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Château les Carmes Haut-Brion 2018

There's no one quite like Guillaume Pouthier. Pessac’s warmer climate allows him to use whole bunches (52% this year), and the wine is aged in new oak (75%), large oak (16%) and terracotta (9%). He prefers to age reductively. The result is unique but fabulous: a ripe but exceedingly floral nose, and brilliant vivacity with an almost tapenade note on the palate. For all the ripeness, the tannins are very positive but absolutely correct for the wine. Really impressive.

Blend: 37% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot

Vintage: 2018
Grape Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot

Produced by Château Les Carmes Haut Brion

The core of this property is a five hectare vineyard, the only one with an address in Bordeaux itself, Carmes Haut Brion (although neighbouring Haut Brion and co. in Pessac). The little vineyard of Carmes HB, with a dominance of Cabernet Franc - very rare in the area - is planted at a high density of ten thousand vines per hectare. It was once part of Haut Brion, but was given by its owner to an order of nuns, the 'Carmes Blanc', hence the name.

When it was bought by property developer Patrice Pichet in 2010, the vat room consisted of three huge vats, one for each grape variety. Since then the vineyard has been completely restructured, and a new winery has been built.

Learn more about Château Les Carmes Haut Brion

Tasting Notes

The 2018 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is composed of 37% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Merlot. It was made using 52% whole cluster and has 13.75% alcohol. It was aged in 75% new oak barriques, 16% foudres and 9% amphorae. Deep garnet-purple in color, it needs a little coaxing before bursting from the glass with vibrant scents blackberry preserves, redcurrant jelly, mulberries and Black Forest cake, leading to an undercurrent of pencil lead, black truffles, cast-iron pan and charcoal with an emerging waft of violets. The elegantly crafted, medium-bodied palate dances with red and black fruits before bursting into earth and mineral sparks. It has a sturdy frame of firm, grainy tannins and bags of freshness, finishing long and savory. The stem tannins lend this wine a firmness and textural interest, which should integrate further with another 5-6 years in barrel, allowing the nuances to shine through even more, then you can continue to enjoy its slow evolution for a further 30+ years. 2026 - 2056.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, March 2021


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