Alter Ego > 2004

A top-flight classic vintage
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Characteristics of the vintage

Unlike the previous 2 vintages, the weather in 2004 was ideal without any excesses. Nothing disturbed the vines' normal growth cycle.

Summer started after a slightly rainy month of June. Even flowering with no shot berries was followed by moderate summer temperatures that slowed and lengthened the ripening process. The grapes developed slowly and evenly, ripening perfectly thanks to dry, sunny weather in September that also made it possible to wait patiently until each plot reached its peak.

The grapes fermented gently for an average of 21 days. In certain cases, the emphasis was placed on extraction early in the vatting period to express all the fruit and richness of the grapes, while in other cases, long skin contact was preferred to enhance the wine's power. Compared to the 2003s, the 2004 vintage is more classically Bordeaux, offering a magnificent combination of all the elegance and finesse of our terroir with the richness and power of a very great year.

Harvest dates: from 09/27/2004 to 10/12/2004


Merlot: 50%
Cabernet Sauvignon: 50%

Ageing potential



A brilliant and deep ruby color.
Without wasting time, this bouquet explodes with black fruits (blackcurrants, blackberries, and Ente plums), spearmint, cardamom, vanilla, musk, smoke and moss. After aeration licorice notes appear.

It opens with a crisp and ripe fruitiness and, instantly, is accompanied by freshness. The elegant tannins impose a solid foundation yet are softened by the fruit's mellowness. It all quickly comes together to make for an admirable harmony. With great pleasure the wine continues its soft and serene progression for a long and flavorsome finish.
Restraint above all, this is what this very classic 2004 offers us. Here, the terroir of Margaux is exemplary and promises to remain so for a long time to come. This wine should be at its height between 2009 and 2020.

Press Review

Chronique n°100, Jean-Marc QUARIN, 07/15/2010
« Vin délicieux à servir en ce moment. Le nez présente une note légèrement feuillue, rappelant les Palmer d'antan. La bouche se présente allongée et sans faiblesse, avec une heureuse présence en finale. Je l'ai goûté au château avec une heure de décantation. A boire et avant 2015.  »

Decanter, Julian Hitner, 01/11/2010
« Brilliant, dark-opaque ruby colour. Toasty, with inviting scents of raspberried black currants and mocha (typical youthful Margaux aromatics -- at least for me), earthy plums, graphite, vanilla, and spice. Delightfully complex and clean, boasting beautiful fruit, fine tannins, balanced acidity, ending with a lovely, lingering hint of (slightly)
raspberried currants on the finish. Very impressive, balanced, and indisputably stylish. Now-2016. »

The Guardian, Victoria MOORE, 03/28/2009
« Château Palmer Alter Ego 2004, Margaux was the most self-possessed and complete of the five. Sometimes that Margaux perfume feels like someone's got overenthusiastic with the aftershave. This was artfully, subtly fragranced, with delicate power and ageing potential. So I drank it. »

La Revue du Vin de France, Roberto Petronio & Antoine Gerbelle, 11/01/2006
« Un superbe éclat de fruit et une grande densité de bouche caractérisent ce vin digne de son terroir. L'élevage est très bien maîtrisé. Il devrait encore évoluer sur quelques années. »

Carnets de Dégustation, Jean-Marc Quarin, 09/01/2006
« C'est un vin gorgé de fruits mûrs et frais, qui évolue en bouche et éclatant de fruit sur une bonne densité. L'équilibre est excellent. Son fruité m'évoque la Bourgogne, mais il possède juste assez de tanins en finale pour penser encore que l'on est à Bordeaux.  », Robert Parker, 06/01/2006
« The tasty 2004 Alter Ego may turn out to be outstanding. This brilliant effort boasts a deep ruby/purple color as well as abundant amounts of black currant, chocolate, licorice, and espresso characteristics »

Wine Spectator, J-S, 05/01/2005
« A lovely, silky wine, with blackberry and cherry and hints of cassis. Medium to full-bodied, with good tannins and freshness.  »

Carnets de dégustation, Jean-Marc Quarin, 04/01/2005
« Il est intéressant de remarquer que les analyses sont identiques entre Alter Ego et Palmer et, pourtant, ce n'est pas le même vin ! Le nez est très aromatique. En bouche, voici un Alter Ego structuré mais aussi fruité, gras et superbement bien équilibré qui compte parmi les réussites de cette marque. Bonne longueur séveuse.


Decanter, 04/01/2005
« Fine deep colour, very fragrant nose, beautiful extraction of ripe Merlot/Cabernet fruit, smooth and elegant and more personality than usual in a second wine. »

International Wine Cellar, Stephen Tanzer, 04/01/2005
« (Duroux describes this as "the other wine of Palmer," rather than as a true second wine) Bright red-ruby. Aromas of boysenberry, bitter chocolate and minerals. Sweet, juicy, pure and sharply delineated, with supple dark berry flavors dominating. Finishes with rather suave tannins and excellent length. Vinification here is aimed at highlighting upfront fruit. This should be delicious with a few years of bottle age.  »

Sovinat, Jean-Christophe Estève, 04/01/2005
« Un vin bien parfumé, gras, rond, avec une note d'épices, un vin de bouche plus que de tête.  »

Uktimate Wine, Marco Correia, 04/01/2005
« A 50% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon blend, with dark ruby/purple shades and a nose that exudes notes of loganberries, Bing cherries, espresso, and damped earth. Medium-bodied, it possesses good density, ostentatious adherence, and lovely viscosity. The finish reveals good concentration and ripe tannin. »

Vinifera, Jacques Perrin, 04/01/2005
« Belle robe soutenue. Le nez est très fin, fruité et floral à la fois. La bouche est d'une grande élégance et son fruité croquant ainsi que sa texture satinée sont quasi irrésistibles. une très jolie réussite et sans doute un superbe rapport prix/plaisir. Un des meilleurs "seconds vins", pardon ... Alter Ego »

Weinwirtschaft, Harald Ecker, 04/01/2005
« gefällig fructig; aromatisch und appetitlich; lieblich; feine Frische; seidige, dichte Tannine mit zartherbem Abgang; fast bereits trinkbar; mehr als ein Zweitwein von Palmer  », Franck Dubourdieu, 04/01/2005
« Second vin du Château Palmer: 45% de la récolte; 50% CS, 50% M; 40% bois neuf. Nez réservé, fin. La bouche exprime une autre facette de ce millésime, plus suave, plus avenante que le grand vin mais toujours avec ce surplus d'âme des grands terroirs. De millésime en millésime, Alter Ego s'affirme comme un second vin très recommandable. », Jancis Robinson MW, 04/01/2005
« Dark crimson with a shaded rim. Very lively, finely oaked nose. Lovely fragrance. Quite integrated. Very fresh but classic. Only the merest suggestion of inkiness. Very good success for this earlier-styled wine. Neat, dry finish for this 50:50 Cabernet Sauvignon:Merlot wine which has been made every year since 1998. [This year the team, now headed by Thomas Duroux ex Ornellaia, ‘tried to build the wine from the harvest' rather than presumably using it for the offcuts. This meant different extraction techniques, a very light cold soak, shorter post-fermentation maceration and cooler fermentation temperatures.]  »