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Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion 2016

  • JD99
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  • JS97
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  • WS96
  • RP95
  • CG94
750ML / 13.8% ABV
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750ML / 13.8% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Blend: 41% Cabernet Franc, 39% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

Critical Acclaim

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JD 99
Jeb Dunnuck
Readers looking for the next superstar in Bordeaux need to jump on the bandwagon of Les Carmes Haut-Brion, who have produced one of the wines of the vintage in 2016. The 2016 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion checks in as a blend of 41% Cabernet Franc, 39% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon that hit 13.8% natural alcohol and spent 22 months in 65% new French oak. Its deep purple color is followed by a complex bouquet of high-class smoke tobacco, decaying flowers, charcoal, gravelly minerality and loads of sweet black and blue fruit. Possessing full-bodied richness, flawless integration of its acidity, fruit, and ultra-fine tannins, and a blockbuster finish, this is another 2016 that possess both power and elegance. Do your best to hide bottles for 5-7 years and it will keep for 3-4 decades. Don’t miss it. Tasted twice.
V 98
Vinous
The 2016 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is very clearly one of the wines of the vintage. Breathtaking in its beauty, the 2016 soars from the glass with stunning aromatic and flavor intensity. Red cherry jam, wild flowers, mint, blood orange and sage are some of many notes that develop. In the glass, the 2016 is a vivid, statuesque, exotic wine that takes over all the senses as it delivers tons of pure pleasure. Readers should plan on cellaring the 2016 for at least a few years, but that will be virtually impossible. The 2016 is a towering masterpiece from Les Carmes Haut-Brion and Technical Director Guillaume Pouthier. Tasted three times.
JS 97
James Suckling
Terrific ripeness, depth and complexity on offer here. This has a very attractive array of bright, ripe blueberries and cassis with some leafy and earthy notes. The palate has a quite deep, long and vibrant array of perfectly ripe dark plums and blueberries. So good. Best vintage this decade. Try from 2023.
D 96
Decanter
With 51% whole-bunch fermentation for the Cabernet Franc and Merlot, this is the highest proportion in this wine. This is just gorgeous, with a beautiful sweetness on the attack from ripe fruit and a touch of smoked caramel. It really rises through the palate, gripped by liquorice, hazelnut, dark chocolate and black cherry fruits that ripple through the palate. I loved this wine En primeur and it is absolutely living up to its billing. It has an IPT of 90, but the tannins are full of life, yielding in just the right places while still confident and keeping everything in line.Great persistency too. 3.49pH. 80% new oak, 10% Stockinger and 10% amphoras.
WS 96
Wine Spectator

This offers alluring waves of ganache-tinged plum sauce, blackberry reduction and steeped açaí fruit flavors, while tobacco and singed mesquite notes hang in the background. Shows a lovely bramble echo through the finish, with the fruit easily keeping pace. This has range, distinctive mouthfeel and serious length. There's a new player officially in the Pessac game... Best from 2023 through 2038.

RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a blend of 41% Cabernet Franc, 39% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 65% new and 35% one-year-old oak for 22 months. This is one of the largest percentages of Cabernet Franc for this wine this vintage. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it gives notes of kirsch, black raspberries and black plums with touches of cassis, violets, chocolate box and pencil shavings. The palate is medium-bodied, firm, grainy and lively with loads of layers and a long, well-poised finish.
Rating: 95+
CG 94
Connoisseurs' Guide

Here is an impressively layered offering that is already showing considerable richness and range as well as a great deal of fruity substance and stuffing. Its concentrated aromas of blackcurrants, rich oak and sweet loamy soil are lightly accented by a touch of dark chocolate, all of which are elements that come through without hesitation in its terrifically long flavors, and, if a wine of significant promise, the wine shows beautifully now and cellaring it away for the half-dozen years it minimally deserves will prove to be no easy task.

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Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion

Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion

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Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion, France
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.

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Recognized for its superior reds as well as whites, Pessac-Léognan on the Left Bank claims classified growths for both—making it quite unique in comparison to its neighboring Médoc properties.

Pessac’s Chateau Haut-Brion, the only first growth located outside of the Médoc, is said to have been the first to conceptualize fine red wine in Bordeaux back in the late 1600s. The estate, along with its high-esteemed neighbors, La Mission Haut-Brion, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pique-Caillou and Chateau Pape-Clément are today all but enveloped by the city of Bordeaux. The rest of the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan are in clearings of heavily forested area or abutting dense suburbs.

Arid sand and gravel on top of clay and limestone make the area unique and conducive to growing Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc as well as the grapes in the usual Left Bank red recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and miniscule percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The best reds will show great force and finesse with inky blue and black fruit, mushroom, forest, tobacco, iodine and a smooth and intriguing texture.

Its best whites show complexity, longevity and no lack of exotic twists on citrus, tropical and stone fruit with pronounced floral and spice characteristics.

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends

Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.

Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

JOAF257397_2016 Item# 257397

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