues to write its own history from one vintage to the next.
Early in the summer, the sun had played and endless game of hide-and-seek. But when the 2014 harvest ended on Tuesday, October 14, it was under the same glorious sun that we had enjoyed all throughout September.
Everything had started quite well: a rainy winter had allowed the estate to renew its water reserves. In the spring, flowering went well, despite a few cases of poor fruit set among the older Merlots. At this point, we had high hopes for the quality of this new vintage.
But beginning in July, the weather became unstable and the vines focused on their fine foliage, to the detriment of their grapes. The month of August wasn't much better, veraison was slow and the berries began to swell . . .
Luckily the sun finally returned at the end of August. Little by little, September’s extraordinary weather conditions modified the profile of the 2014 vintage. The difference in veraison between the vines diminished and the size of the berries decreased, concentrating all the elements that make up this new vintage: sugar, anthocyanin and tannin levels all increased.
On September 22, we harvested the first plot, beginning with some young Merlots. The particularly good weather allowed us to harvest perfectly ripe grapes, with no risk of botrytis.
In the cellar, the spotlight was on innovation. After two years of experiments in reducing the level of sulfur in our wines, we decided to not add any sulfur to the harvested grapes to let them immediately express their complexity.
At this stage the wines of the 2014 vintage are an excellent reflection of the diversity of the estate’s plots. Each personality is expressed in these two blends as if a veil had been lifted. It is without a doubt one of the first results of our biodynamic approach.
Harvest dates: from 09/22/2014 to 10/14/2014
Cabernet Sauvignon: 49%
Petit Verdot: 6%
Bordeaux Vintage 2014 - is not a great vintage like 2005, 2009 or 2010 but it will be able to secure a position as one of the very good vintages of Bordeaux.
Timed usually ath the end of March and beginning of April the Primeur Week in Bordeaux is always an exciting moment as it allows a first view on the latest vintage. The huge number of wines available for tasting is impressing and one week seems almost to short. Therefore the Union de Grand Crus offers a well organised blind tasting for the press on every morning during the week. On the precendt weekend the Grand Cercle des vins de Bordeaux holds blind tastings of over 200 samples. These impressions are complemented by tastings at various Châteaux and tastings organized by the Bordeaux trade. Therefore some oft he wines can be tasted twice or even more often during this week to doublecheck on quality and style.
An interesting fact is the weather situation. Meterologic low pressure means that wines may close down, meanwhile meterologic high pressure presents the wines in a more open and flavourful style. This year the wheather was quite bad during the first days of the tasting week but ameliorated a lot in the second half of the week. This had an influence on the tasting notes in general which has to be considered. Another effect has been the late harvest in 2014, which shortened the time period between harvest and Primeur tastings for up to a month. A month less time for maturation has effects on the tasting results which is another aspect to consider, always keeping in mind that each tasting result remains a snap-shot and is not an absolute and final judgement.
2014 had an early start with budbreak around 10 days ahead of the 10 years average. End of May flowering started on the early terroirs in heterogeneous conditions, whereas the later varieties such as Cabernet-Sauvignon and Franc as well as later terroirs took advantage of a warm and sunny period beginning of June. July and August where quite cool and humid and in the second half of August the vintners prepared themselves for a vintage even worse than 2013 but at the end of August everything changed. A spledid indian summer througout September and October saved the quality. Harvest started for the white grapes started three days later than in 2012 but two weeks later than 2011. For the red grapes the harvest startet with Merlot at the end of September and ended with the Cabernets in the second half of October. The cool climate during summer provides a higher acidity, the indian summer is responsible for the right ripening.
The dry white wines are on a very good quality level showing crisp acidity and ripe flavours. The noble sweet white wines also take advantage of the higher acidity balancing the opulent sweetness. Therefore this vintage seems more on the elegant side. The presentation of red wines depends very much on the grape varietes and terroirs. Overall the red wines are on a higher quality level than the three previous vintages. Saint-Emilion is excellent on the plateau calcaire and shows in general very good wines.
In Pomerol the centre of the plateau was in advantage over the surrounding areas. Fronsac was a very positive surprise for 2014. In the Médoc the southern part proved to be more heterogenous than the northern part, where especially Saint-Estèphe was homogenous and excellent. South of Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan presented a very homogenous picture of a very good quality level with outstanding wines from Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion.
One last observation: This vintage digests oak in a great way. The oak is even not obvious in wines with a 100% new oak barrels for maturation. Now there are roughtly twelve month to follow for the maturation of the 2014s untill the bottling in 2016. A lot can happen in this period. Let us see how the wines will present themselves after bottling, it will be a very interesting tasting again. 2014 is not a great vintage like 2005, 2009 or 2010 but it will be able to secure a position as one of the very good vintages of Bordeaux.
by Markus del Monego MW