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Bordeaux 2013: Thomas Duroux, Palmer

Having finished at Montrose, a visit which included a tasting of the 2011s which showed remarkably well considering the vintage, it was onwards to Château Palmer. I spent a few minutes chatting with several members of the Palmer team before Thomas Duroux arrived.

Thomas pulled the cork on the 2011 Château Palmer and 2011 Alter Ego de Palmer, while we got to grips with the growing season this year.

Me: Please tell me about the 2013 vintage and harvest.

Thomas: Spring was very difficult; the flowering began in early June, but the weather was cooler than expected, with temperatures two degrees below the norm, and there was rain too. There was a lot of rain during the first half of the year, and so the vines were already several weeks behind schedule, and this poor weather in June further compounded the problem. The flowering was drawn-out as a result. There were difficulties with coulure as a result, leading to reduced yields in this vintage.

Thomas Duroux, Château Palmer, October 2013

This has been a vintage which required a lot of work in the vineyard to succeed. We carried out an extensive green harvest in July. When it came to harvesting, we began on September 27th with the Merlots, and we had finished everything by October 11th. The yields are very low again at Palmer, in the order of 25 hl/ha. Obviously this varies a little according to variety and age of vine, but this is the overall figure.

It seems to me that here at Palmer, as elsewhere, there will be a strict selection in this vintage, and a very small volume of grand vin produced, rather akin to what was done in 2011. If the wine of 2013 is comparable to that of 2011, one of the top wines of the vintage, then it will be worth it. More on this in my Bordeaux 2011 tasting report to be published next week.

I left Palmer in something of a flustered rush, with just 40 minutes to make my way round the Rocade before my appointment at Château Haut-Brion. Will I make it? Tune in next time…..

These early Bordeaux 2013 reports are essentially funded by Winedoctor subscribers, the first purpose of this latest trip to Bordeaux having been to taste 2011s for a forthcoming report on that vintage. If you find these reports interesting, please consider taking out a subscription to Winedoctor.

One Response to “Bordeaux 2013: Thomas Duroux, Palmer”

  1. Thanks Chris. I was beginning to wonder if we had seen the last of the 2013 “horse’s mouth” reports but I see we need not have worried. It seems to me that – accepting one or two dissenting comments here and there – the story of the vintage so far is clear. Possibly low quality, certainly low yields. And perhaps high prices as a result of the latter, or maybe both?

    Looking forward to subsequent reports.