Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017 Front Label
Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017 Front LabelChateau Les Carmes Haut Brion (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017 Front Bottle Shot

Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017

  • V96
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  • D94
  • JD94
  • TA94
  • RP93
  • WS92
750ML / 13.25% ABV
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750ML / 13.25% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Among the classic elegance of Pessac-Léognan, the Carmes top wine has carved out its own niche. Unprecedented proportions of Cabernet Franc offer a silky power which is then supported by the intensity of Cabernet Sauvignon. Within this structure, Merlot develops rounded and refined fruitiness: balance is the order of the day, ensuring a style that is complex and delicious in equal measures.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
V 96
Vinous
The 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is subtle and understated, but it’s all there. Lifted aromatics, bright, red-toned fruit and silky tannins add to the wine's brilliant, chiseled personality. I find the 2017 more precise and nuanced than in the recent past, with less overt power. It's hard to know exactly if the style of the 2017 is a result of the growing conditions of the year, or the result of an evolution in winemaking that includes the introduction of terra cotta, among other things. I certainly get the sense Guillaume Pouthier reined the wine back a bit in 2017. No matter. The end result is all that counts, and in 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is positively stellar. As always, the high percentage of Cabernet Franc and a healthy dollop of whole clusters give Les Carmes an explosive bouquet and plenty of saline-infused energy. A closing flourish of sweet red berry fruit, mint, rose petal and mocha leaves a lasting impression. The 2017 is not an obvious wine, but it sure is gorgeous. Don't miss it! Tasted two times. – Antonio Galloni
Barrel Sample: 93-96
JS 95
James Suckling
A tight and linear red with a firm and intense, pretty center palate of blackberry and wet-earth character. Full-bodied, reserved and focused. Really compacted.
Barrel Sample: 94-95
D 94
Decanter
This is rather gorgeous, with a real sense of climbing through the palate, expanding outwards and upwards as it goes, with high aromatics of peony and iris alongside touches of tight, cocoa-dusted black fruits and a sense of restrained power. A saline touch gives a mouthwatering finish. It opens up with time in the glass, and is hugely persistent. There is austerity, as you would expect with such high Cabernet levels, but the energy and flexibility to the tannins bodes extremely well for ageing. Budbreak happened on 12 March at Carmes Haut-Brion in 2017, highlighting just what an early vintage this was. When the frost arrived, it affected almost all of their second site out in Martillac, where they produce Le C de Carmes, while the vines around the main estate in Bordeaux were not impacted. The result is a wine that has clearly reached a good level of ripeness and is succulent in the mouth. They used 48% whole-bunch fermentation here, pretty much the same amount as last year - another clue to the ripeness of the stalks. 80% new oak (more than the last two years), with 30% of malolactic in barrels and the rest aged in 10% large Stockinger cask and 10% in amphora. This is a very good and will age well. Harvested 4-9 September (second wine not harvested until 19 September). 3.59pH.
Barrel Sample
JD 94
Jeb Dunnuck
Complex damp herbs, underbrush, exotic flowers and ample black fruits emerge from the 2017 Château Les Carmes Haut Brion, which is made by Guillaume Pouthier, who previously worked for Michel Chapoutier in the Northern Rhône Valley. A blend of 41% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, still aging in 65% new French oak, this medium to full-bodied, rounded, impressively concentrated red will need 3-4 years of bottle age yet keep for two decades. Tasted twice.
Barrel Sample 92-94+
TA 94
Tim Atkin
Very deep purple black colour. Inviting black fruit scents, some spices already – hints of coffee and toast. Rich and deep fruit flavours, with good acidity and freshness. Very good quality.
Barrel Sample: 92-94
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a little reticent to begin, opening up to fragrant notes of potpourri and oolong tea over a core of crushed red and black currants plus hints of violets, dark chocolate and cinnamon stick. Medium-bodied, it has an ambitious palate with firm, grainy tannins slightly masking the elegant fruit, finishing with good length though just a tad chewy.
Barrel Sample: 91-93+
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Fresh cherry compote flavors and a light cassis thread work together, picking up light savory and iron notes. Shows charming energy, with twinges of spice and tobacco through the finish. Pure, but a bit shy on stuffing in the end.
Barrel Sample: 89-92
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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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Pessac-Leognan Wine

Bordeaux, France

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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.

BANF422802_2017 Item# 422802

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