Château Palmer 2009
“Palmer can be as profound as many first growths, and in vintages such as … 1995, 2001, 2004 and 2005, it can be better than many of them.
“The style of Palmer is one of sensational fragrance and bouquet, so much so that great vintages can be identified in blind tastings by their smell alone. The wine’s texture is rich, often supple and lush, and the flavour is always deeply fruity and concentrated. Recent vintages have been formidable efforts…”
— Robert Parker
The cool, humid weather in early spring brought a rather late budburst and fairly slow vine growth. A hailstorm on 11 May hit the Palmer vineyard without affecting the harvest’s qualitative potential. With extremely mild, dry and sunny weather in June, flowering took place quickly and spread evenly. The bright, sunny summer that followed enhanced the qualitative potential.
It was a summer of no extremes: no destructive storms and no heat waves, just some moderate, sporadic rainfall. Under such favourable conditions, plant growth rapidly stopped and the véraison spread swiftly and well, like the flowering! Depending on the plots, the water supply became more and more limited. This made the vines suffer, developed berry concentration and made the potential quality of the fruit more and more promising.
September and October did nothing to dampen our hopes since the weather conditions were ideal for the ripening of the grapes and the harvest! By early September, the technical maturity had been reached (potential degree in alcohol of 13.5° to 14°), but the skins were still thick and the tannins needed time to soften. A long spell of fine weather gave us the time to taste the grapes every day and patiently monitor their development until they had the right velvety, silky texture.
Harvesting began 23 September for the earliest ripening Merlots. The grapes arriving in the vat room were magnificent: perfectly ripe, healthy, juicy and concentrated. Merlot harvesting continued without haste until 4 October. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were harvested between 2 and 14 October, and our Petit Verdots on 8 and 9 October. The yield, at 34 hl/ha, was very close to that of the 2005 vintage.
Although this very fine vintage gave us the leisure to harvest calmly, it caused our oenologists some anxiety! The grapes arrived in the winery at slightly higher temperatures than usual. The crops had to be cooled to make sure that the fermentation temperatures were well controlled. The extraordinary richness of the musts demanded constant monitoring by batch in order to precision-manage the extractions. These efforts were both encouraged and rewarded by the very high quality of the daily tastings: we were stunned by the freshness, density and finesse of the batches. This is a terroir vintage, in which each plot fully expresses its singularity and contributes thereby to blendings of very great complexity.
Château Palmer 2009
Notes and Reviews
Tim Aitkin (97)
A wine that is every bit as good as the brilliant 2005. This is a wonderfully balanced Palmer, despite some of the highest ever levels of tannin in the young wine, according to Thomas Duroux. Aromatic, plum and blackcurrant fruit, with silky yet plentiful Cabernet tannins, well-balanced oak and a silky finish. Deceptively forward, this is a wine for the long haul. 15 years.
|Grape Varieties||Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot|
|Age of Vines||35 years old|
|Vinification||28-30 days' fermentation in cone-shaped stainless-steel tanks.|
|Elevage||20-22 months' ageing in oak barrels (45% new oak)|
|Soil Type||Gunzian gravel, sand and clay underlay|