This morning has seen the release of Chateau Palmer for £2,840, which needless to say is an extremely aggressive price. This marks a 31.5% sterling increase on last year. In 2016 Palmer is very fine indeed, awarded 95-97 points from the Wine Advocate and 99-100 points from James Suckling. If you love Palmer as a perennial the 2016 won’t disappoint. However, the price leaves no incentive to buy on release. The 97 point scoring 2005 trades today £2,550 and the 96 point scoring 2012 at £1,775.

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Chateau Palmer 2016, 12×75 – £2,840 EP

95-97 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Palmer is a blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Petit Verdot cropped at 29 hectoliters per hectare between 3 and 18 October. Matured in 65% new oak (my sample coming from a used barrel), the bouquet is perhaps not quite as intense as some of its peers and takes time to click into fifth gear. Eventually it offers tightly wound blackberry, briary and mineral scents; it is very focused, but maybe less extrovert and more classic in style compared to recent vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with a gentle grip on the entry, quite firm in the mouth with slightly tarry black fruit, hints of black truffle developing towards the finish that feels masculine and linear. It has very impressive length, completing what is an intellectual Palmer, one that I suspect will really blossom in bottle. 

99-100 Points, James Suckling
I wrote that the 2015 was incredible, and this 2016 is again. It’s equally structured and powerful as the 2015, yet there’s an underlying intellectual serenity to this wine. You taste it, and you want to know and experience it even more. Full and tannic yet ever so polished and beautiful. Mesmerizing. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. 

However, this morning saw the exciting release of Chateau Saint-Pierre for £545 per case of 12 bottles, or £272.50 per case of six, with a score of 94-96 points from Neal Martin, who states ‘This is a fantastic Saint Julien that may well rest at the top of my banded score.’ We can expect this to achieve 96 points or greater. St Pierre is a tantalising prospect, a very strong buy indeed; the 94 point scoring 2005 trades today at £800 per case. If you have not already, Saint-Pierre is an Estate to make a perennial purchase, especially in great vintages. It is a classified Fourth Growth which boasts magnificent terroir and an incredible winemaking team. It is the smallest classified Estate in Bordeaux, which only produces 5,000 cases a year.

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Chateau Saint-Pierre dates back to the 17th century, first planted in 1693. It was named eponymously after its owner Baron de Saint-Pierre, who bought the Estate in 1767. In 1982, Henri Martin purchased the Estate and sold off some of the vineyards to Ducru Beaucaillou and Gruaud Larose, which are its neighbours: this provides a sense of the majesty of terroir that was retained. Chateau Saint-Pierre is run by Alain Triaud and in 2016 it completed a huge renovation, which began in 2005 with a vision to turn Saint-Pierre into a St.Julien powerhouse, it has succeeded. Chateau Saint-Pierre is at the pinnacle of wine technological advancement, for example it was one of the first Estates to start using satellite imagery to help select the finest parcels.

The Estate is sited in the Beychevelle segment of St.Julien. It is planted with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The majority of Saint-Pierre’s vines are located close to the village of St.Julien and boast old vines, with many parcels 50 years old. The terroir here is predominantly gravel, sand and clay. It remains one of the few classified growths that does not produce a second wine. In 2016 the wines of St.Julien shine, they are the finest in years and Saint-Pierre has produced its ‘Best ever’ according to Suckling. We recommend this very highly.

Chateau Saint-Pierre 2016, 12×75 – £545 EP

94-96 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Chateau Saint-Pierre is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc picked between 29 September and 3 October for the Merlot and 5-17 October for the Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is matured is 50% new oak. The Cabernet comes through strongly on the nose as you would expect: quite intense black fruit, graphite and just a touch of dried herbs. There is lovely definition and focus on display. The palate is well balanced with grainy tannin, a crisp line of acidity, classic in style in keeping with the style of the vintage with very fine mineralité and tension towards the sprightly finish. It is one of the most Pauillac-like Château Saint-Pierres that I have tasted, a very well crafted, almost understated but sophisticated wine that will age for 20 to 30 years. This is a fantastic Saint Julien that may well rest at the top of my banded score.

94-95 Points, James Suckling
Blueberry, blackberry and fresh currant-leaf character. Full-bodied, refined, beautiful, dense and tight. Great depth. Best ever.

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