Chateau Palmer Dinner at the Edge Steak + Bar in the Four Seasons on Brickell
Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 07:00 PM
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Power will intoxicate the best hearts, as wine the strongest heads. No man is wise enough, nor good enough to be trusted with unlimited power.
Charles Caleb Colton
I will never forget the dinner we did in the back room at Cafe Maxx with Bernard de Laag from Chateau Palmer when we showed this great growth back to the legendary 1961 vintage. That night one of our wine drinking people brought a special treat, a second bottle of 1966 was added to the line-up which was stored in a cellar here in South Florida. We showed this wine right next to the one brought over by the Chateau to see if we could pick which one came directly from the winery. Almost everyone picked the 1966 Palmer that was stored here in South Florida as the one that come from the Chateau!
Margaux is one of the top appellations of the Medoc and although there is only one first growth in this region, they have 21 cru classé châteaux from the original 1855 classification. This is more than any other region of the left bank. The wines of the Margaux region seem to have an elegance and forward nature when compared to the other Medoc wines like Pauillac, St. Estephe and St. Julien. Maybe this is due to the high proportion of Merlot in the blend, Chateau Palmer was over 50% Merlot in 2009. The soil is the thinnest in the Médoc, with the highest proportion of gravel. This follows the general opinion that poor soil makes good wine and the gravel provides good drainage. The forest to the west of Margaux also shelters the vines from Atlantic breezes. Margaux contains 1413 hectares of vineyards, making it the second largest appellation in the Haut-Médoc after Saint-Estèphe.
There are many Bordeaux cognizanti who think that Chateau Palmer's quality is on par with that of the first growths but not much has changed since that original classification in 1855 except Chateau Mouton Rothschild being elevated to a first growth in 1973. Some of Palmers fans today would tell you it doesn't matter as most true Bordeaux aficionados recognize Palmer as one of the greatest Chateau in the Medoc regardless of its status as a 3rd growth, the current pricing is a reflection of this as it is among the most expensive wines in Bordeaux upon release, the 2010 futures offering is upwards of $400 per bottle!
Tonight we have several vintages of Chateau Palmer as well as an introduction to Chateau Palmer's 2nd label- Alter Ego. Chef Aaron Brooks has a special five course menu that he has paired with the wines and we have Jean-Louis Carbonnier coming from Chateau Palmer to introduce the wines and tell the story of Chateau Palmer. This special evening is priced at around 1/2 of the price of a single bottle of Chateau Palmer! There are only 20 seats available for this event and the price is $195 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463.
Chateau Palmer Dinner at the Edge Steak + Bar in the Four Seasons on Brickell
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Ployez-Jacquemart Champagne Brut NV
Price: $43.50 Sale $38.28 Case $444
This estate was founded in 1930 and they 3rd Generation is now in charge Laurence. They own 3 hectares of Pinot Noir grand cru and Pinot Meuiner premier cru and they are dealing with growers in the Cotes De Blanc, Premier and Grand Cru working with 8 year contracts and 12 different vineyards. This cuvee is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and 25% Chardonnay, mostly 2007 vintage, then some 2006 and 2005 in the blend, they also do a bit of Malolactic here. Has a note of coco and spice in the bouquet with 5.8 grams per liter of residual sugar and only the first pressing is used here. A good amount of apple and quince like fruit on the nose with a hint of white flowers. A good amount of tiny bubbles on the palate with excellent freshness and nice coco and ginger spice on the finish. Finish 40+ Excellent
Carpaccio of Lamb, Crispy Fried Sweet Breads, Plum Jam, Cress and Radish
Chateau Palmer Alter Ego Margaux 2008
Price: $129 Sale $113.52 Case $1316
(90 Points) This is a step up, with a level of glycerin that sets it apart from the pack, showing ripe, mouthfilling plum, fig and blackberry fruit laid over a nice graphite spine. Sweet tobacco and violet notes fill in on the lengthy finish. Drink now through 2016. 7,250 cases made. –JM Wine Spectator, Issue: Mar 31, 2011
Squab cooked in Hay, Sausage of the Leg and Foie Gras, Hibiscus Jus, Cauliflower Cream
Chateau Palmer Alter Ego Margaux 2005
Price: $139 Sale $122.32 Case $1418
(90 Points) This is another estate where the second wine has become better than the grand vin was 30 or 40 years ago. Administrator Thomas Duroux is especially proud of the 2005 Alter Ego de Palmer, which boasts abundant amounts of sweet berry fruit intermixed with notions of chocolate, charcoal, and black fruits. Soft tannins and a heady, opulent finish offer immediate appeal. Enjoy it over the next decade. Wine Advocate #176, Apr 2008
'Devils on Horseback' - Slow Cooked Birkshire Pork Belly, Drunken Prunes, Fried Egg, Toast
Chateau Palmer Margaux 2004
Price: $369 Sale $324.72 Case $3764
(94 Points) This stunning wine is one of the vintage’s great successes. Administrator Thomas Duroux has fashioned a modern day version of Palmer’s brilliant 1966. Displaying a rare combination of power and elegance, this dense purple-colored offering exhibits notes of blackberries, truffles, flowers, incense, and camphor. Long, classic, and medium to full-bodied with stunning texture and richness, this superb effort is a candidate for the finest Margaux of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2025+. Wine Advocate #171, Jun 2007
Chateau Palmer Margaux 2006
(93 Points) Coffee, plum and spices on the nose follow through to a full body, with lovely fruit and a soft, silky-textured finish. Very balanced and beautiful, with lots of violet, new wood and richness. Long. Needs time. Best after 2015. –JS Wine Spectator Issue: Mar 31, 2009
Aged Prime Creekstone Farms 'Cote de Bouef', Smoked Mashed Potatoes, Spinach Flan, Two Classic Sauces
Chateau Palmer Margaux 1996
Price: $450 Sale $396 Case $4590
(91 Points) This wine, a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, is performing well after its July, 1998 bottling. It boasts an impressively saturated purple color, in addition to a backward yet intense nose of black plums, currants, licorice, and smoke. Following terrific fruit on the attack, the wine's structure and tannin take over. There is plenty of sweet fruit, and the tannin is well-integrated, but the wine requires 7-8 years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2028. Wine Advocate #122, Apr 1999
Chateau Palmer Margaux 1995
Price: $336 Sale $295.68 Case $3427
(94 Points) Big and powerful, with loads of fruit and chewy tannins. Still just a baby. Full-bodied, with lots of structure and a long, long finish. Give it time.--'95/'96 Bordeaux retrospective. Best after 2010. 14,500 cases made. –JS Wine Spectator Issue: Web Only - 2007
Roasted Mission Fig Tart, Almond Cream, Tupelo Honey Ice Cream
2006 Chateau Lafaurie Peyraguey Sauternes
Price: $65.00 Sale $57.20
(92 Points) Shows botrytis spice, with lemon peel and dried apple aromas. Full-bodied, sweet and racy, with loads of spicy character and strong acidity. A serious Sauternes. Best after 2014. -JS Wine Spectator Issue: Mar 31, 2009
A bit about Chateau Palmer:
Connoisseurs have argued for the last three decades that Château Palmer is perhaps the greatest source of embarrassment to those who staunchly maintain the contemporary relevance of the 1855 Classification of the great châteaux of the Médoc. It was for the Exposition Universelle of Paris in that year that Bordeaux wine merchants and brokers gathered to classify the top Bordeaux châteaux into a quality classification system of five crus (often referred to as growths). Altogether, about sixty châteaux were classified; the top names - Lafite, Margaux, Latour etc. - have since become world famous. These elite châteaux were among a handful of properties accorded the status of premier cru; Château Palmer was classified a troisieme (3rd) cru. Today most close observers feel that Palmer's consistent high quality merits premier cru status.
Château Palmer's origins can be traced back to 1748 when it originated from a division of Château d'Issan and passed into the hands of the Gascq family who named it Château de Gascq. The château was purchased by Major General Charles Palmer, who arrived with Wellington's army and decided to settle in Bordeaux and invest money. Palmer renamed the château, and in the ensuing three decades it emerged as one of the great properties of the Médoc. However, General Palmer ran into financial trouble in the 1840's and was forced to sell the property. When the 1855 Classification was created, Château Palmer was mired in problems ensuing from a decade of neglect and financial troubles. That the château was classified even as high as a third growth was probably in deference to its former glories in the 1820's and 1830's and to its future prospects under the new order. During the 1850's the power and influence of the great bankers was at its zenith. In 1853 Nathaniel Rothschild bought Mouton; his rival, Isaac-Rodrigue Pereire, bought Palmer. The Pereire family invested great sums of money, built a magnificent château, and restored Palmer to its former glory. Palmer has been sold several times since, but continuity for the last century has been maintained continuously by several generations of the Chadron family which has actually managed the château. In the last three decades Palmer has risen to glorious heights; from 1961 up to 1978 it made better wine than its neighbor, the illustrious Château Margaux. However, since the resurgence of Margaux with the 1978 vintage, Palmer once again must play second fiddle in the commune of Margaux. Because of its price, quality, and reputation, Palmer occupies what many consider a unique position: in the minds of knowledgeable lovers of Bordeaux, the property is suspended in abeyance between the first and second growths. America's foremost authority on Bordeaux, Robert Parker, stated in his book, Bordeaux, that Château Palmer should be upgraded to a first growth and says that "Palmer can be every bit as profound as any of the first growths in vintages such as 1961, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1975, 1983, and 1989." One thing is for sure; Palmer is a third growth in name only.
Château Palmer combines the silky finesse of the best of Margaux with the richness of a Pomerol or Saint Émilion. The reason seems clear when one considers the very high percentage (40%) of Merlot in the blend. Also, Palmer has one of the longest skin contacts during fermentation; this explains the great color, extract, and considerable tannin in the wine when it is young and accounts for its uncanny ability to age as long as thirty or fourty years. Palmer is also noted for its penetrating bouquet, and Parker claims that he can spot a Palmer in blind tastings on nose alone. Palmer appeared to slip a little from 1980 through 1982. In fact, Palmer was the disappointment of the vintage in 1982 - it was good, but it should have been absolutely magnificent. This 1983 is a return to form and now appears to be one of the greatest two wines of the vintage (rivaled only by its neighbor, Château Margaux). The nose is intense with plummy, new oak aromas. On the palate the wine is fairly dense with exceptional complexity, finesse, and great depth of flavor.
The early nineties were trying times for Bordeaux, 1991, 1992 and for the most part 1993 produced wines of below average to good quality. Prices and demand for currant releases of Bordeaux disappeared and the market took a serious downward turn. Even in these sparse years, Palmer managed to turn out some very good to excellent wines, which were superb values as well. 1994 saw a break in the cloud that had hung over Bordeaux for the last few years and news of an above average vintage was abuzz. When the initial reviews for the 1995’s came out there was a buying frenzy, as the press deemed this vintage the best since 1990. The hook was fully into the mouth of the serious collector and prices began to skyrocket. Those who purchased these wines initially made a pretty penny reselling them a few months later and never actually touched the wines. 1995 is a true collectors vintage and of the last three vintages probably the most backward and age worthy. The 1996’s could give them a run for their money- but only time will tell. It appears that 1997 is a year for the drinker rather than the collector, as many wine writers have noted these wines offer immediate drinking pleasure.
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