CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VINTAGE
This extraordinary vintage was characterised by several periods of very hot weather, with temperatures reaching 40°C and higher in June, July, and August. Such long-lasting, extremely hot weather broke records going back 150 years. Although the overall level of rainfall was low, and this dryness accentuated the effects of the heat, 2003 will be remembered above all for its tropical summer temperatures. This resulted in a low yield of small grapes with thick skins. The 2003 harvest was the earliest in 60 years, with the exception of 1989. The harvest started with Merlot grapes on 8th September, followed by Cabernet on the 16th, and finished with Petit
Verdot on the 20th. Fermentation was conducted with the greatest of care because of the high degree of ripeness and
sugar levels in the Merlot grapes. Relatively short maceration (17 days) made it possible to retain the wines' freshness and balance.
They were full of charm, with good body and very ripe fruit from the very beginning. Despite the heat wave, the 2003 wines of Château Palmer reflect their prestigious terroir and will undoubtedly reveal the exceptional quality of this vintage over time.
Tasting notes from Enrico Bernardo, 12/01/2011: Ruby-red colour with garnet-red highlights indicating that the wine is starting to show its age. Candied fruit such as plums on the nose, as well as cherries in brandy and black pepper. Oak well-integrated with the wine's Mediterranean character. Round, generous, and not very tannic on the palate, with little acidity. Resolved, pleasant, and perhaps just past its peak
Tasting notes from Georges Lepré, 02/04/2009: Deep purple color. Warm nose of macerated blackberries, fig, cacao, sweet spices, roasted coffee, caramel, peony, leather, and smoke. Full-bodied and generous in the mouth with opulent fruit and soft ripe tannins, the wine becomes round and fleshy yet retains a welcome tenacious freshness. The balance is there right through to the finish that never ends. The richness of the vintage does not in any way take away from the breed of the terroir. Bottle needs to be cellared for a few years. Probable peak: 2012-2030.
VARIETIES IN THE FINAL BLEND
Cabernet Sauvignon: 68%, Merlot: 20%, Petit Verdot: 12%