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Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion Pessac Leognan 2005

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
  • WE94
  • RP92
  • WS90
0% ABV
  • RP94
  • WE92
  • JS92
  • WS91
  • RP94
  • WS90
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Winemaker Notes

Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a wine characteristic of its appellation, subtle, elegant, and well-suited for aging. Complex, aromatic, and perfectly balanced, it is the subject of increasing demand.

It is also a rare wine, with only 20,000 bottles produced each year. The progress of the last few years is evident : in expert tastings, Les Carmes Haut-Brion is consistently awarded top scores comparable with the greatest wines of the appellation.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
92-94 Barrel sample. A complete wine, rich and opulent. It has all the right balances of acidity, sweet fruits, black flavors and underlying dry tannins. Excellent.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A gorgeous effort from this tiny gem, the 2005 Les Carmes is their best wine since 1998 and 2000. Situated in a beautiful park behind Haut-Brion, this estate fashioned a deep ruby-colored 2005 boasting a brilliantly projected set of aromatics (kirsch, smoke, scorched earth, chocolate, leafy tobacco, and creosote). Its full body is somewhat unexpected given the aromatics’ delicacy and nuance. Zesty acidity, sweet tannin, and a light but substantial, classic, traditional style are found in this offering, which represents a synthesis in style between a grand cru Cote de Beaune Burgundy (such as a Corton) and a great Graves. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2028.
WS 90
Wine Spectator
Aromas of plum, chocolate and leather follow through to a full body, with a very good richness of fruit and a caressing, medium finish. Not overdone. Balanced and pretty. Best after 2011. 2,500 cases made.
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Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion

Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion

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Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, 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.

Pessac-Leognan

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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.

Bordeaux Blends

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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.

In the Glass

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. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

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 Secret

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.

CNC773281_2005 Item# 108807