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1978 Palmer, Margaux

SKU #951067 92 points John Gilman

 The 1978 Palmer is aging very gracefully, and the slightly cooler fruit tones of the vintage really shine to advantage in combination with the terroir of Palmer. The nose on the ’78 is excellent, as it offers up a very classy mélange of mulberry, red cherry, tobacco leaf, a touch of petroleum jelly, cigar ash and a lovely base of soil. On the palate the wine is deep, full and complex, with a very tobaccoey personality (that recalls a state of several bottles of the ’66 tasted a decade ago), a most impressive core of fruit for a 1978 claret, and excellent length and grip on the modestly tannic and classy finish. I should note that I have tasted the ’78 Palmer twice in the last couple of months, with one bottle a bit tighter and bound up still, and this other bottle simply singing. The wide open bottle was a superb example of the vintage, while the more closed bottle I would judge simply needs a bit more time to sweeten up on the palate. The score reflects the bottle at its apogee. (Drink between 2007-2030)  (1/2008)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Tasted at the Château Palmer vertical in London from magnum, the 1978 Château Palmer has always been a great success for the vintage (mirroring the rejuvenated Château Margaux perhaps?). Here, it has a powerful, expressive nose with cedar, sous-bois and cigar-box scents interwoven into the vestiges of black fruit. This is "old school," perhaps the cousin of the magnificent 1966. The palate is medium-bodied and well balanced, hints of spice and cedar, a little dustiness perhaps towards the finish, but overall a convincing Margaux that has far more vigor and length than you would presume. While it is not a renowned vintage for Château Palmer, it's a wine I would jump upon if I found it for sale. Tasted May 2015. (NM)  (5/2016)

92 points Vinous

 The 1978 Palmer is a vintage that I have encountered several times, one of the best of that decade. Still youthful in colour considering it is now forty years old, the bouquet is winsome with dusky black fruit, black truffle, smoke and iris. As I remarked in previous notes, this is unashamedly old school. The palate is medium-bodied, fresh and vibrant with fine tannin. There is that spicy vein on the entry, here just a hint of blood orange and a slightly ferrous, cedar-driven finish. It is just a very well made mature Margaux that will not improve with bottle age, but neither is it duty bound to do so. A lovely wine. Tasted blind at Domaine de Chevalier. (AG)  (5/2018)

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Price: $449.99

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


Specific Appellation:


- Margaux is the southern most of all of the appellations of the Haut Medoc. Located near St. Julien, it has more cru classe producers than the other four villages of the area. In addition to the legendary Chateau Margaux, there are five second-growths: Rauzan Gassies, Rauzan Seglas, Dufort-Vivens, Lascombes, and Brane Cantenac. While more people are probably familiar with the third growth Chateau Palmer, there are nine other wineries with the same ranking in addition to a trio of fourth growths and a pair of fifth growths. Because Margaux is comprised of five communes… Margaux, Cantenac, Soussans, Labardes and Arsac, the wines styles are diverse throughout the region with the more masculine tannic wines coming from the Cantenac side of the appellation. Because of a high percentage of Merlot planted in the region, many wines from Margaux are more round, feminine, and exotic that the other appellations of the Haut Medoc.