Friday, November 9, 2012

Château Palmer Vertical with Jean-Louis Carbonnier at Bistro Cacao in Washington DC, USA

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Josh Genderson, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, and Jean-Louis Carbonnier of Château Palmer at Château Palmer Vertical at Bistro Cacao in Washington DC

Schneider’s of Capitol Hill arranged a Château Palmer Vertical at Bistro Cacao in Washington DC.

Schneider's of Capitol Hill

Schneider’s of Capitol Hill is one of the leading wine retailers in Washington DC. It was founded in 1949 by the grandfather Max Schneider and father Abe Genderson of the current owners, Rick and Jon Genderson. “At the time there were only two employees; my grandmother Charlotte and my great-grandmother Ester. Today we have eight full-time consultants in the wine department alone” says , the son of Rick, who is in the process of taking over, making Schneider’s a fourth generation family business.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Rick Genderson, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, at Château Palmer Vertical at Bistro Cacao in Washington DC

Jean-Louis Carbonnier of Palmer

The wines were presented by Jean-Louis Carbonnier, who wears several hats. One is the hat of the President of Carbonnier Communications, a marketing and communications consultancy in New York City devoted to wine and wine producers. Among other things, Jean-Louis has built up a reputation as a leading Champagne expert in the United States. The other one is the hat of the US Manager of Palmer, which accounts now for more than half of his time, as Jean-Louis explained.

Bistro Cacao

The wine dinner took place at Bistro Cacao – an amazing place: Its interior is a charming agglomeration of wine bottles, French advertisements, and mismatched furniture, with a touch of a Parisian whorehouse, though a very classy one: bordello-red curtains, antique table lamps, and grandmotherly wing chairs. I must say that both my wife Annette and I felt very much at home (and back in Paris) at Bistro Cacao.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller with Chef Owner Kemal Deger at Bistro Cacao

Bistro Cacao is a partnership between long-time friends Kemal Deger, Harun and Yavuz Bolukbasi. The trio combines Chef Deger’s French culinary abilities and the Bolubaksi Brothers’ restaurant management experience. Chef Owner Kemal Deger trained under the renowned French Chefs Yannick Cam and Jean-Louis Palladin, and has worked in some of Washington’s most notable French and European restaurants.

Château Palmer

Château Palmer is a Troisième Cru en 1855, situated in the communes Margaux and Cantenac. Once a part of Château d'Issan, 50 hectares of vineyards came to the Gascq family -  an influential Bordeaux dynasty - in the late 1700s. These vineyards became Château de Gascq, which quickly established itself.

In 1814, the widow of the final Gascq heir sold the property to an Englishman, General Charles Palmer, who had had fought with Wellington against Napoleon. General Palmer gave it his own name and invested in the property over the following years, acquiring additional land and facilities. By 1831, Chateau Palmer had 82 hectares under vine, and had a reputation on a par with Château Margaux and Château Beychevelle. His political career and fortunes, however, began to falter and eventually Charles Palmer had no choice other than to sell off his assets, including Chateau Palmer. Charles Palmer died in London in 1851. Although his tenure of the estate was a relatively short one of just 29 years, he nevertheless left his mark; the property, vineyards and wine remain Château Palmer to this day.

From 1844 to 1853, Château Palmer was owned by the Caisse Hypothécaire de Paris. From 1853 to 1938, it was owned by the Péreire brothers Isaac and Emile Péreire, bankers and rivals of the Rothschilds.

In the 1930s, the Péreire family was forced to divest from Chateau Palmer and in 1938 a syndicate of the Sichel, Ginestet, Mialhe and Mähler-Besse families took control. Over the years, the Ginestet and Miailhe families have pulled out.

Today, the vines of Château Palmer cover a surface of 52 hectares located in Margaux and Cantenac, made up of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot.

The grand vin is Château Palmer; this sees up to 21 months in oak of which 45% is new. The second wine is Alter Ego de Palmer; this sees up to 17 months in oak, of which between 25-40% is new.

The production of the grand vin Château Palmer is 11,000 cases and of Alter Ego de Palmer 8,000 cases.

The Dinner

This was a very intimate dinner, with about 20 Chateau Palmer lovers sitting around one large table in one of the several rooms of Bistro Cacao. The food was very much French-classic.

Pictures: Jean-Louis Carbonnier of Château Palmer and  Josh Genderson, Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, before and during the Tasting


NV Jacquart Brut de Nominee (US$ 99.99)

Hors d’oeuvres

Crabe Cake
Sesam Salmon
Lamb Skewer


Caprese Salad – Fresh Mozzarella cheese and tomato

First Flight

2008 Alter Ergo (US$ 69.99)

52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Sauvignon,  
Bright and stony perfume on the nose, good structure, spicy on the palate, medium length.

2005 Alter Ergo

Notes of coffee, vanilla on the nose, lush medium bodied mouth feel with upfront dark fruit.


Terrine de fois gras – with toasted brioche black fig confit

Second Flight

2008 Palmer

51% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Petit Verdot.

Fresh and crunchy, bright and perfumed on the nose, the palate is dense and vigorous, a lovely, elegant wine

2005 Palmer (US$ 499.99)

Gorgeous notes of sweet, mature fruit, earth, mushrooms, and tobacco on the nose, elegant and refined, with tremendous purity and terrific persistence in the mouth, delightful.

2004 Palmer (US$ 149.99)

Merlot 47%, Cabernet Sauvignon 46%, Petit Verdot 7%.

Dense, stony fruit on the nose, coupled with some spices, soft on the palate with a nice acid structure, moderate length.


Filet Mignon Grille et Carre d’Agneau – with roasted asparagus, potatao gratin, port wine sauce

Third Flight

1995 Palmer (US$ 399.99)

Beautiful nose: tobacco, cedar wood, cigar box, cassis and forest floor notes, medium bodied, this wine is at its peak.

1982 Palmer (US$ 299.99)

48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot

Vital and elegant, sweet tones, cherries, cigar box and cedar wood in the nose, well balanced and mature on the palate.

1978 Palmer (US$ 219.99)

The nose points directly to a well mature Bordeaux: minty , herby with light earth, on the palate a bit short and light on the density and depth. Still very nice but best to drink this sooner than later.

Cheese Board

Comte, Petit Basque, Camembert

Dessert Wine

2005 Rieussec (US$ 74.99)

Apricots, honey and citrus on the nose, full bodied and lush on the palate.

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