The 1978 Palmer is aging very gracefully, and the slightly cooler fruit tones of the vintage really shine to advantage in combination with the terroir of Palmer. The nose on the ’78 is excellent, as it offers up a very classy mélange of mulberry, red cherry, tobacco leaf, a touch of petroleum jelly, cigar ash and a lovely base of soil. On the palate the wine is deep, full and complex, with a very tobaccoey personality (that recalls a state of several bottles of the ’66 tasted a decade ago), a most impressive core of fruit for a 1978 claret, and excellent length and grip on the modestly tannic and classy finish. I should note that I have tasted the ’78 Palmer twice in the last couple of months, with one bottle a bit tighter and bound up still, and this other bottle simply singing. The wide open bottle was a superb example of the vintage, while the more closed bottle I would judge simply needs a bit more time to sweeten up on the palate. The score reflects the bottle at its apogee. (Drink between 2007-2030)
Tasted at the Château Palmer vertical in London from magnum, the 1978 Château Palmer has always been a great success for the vintage (mirroring the rejuvenated Château Margaux perhaps?). Here, it has a powerful, expressive nose with cedar, sous-bois and cigar-box scents interwoven into the vestiges of black fruit. This is "old school," perhaps the cousin of the magnificent 1966. The palate is medium-bodied and well balanced, hints of spice and cedar, a little dustiness perhaps towards the finish, but overall a convincing Margaux that has far more vigor and length than you would presume. While it is not a renowned vintage for Château Palmer, it's a wine I would jump upon if I found it for sale. Tasted May 2015. (NM)
The 1978 Palmer is a vintage that I have encountered several times, one of the best of that decade. Still youthful in colour considering it is now forty years old, the bouquet is winsome with dusky black fruit, black truffle, smoke and iris. As I remarked in previous notes, this is unashamedly old school. The palate is medium-bodied, fresh and vibrant with fine tannin. There is that spicy vein on the entry, here just a hint of blood orange and a slightly ferrous, cedar-driven finish. It is just a very well made mature Margaux that will not improve with bottle age, but neither is it duty bound to do so. A lovely wine. Tasted blind at Domaine de Chevalier. (AG)
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