Bordeaux's Chteau Palmer, a prominent third-growth estate in Margaux, has unveiled a new second wine: Alter Ego de Palmer. It replaces RHserve du GHnHral, Palmer's former second wine.
While RHserve du GHnHral was simply composed of declassified barrels of Palmer, Alter Ego undergoes a stricter selection to retain more of the Palmer style. Bernard de Laage de Meux, Palmer's development and marketing manager, said that Alter Ego reflects the overall improvements at the property, including the 1995 cellar renovations, which allow each of Palmer's 41 vineyard plots to be vinified separately.
In January, following the harvest, winemaking staff members make selections from different barrels of wine. The best lots go into the grand vin; early-maturing lots that have the Palmer character now go into Alter Ego. "The most important point is that our wines express the character and personality of the terroir," said de Meux.
About 9,000 cases of Alter Ego de Palmer Margaux 1998 (not yet rated by Wine Spectator) were made. The wine will sell for about $50 per bottle. In contrast, a Chteau Palmer m96 costs about $140 per bottle. With an average annual production of 12,000 cases, Franck Mahler-Besse, a shareholder in Palmer, noted, "Compared to 10 years ago, the production of Chteau Palmer today is [about] half."
Check out recent ratings of Chteau Palmer.