Working at Majestic does allow one to experience some wines which others may not necessarily have the opportunity to try, or have the funds to trade up to and recently I had the pleasure of trying Alter Ego de Palmer 2004, the second wine of Château Palmer.
This wine defies the old preconceptions regarding early drinking as something which should be avoided when dealing with Bordeaux wines as it is a delight to consume now. However, if you have more will power than me, this would be an amazing wine in 5 to 10 years time too. This is the beauty of Alter Ego de Palmer 2004 as no further thought is necessarily required regarding storage or correct drinking age, unlike the first wines of Bordeaux which are generally purchased En Primeur and therefore come with storage requirements to keep them in a drinkable condition until they reach their optimum age.
The home of Château Palmer is in Margaux situated in the Médoc area of Bordeaux which benefits from a Maritime climate due to its proximity to the Atlantic sea. This prevents winter freeze in most years along with spring frost. The biggest risk to the vines in this area is grey rot due to the humidity of the area, something which is not favourable for red wines. This vintage is a steal as the weather was ideal in the area with little to no disruption to the normal growth cycle of the grapes therefore allowing the 2004 vintage to measure up nicely against the 2005 vintage which saw prices shoot up for the Bordeaux wines. The 2004 Alter Ego de Palmer is perfectly priced for a meal or event which requires something special without leaving a bad taste in your wallet.
Alter Ego de Palmer came to life in 1998 due to a change in the way the first wine was selected and blended, the batches selected are then barrel aged for 18 months. The 2004 vintage has a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon which can be distinguished both on the nose and the palate. On the nose this wine has sumptuous blackberry fruit, chocolate and with a hint of pencil lead and crushed black pepper showing real complexity. On the palate it has incredible balance and richness with a fabulous texture which is expected of a classic Bordeaux wine.
I have to confess that I am not normally a Bordeaux lover or actually that big on the red wine side of the business in general! I began with a love for sweet Rosé wines and have continued with this guilty pleasure and have added a reliance on German Riesling and full bodied oaky chardonnays to the mix. So for me to be bowled over by a red Bordeaux really was a feat of engineering! I think that this wine shows that paying that little bit more and accompanying it with a beautifully cooked steak, could turn even the hardened sweet wine lover into a Bordeaux aficionado.