Les Carmes Haut Brion
Les Carmes Haut Brion
WA 96: The 2019 Les Carmes Haut-Brion has turned out very well in bottle. Mingling aromas of plums and cassis with notions of blood orange, warm spices and new oak, it's full-bodied, velvety and seamless, with an ample core of bright, succulent fruit that's framed by an elegantly muscular chassis of ripe, powdery tannins and lively acids. Concluding with a long, expansive finish, it's reminiscent of a more giving, extroverted version of Pouthier's superb 2016. As is now the rule at this address, some whole bunches were retained during maceration, and the wine saw a long élevage in a variety of vessels, from classic 225-liter Bordeaux barriques to foudres and amphorae. The blend is dominated by 42% Cabernet Franc, complemented by 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Merlot.
JS 97: What a great nose with such complexity of blackberry, forest floor, mushroom and bark. Like walking in a deep forest. Full-bodied with a dense palate, yet it remains energetic and focused. Very fine texture. Flavorful finish. Extremely persistent. Fantastic young 2019.
WA 95+: 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 vintage represents one of the largest percentages of Cabernet Franc for this wine. 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.
JS 97: 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.
WA 91: The 2014 Les Carmes Haut Brion has a very ripe, fig-tinged bouquet with red cherries, orange sorbet and faint tarry scents. This has more bravado than many of its Pessac-Léognan peers. The palate is medium-bodied with saturated tannin. It comes across as more modern in style than its peers, silky smooth with caressing succulent red cherry and blackberry fruit leading to a polished finish. It has very good body and density, though I find much more complexity on the 2015. I remarked that I wanted to see how well the oak integrates with this Les Carmes Haut-Brion and at this early stage, I wait to be totally convinced that all the constituent parts are singing from the same hymn sheet.
JS 93: Extremely perfumed with violets, lavender and hot stones as well as fruit and dark chocolate. Medium-to full-bodied, firm and silky and fresh. A lovely and bright wine now.