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)
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