Bought this bottle on Thursday, and decided to liberate it on Saturday. A bit of sediment in the bottle suggested decanting, so I did so about an hour before giving it a try. The cork was sound but remarkably difficult to remove and had an unbelievably dark bit of residue on its business end. Bouquet was not forthcoming, so I agitated the wine a little in the decanter by swirling it as if it were a glass. This helped a little, and some strong Cabernet started to come through, but without any of the notes I recalled as being typical of Margaux's AOC (earth, cedar, etc.). Sure enough, upon tasting the wine seemed to have lost a good bit of its fruit and was a little astringent. The best word I could come up with to describe it was "ungracious". My guess is that, even though the alcohol was just above 13%, Palmer attempted to make an over-extracted fruit-forward monster. Wines like that can be great to taste when young, but with some bottle age they can lose their appeal. Give me a wine with less manipulation in the processing every time. The wine certainly wasn't bad, but I wish I'd had it as a younger pup.
The Same But Different (Home): I "grew up" with wine when "chablis" was white swill by the glass at singles bars--yes I was single in the 70's. Later on, when I discovered Chablis (capitalized, no quotation marks), it was a revelation. This Montmains was paired with the 2010 Bessin Fourchaume. It was the lesser of the two wines, but not by much. It lacked some of the fullness in the middle that its competitor had. That said, it was a worthy reminder of how good Chardonnay-based wines can be if the fruit is allowed to express its location.
The Same But Different (Home): Paired with another 2010 Bessin 1er Cru, the Montmains. Classic Chablis backbone with slight floral notes. A little more earthy than the Montmains and in my opinion the better of the two by a hair.