Ch. Les Carmes Haut Brion (Futures Pre-sale) 2012
Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Blend: 44% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon
Wine Spectator - "Juicy and direct, with solid plum, raspberry and bitter cherry notes pushed by woodspice, singed alder and charcoal. Nice range, and with a pleasantly chewy, grippy feel.
Barrel Sample: 90-93 Points"
James Suckling - "This shows amazing fruit with blackberries and licorice character. Smoky too. Full body, with wonderful fruit and tannins. Goes on for a very, very long time. 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. 92-93"
The Wine Advocate - "The 2012 seems to be a move in that direction. A blend of 44% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, it tips the scales at 14.1% alcohol. Only 53% of the crop made it into the grand vin as they have introduced a second wine called Les Clos des Carmes. The medium-bodied, fragrant 2012 Les Carmes Haut Brion offers lots of unsmoked cigar tobacco, red and black currant, scorched earth and toasty notes. This wine, which is now being looked after by Guillaume Pouthier, whom I met when working with Michel Chapoutier in Tain l'Hermitage, has considerable talent, so readers take note. This 2012 possesses impressive purity and density along with its tell-tale elegance and finesse. It should drink well for 10-15 years.
Barrel Sample: 89-91 Points"
International Wine Cellar - "Saturated ruby with purple highlights. Dark plum, blackberry, ink and minerals on the knockout nose. Silky and deep for 2012, but with no shortage of underlying structure. Quite full and complex, with sneaky concentration and building sweetness to the mineral, dark berry and floral flavors. Finishes with superb persistence, very fine tannins and a delicate herbal nuance. This is impressively silky for the year, and one of the best Les Carmes in memory, although I would have preferred just a little less alcohol. Les Carmes was purchased in December 2010 by Patrice Pichet, one of France's leading real estate developers, based in Bordeaux. At the time, the purchase price of 3.8 million Euros per hectare (18 million for the total property) set a new record for vineyard land in Bordeaux. Pichet is surrounded by talent: the régisseur is Guillaume Pouthier, recruited from Chapoutier, while Stéphane Derenoncourt and Simon Blanchard consult. Incidentally, the estate's second wine, Le Clos des Carmes, from younger vines on argilo-calcaire soils (as opposed to the graves of Les Carmes Haut-Brion), is also sweet and successful in 2012, and is one of the few second wines from this vintage that really deserves consumer attention.
Barrel Sample: 89-91 Points"
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Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion Winery
Shortly before he shuffled off his mortal coil, at the age of 101, Jean de Pontac, Lord of the Manor of Haut-Brion, considered he had to earn his seat in heaven.
In 1584, he therefore donated a water-mill, surrounded by meadows and wines, to the Carmelites of Haut-Brion.
The Friars kept the name "Haut-Brion" for 200 years, before common usage gradually changed it into "Carmes Haut-Brion".
It was bought at the beginning of the last century by Léon Colin, a wine negociant in Bordeaux and a direct ancestor of the current owners, the Chantecaille-Furt family. View all Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion Wines
About Pessac-LeognanView a map of Pessac-Leognan wineries (PEH-sak lay-ohn-yawn)
One of the top appellations within Graves, Pessac-Léognan is home to the only Graves chateau listed as a first growth in the 1855 Médoc classification – Chateau Haut-Brion. In fact, praise for the chateau dates back to the days of Thomas Jefferson, when, upon visiting the chateau in 1787, he bought 125 bottles for his cellar in Virginia.
The majority of wines made here are red, but Pessac-Léognan is also known for producing some of the finest dry white wines of Bordeaux. Many of the top chateau, like Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau Mission Haut Brion, produce top-quality whites alongside their red. Other Chateaux, like Smith Haut Lafite and Carbonnieux, are better known for their distinguished white wines than reds. Both colors of wine from this region have the specific tastes of the gravelly soil where it's grown.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.