Château Palmer may have been classified a Third Growth in 1855, but today it routinely challenges Château Margaux for best of the appellation status. This 'Super Second' has routinely picked up the slack in years that Margaux has fallen short.
The tradition of excellence here dates back to the Gascq family who had already established their wine on the Bordeaux market when Englishman General Charles Palmer purchased the estate in 1814. Palmer had made a name for himself serving under Wellington in the British army and sought to do the same for his vineyard, plowing resources into the estate. The wine was soon held in high esteem by the British elite, but the glory didn't last and Palmer lost his property to mismanagement. The estate passed to the Pereire family, who commissioned the construction of a Château modeled after the fairy tale-esque Château Pichon Baron. Today, descendants of the Sichel and Mahler-Besse families own Château Palmer. Overcoming numerous obstacles -- mildew and war among them -- they've elevated Palmer's reputation to its greatest height yet.
Château Palmer makes intensely perfumed, impeccably balanced, and undeniably mellow wine that also shows plenty of underlying muscle for aging. The wine is generally made with a higher than average contribution from Merlot (up to 40%), which calls for a more evenly planted vineyard. 55 hectares near the Gironde estuary are planted to 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. The Grand Vin, Château Palmer, is what raises the most eyebrows but there is also a great second wine, Alter Ego de Palmer.