ALTER EGO DE PALMER 2012
James Suckling93 points
Light (Light)Full (Full)
Low Tannin (Low Tannin)Tannic (Tannic)
Sweet (Sweet)Dry (Dry)
Low Acidity (Low Acidity)High Acidity (High Acidity)
Critic Scores & reviews
"This has incredible length for a second wine. Full body, with dark berry and raspberry character, ultra-fine tannins, and a long, long finish. Tiny grape yields for the vintage. 51% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Petit Verdot."
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Bordeaux has a rich history of winemaking, dating back to the Roman times. Today, it is known as one of the most significant wine regions in the world, with a reputation for producing complex, full-bodied red wines. The region is home to a diverse range of terroirs, each with its own unique microclimate, soil composition, and grape varieties.
The left bank of Bordeaux is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, which thrives in the region's gravelly soils. These wines tend to be bold, tannic, and complex, with notes of blackcurrant, cedar, and tobacco. On the right bank, Merlot is king, producing wines that are softer and fruitier, with notes of plum, cherry, and chocolate.
Aside from the red blends, Bordeaux is also renowned for its sweet wines, particularly from the Sauternes and Barsac appellations. These wines are made using a unique process that involves botrytis, or "noble rot," which concentrates the sugars in the grapes, resulting in a lusciously sweet and complex wine.
Bordeaux's classification system has evolved over time, with some estates moving up or down the ranks depending on the quality of their wines. Today, the system includes five growths, with Premier Cru being the highest and Deuxièmes Crus being the second-highest. There is also a separate classification for the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, with Chateau d’Yquem holding the highest rank.
Overall, Bordeaux is a region that continues to captivate wine enthusiasts around the world with its rich history, diverse terroirs, and exceptional wines.
Home to over 650 vineyards and spanning over 4,900 hectares, Bordeaux’s Médoc wine region comprises four of the most distinguished wine villages in the area: Saint-Estephe, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, and Margaux. The peninsula of Médoc is home to coastal lagoons, sand dunes, and pine forests. It is known to have formed into a peninsula over time as the Garonne and Dordogne rivers carried in large quantities of mineral rich silt and light reflective, well drained gravel, which turned out to be perfect for harvesting red wine grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The main aromas of the beautifully refined red wines from this area are: spices, oak, red fruit and vanilla.
The region of Médoc is divided into three areas: the Landes du Médoc, the Bas-Médoc, and the Haut-Médoc. The Landes du Médoc is located in the entire western half of the peninsula. Although there are no vineyards here, the land is still important because its pine trees protect the grape vines from the harsh cold winds blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean. The Bas-Médoc( lower-Médoc) runs downstream on the estuarine side of the peninsula. The wines produced here are usually more affordable than those produced in Haut-Médoc. Haut-Médoc (upper-Médoc) is the most well-known of the three sections. The wines produced here are some of the most expensive wines worldwide and were famously ranked in The Médoc Classification of 1855, which is to this day in use.
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About the brand Alter Ego
Palmer and its Alter Ego are two nuanced expressions of the Château Palmer terroir, two interpretations of the variations offered by the climatic conditions of the vintage. These variations can be likened, in music, to symphonic pieces and their jazz adaptations, in the visual arts, to a classic painting and a contemporary rendering of the same subject, and, in literature, to an epic narrative in alexandrine verse and a prose poem.
Alter Ego was born with the 1998 vintage. It resulted from a new approach to selecting and blending devised to interpret the Château Palmer terroir differently without departing from the values that make the reputation of our wines – namely, finesse and elegance, aromatic richness, harmony and length.
Offering intense, crispy and juicy fruits, Alter Ego is a spontaneous uninhibited wine, soft and round as soon as it has finished barrel ageing. Its lush aromas and supple tannins make it a wine that can be appreciated in the first years after bottling.