Paloumey 2016: Elegance in the Médoc
—Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Paloumey is a small Bordeaux château located just between the classified growths La Lagune and Cantemerle. The estate produces classic Médoc wines of the best kind: straight, fresh, and pretty, exuding the cool-headed, gravelly confidence of Cabernet without resorting to bombast or sheen.
But listening to young winemaker Pierre Cazeneuve talk during a visit to Bordeaux in 2018, we could sense that he was interested in more than simply continuing tradition, and it was clear that Paloumey is a producer to follow.
Since taking the reins from his mother (Martine, who in 1990 reconstituted the estate) 5 years ago, Pierre has focused on improving the situation in vineyard, consulting friends like the legendary Thierry Germain and the cousins Vacheron for advice.
Immediately he moved toward sustainability, and soon Paloumey was on its way to organic certification. This shouldn’t be taken for granted in the sultry southern Médoc, where rot is a risk few producers will take chances with.
The winemaking also changed: less extraction and less new oak – more purity, more elegance.
Pierre has the whole deft-touch-in-the-cellar thing down already.
You can really see it in the 2016 Haut-Médoc, a wine that's absurdly inexpensive for how good it is. It’s set to age, but the pure, upright cassis-and-cherry fruit timbres are already shining through – this is what good Bordeaux is all about!
Still, this will be best with another 7-8 years of bottle age to melt the tannins. If you have the space and patience to set a case aside, you’ll feel like a genius when you pull this bottle out of your reasonable cellar.
"The 2016 Paloumey is a gorgeous Haut-Médoc. Sweet tobacco, licorice, iron, herbs and dried cherries are front and center. Aromatic, pliant and expressive, with plenty of Cabernet character dominating the flavor profile and tannin structure, the 2016 is a real winner. There is lovely depth and density here. This is a terrific showing."- 90 pts, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
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