The 1971 Palmer is a wine that I had enjoyed on several occasions and it remains one of the unheralded surprise packages on the Left Bank. This bottle reinforced that view so I will repeat my acclaim from my previous encounters...what an outstanding Margaux! Even after 45 years there is impressive fruit concentration on the nose, this example perhaps less Pauillac-like than the one in 2012, more rounded and generous with black fruit, sous-bois, bay leaf and thyme emerging from the glass. The palate is more generous than I have found in previous bottles and it is patently approaching the final furlongs of its drinking plateau. Yet, it is fresh and lively with vivacious red cherries and raspberry scents intermingling with subtle blue fruits. It is the vitality that really singles out this Palmer, one of the few 1971s that dares towards opulence, though it never gets carried away. Of course, provenance is important at this age, but get an example like this and you will be in for a big surprise that unquestionably leaves the under-performing 1971 Château Margaux far behind. (NM)
The 1971 vintage of Palmer has always been a very silky, seductive example of the property and the wine has drunk beautifully since the early 1990s. In our August lineup, this was probably the only wine (along with the Haut-Bailly) where one could sense a bit lower level of acidity than the others in the tasting, but it was far from “acid deficient” as the vintage had been labeled in the distant past. The wine is all suave silkiness on the palate and beautifully perfumed on the nose, offering up a bouquet of black cherries, mulberries, cigar ash, a nice touch of spices meats, dark soil tones, a hint of sweet bell pepper and a nice touch of blood orange poking out in the upper register with a bit of extended aeration. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish and velvety, with a good core, melted tannins and lovely focus and grip on the pure and complex finish. This is a lovely bottle. (Drink between 2017-2030)
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