Alter Ego > 2005

A drought of historic proportions and an outstanding vintage
Télécharger la fiche millésime
Characteristics of the vintage

No one in France can remember drought conditions of such magnitude over such a long period (57% less rainfall than usual), although temperatures were never as high as during the 2003 heat wave.

We carefully removed all the suckers – twice – as well as the side shoots in order to help the vines cope with reduced water consumption. This led to perfectly well-nourished grapes.

After excellent flowering in early June, summer was excessively dry. Just like many other great vintages, this called a halt to premature growth. Drought conditions had two major effects on the fruit:

- small berries, meaning very low yields

- gradual concentration of flavour compounds in the grapes, very promising in terms of quality

The grapes slowly reached phenolic maturity after a few showers in early September. Picking began on 22 September in plots of Merlot. The grapes were impressively ripe and healthy.

Starting with the first pumping over, the wine had a superb colour and filled the vat room with powerful aromas. The fact that the grapes were so ripe also facilitated alcoholic fermentation. In fact, this was the first time anyone had ever seen sugar levels of this magnitude. Picking of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot took place from 30 September to 7 October under clear, blue skies. Daily tasting throughout fermentation made it possible to achieve just the right degree of extraction and retain all the freshness and balance of this powerful, concentrated vintage.

Harvest dates: from 09/22/2005 to 10/07/2005


Merlot: 57%
Cabernet Sauvignon: 43%

Ageing potential



The dynamic bouquet combines power and complexity. The fruit is ripe and varied: blackcurrants, sour cherries, figs, plums and dates. Spices (vanilla, white pepper, and cinnamon) melt with roasted notes (mocha and coca), a few plants (tobacco and cedar) and delicate musky touches.

The attack is powerful and fruity and is favorably counterbalanced by the Growth's legendary freshness. The tannic structure isn't lacking for elegance as, not only is it present, it escorts the wine with all the grace of a flamboyant gothic style: a cathedral's rose window. Its length is ascending, flavorful, infinite…The wine is full-bodied, true, but never spoiling such supreme elegance.

Of course the vintage has, once again, spoken. Fortunately, it has been brought under control. This wine should be decanted two hours before serving. It will be at its peak between 2010 and 2025.

Press Review, Robert Parker, 06/29/2015
« The medium to dark ruby 2005 Alter Ego is a sexy, lush, up-front style of 2005, with loads of cedar wood, a fragrant and perfumed personality, and silky tannin. It is moderately endowed, but lusciously suave and seductive. Close to being an outstanding second wine, it will drink well for another 7-10 years. »

Le Grand Guide des Vins de France 2009, Bettane et Desseauve, 09/01/2008
« Superbe expression aromatique, avec des notes de violette rares dans le millésime, texture veloutée, tanin charmeur malgré l'intensité du corps et le niveau de l'alcool. Remarquable second vin. »

Bettane&Desseauve TAST Pro n°49, Michel Bettane et Thierry Desseauve, 08/01/2008
« Superbe expression aromatique avec des notes de violette rares
dans le millésime, texture veloutée, tannin charmeur malgré
l'intensité du corps et le niveau de l'alcool. Remarquable second
vin. »

International Wine Cellar, Stephen Tanzer, 04/01/2008
« Bright, deep ruby-red. Sweet, enticing aromas of redcurrant, plum, coffee and meat. This offers lovely sweetness in the mouth, with a terrific core of fruit and a captivating sugar/acid balance. Unusually dense for this second wine. Finishes long and firmly tannic, with plenty of lingering flavor. The best yet for this label.  »

The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker, 04/01/2008
« This is another estate where the second wine has become better than the grand vin was 30 or 40 years ago. Administrator Thomas Duroux is especially proud of the 2005 Alter Ego de Palmer, which boasts abundant amounts of sweet berry fruit intermixed with notions of chocolate, charcoal, and black fruits. Soft tannins and a heady, opulent finish offer immediate appeal. Enjoy it over the next decade. »

The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker, 04/01/2007
« Another example of a second wine that approaches a serious level of quality, the 2005 Alter Ego de Palmer exhibits a beautiful deep, plum/purple color as well as abundant amounts of sweet berry fruit interwoven with licorice and pain grille notes, and soft tannins. A lovely, opulent, sleeper selection that represents a high class vin gourmand, it should drink well for 10-15 years. »

Carnets de Dégustation, Jean-Marc Quarin, 04/01/2006
« Il y a dans le nez de ce vin et son entrée en bouche (pas la finale) quelque chose de commun au Palmer 2002 : la maturité, la pulpe, la suavité. Rond, il s'achève long et séveux. Très facile à boire.
14,2° d'alcool. Assemblage : 57% merlot et 43% cabernet sauvignon.  »

Decanter, Steven Spurrier, 04/01/2006
« Dense and fragrant small berry fruit, suave, concentrated yet balanced, lovely texture, poise and length.  »

Falstaff, Peter Moser, 04/01/2006
« Tiefdunkles Rubingranat, violette Reflexe, zarte Randaufhellung, in der Nase zarte rotbeerige Note, ein Hauch von Nougat, einladende Frucht. Am Gaumen seidig, hochelegant, feine reife Tannine, feinwürzig, delikate Frucht, bald antrinkbar, finessenreich, süße Kirschen im Abgang. »

GaultMillau, Jean-Michel Deluc, 04/01/2006
« Une impression soyeuse se dégage du vin, avec une jolie trame de fruits, cerise, cassis, fraise des bois. Le boisé est déjà bien intégré dans le vin, et apporte quelques notes épicées, sans écraser le tout. La majorité de merlot dans ce vin le rendra accessible plus rapidement. Le terroir et la classe du premier se retrouvent dans la profondeur du vin. Il évoluera plus vite. C'est là sa différence. »

International Wine Cellar, Stephen Tanzer, 04/01/2006
« Bright, deep ruby-red. Sweet, enticing aromas of redcurrant, plum, coffee and meat. This offers lovely sweetness in the mouth, with a terrific core of fruit and a captivating sugar/acid balance. Unusually dense for this second wine. Finishes long and firmly tannic, with plenty of lingering flavor. The best yet for this label. »

Les carnets de dégustation de J-Ch.Estève, J-Ch.Estève, 04/01/2006
« Alter Ego, le second vin, ou plutôt l'autre vin, 57% cabernet-sauvignon et 43% merlot est frais, avec des notes acidulées, un petit tanin gourmand, une bouche framboisée, et sera élevé en 40% de bois neuf ce qui devrait l'étoffer.  »

Mario Scheuermann & Michael Pronay, Mario Scheuermann & Michael Pronay, 04/01/2006
« Dunkles tiefes rubinviolett. Bleibt auch im Gegenlicht undurchsichtig. Nase verhalten, aber mit klarer, frischer Frucht. Am Gaumen eine geradezu betörende Süsse, rund, weich und opulent, dabei eine tadellose Struktur. Dieser Wein, der erfolgreich die Trumpfkarte Merlot (57 %) spielt, ist das pure Vergnügen mit seiner Kirsch- und Himbeersüsse, die aber durch eine kräftige Säure lebendig bleibt, und seinen reifen, weichen und schokoladigen Tanninen.  »

Revue du Vin de France, Bernard Burtschy, 04/01/2006
« Ample, avec des tanins gras et de la fraîcheur. »

Vinissime, Didier Romieux, 04/01/2006
« Joli nez, floral d'abord puis qui
évoque une soupe de fruits frais. Belle attaque, limpide, avant un développement
superbe dans une fraîcheur remarquable, beaucoup de fruit et des tannins très
jolis. Ce vin ne s'impose pas par sa densité, mais par son harmonie générale, sa
délicatesse, sa complexité. Si le prix est raisonnable il vaudra la peine de se le procurer car c'est un vin de vraie race !  »

Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Roger Voss, 04/01/2006
« Château Palmer's second wine is appropriately named. While the chateau wine has the opulence, this has delicacy and a grace that is immensely attractive.  », Berry Bros & Rudd Hong Kong, 04/01/2006
« Warm, rich and generous, it is unfair to see this merely as a baby version of the awesome Grand Vin. This has a personality all of its own – although retaining all of Palmer's famous velvety charm. It is a real vin de plaisir but with far more power and structure than usual. », Franck Dubourdieu, 04/01/2006
« Il affiche un style comparable au voisin immédiat, Pavillon Rouge, avec ce Merlot généreux en volume, en amplitude et bien sûr en fruit (caractéristique constante du millésime). La flaveur gourmande s'étale sur un tapis de tannins suaves et soyeux. S'il prétend séduire assez vite les amateurs de vins délicats (osons le terme de "féminins" trop souvent accolé, sans discernement, aux vins de cette appellation) il n'en fera pas moins un grand vin de garde », Izak Litwar, 04/01/2006
« Alter Ego was aromatic and with fine structure. », Jancis Robinson, 04/01/2006
« Dark crimson. Muted nose but opulent. More Merlot than in 04: 57 per cent rather than 50 per cent. Very opulent and worked and gentle on the palate with fine tannins and Margaux silkiness but no strong flavour. Texture rather than flavour impression at the moment. Quite a bit of alcohol on the finish plus velvety tannins. 14 per cent alcohol – so beware! (Second wine of Ch Palmer.)  », Lavinia France, 04/01/2006
« Alter Ego de Palmer a beau être le second vin du château, il n'en garde pas moins une très forte personnalité(57% merlot, 43% cabernet sauvignon). La robe est concentrée, le nez développe une belle richesse aromatique, l'attaque en bouche est chatoyante, le corps pulpeux, les tannins bien enrobés, la finale longue et fraiche. Bel équilibre.  », The Cellaret, 04/01/2006
« Alter Ego de Palmer The excellent second wine of Chateau Palmer, Alter Ego in 2005 has really come into its own. A very rich, deep and dark colour. Grilled meat and black fruit concentration, and a super-saturated, dense impression. The palate has rich ripe blueberries and perfumed violets, underlined by black liquorice. A big beast at 14% vol, but with the structure to handle it. Many other Cru Classe chateaux would be happy to have this as their grand vin! 53% Merlot and 43% Cabernet Sauvignon this year, and the Merlot was picked at unprecedented levels of ripeness and richness.  »

Wine Spectator, James Suckling, 03/01/2006
« Big and juicy with loads of blackberry and chocolate character. Full-bodied, velvety and long. This is almost New World in style. Serious. Voluptuous. »

VinVinoLife, Gregor Drescher, 12/01/2005
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BORDEAUX Aujourd'hui, Franck Dubourdieu, James Lawther et Christophe Tupinier, 11/30/-0001
« La maturité du fruit s'impose au nez avec des notes fruitées, florales... Le vin est généreux, gourmand, suave. Déjà un régal! », Neal Martin, 11/30/-0001
« Tasted single blind at Southwold. Very lifted nose with clean black fruits, boysenberry with slight charred oak coming through. The palate has good fruit concentration, fine tannins, well balanced with a clean, slightly peppery, liquorices finish and layers of rounded black fruit. A lot of oak now, but it will meld in time. Drink 2012-2020.  »