The vineyard practices and winemaking are rather traditional. Vineyard: 1 by 1m spacing, 10,000 vines per hectare; rootstock – 3309 and Ripara. 8 buds per vine; luttee raisonnee; green harvest in July. They also employ Danish students for harvest and have 40 full-time employees.
Winemaking: triage; destem/light crush; ferment with selected yeast (F13) in cone-shaped stainless (49 different sizes) at 28-29C for 8-10 days alcoholic – 20 days total maceration. Delestage. ML in both tanks and barrel. Vertical press with 10-15% of pressed wine in gran vin. Age 21 months in 50-55% new oak (16 months in 25-30% new for 2nd label); medium to medium+ toast with 6 coopers. Top every 2 weeks for first 3 months; then every 3 months with racking. Fine in oak with 5 egg whites per barrel (boxed eggs); followed by 2 more rackings. Blend in February. Finish in June. Light filter before bottling.
We tasted 4 wines: 2001 Alter Ego Palmer – 67% merlot; ruby; nose of earth and violets; complex palate with leather and dark fruit. 2008 Alter Ego Palmer – opaque red-purple; bright grapey nose; ripe on palate with velvety tannins and moderate complexity. 2008 Chateau Palmer – 51% merlot; opaque red-purple with black depths; very floral nose with dark fruit and minerality; Concentrated; velvety tannins; long finish. 1996 Chateau Palmer – opaque dark garnet; secondary notes of truffle and leather; very fresh on the palate with great acid, coffee and dark fruit. Complex; very long finish. Yes!