About the Wine
Steeped in history, Carmes Haut-Brion Estate has stood the test of time. The estate has a remarkable history that has remained constant over time. Even though different people have come and gone, the legacy has remained unchanged. It all started in 1584 when Jean de Pontac, the lord of Haut-Brion, gifted vines to the Carmelite Order. This marked the beginning of a long-lasting legacy.
In 2010, Carmes Haut-Brion was acquired by businessman Patrice Pichet, who from the very first moment, this enchanting little vineyard captured his heart and his desire to showcase its full potential. With a commitment to excellence, Pichet embarked on this wine journey and started redesigning and improving, not only the building but the vineyard itself.
At the heart of this extraordinary project are two legendary winemakers, Stéphane Derenoncourt and Guillaume Pouthier. Together, they collaborate, permeating their passion and expertise into every aspect of Carmes Haut-Brion.
The building is a work of art designed by Philippe Starck and Luc Arsène-Henry. They have perfectly combined aesthetics and functionality. This architectural masterpiece not only provides a functional space but also embraces the mysterious beauty that surrounds the art of winemaking.
The 24 acres of land are placed in a stunning terroir of gravel, clay, and sand, forming a unique geological soil that guides the selection of grape varieties. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon stand side by side, gazing across the stream, while Merlot thrives a little farther away.
Chateau Les Carmes has quickly become a critic’s favorite. Year after year, this wine is awarded very high accolades, and 2019 was no exception. Jeb Dunnuck blessed this wine with a 98-point review and said, “Readers will love having this beauty in the cellar, and it will evolve for 40-50 years if stored correctly. Hats off to winemaker Guillaume Pouthier for another thrilling wine.”
2019 was a great vintage for the Lef Bank. Vinous Media blessed this year with a 97-point review and said: "Two thousand-nineteen is unquestionably a Left Bank vintage."
Aging: 24 months in French oak barrels (84% new)
42% Cabernet Franc, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot.
See Critical Reviews for detailed tasting notes.
I wasn't able to taste the 2019 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion from barrel, but it certainly brings the goods from bottle. Deep ruby/purple-hued, with a smorgasbord-like array of red, blue, and black fruits as well as violets, candied flowers, tobacco, and sappy herbs, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a deep, layered, concentrated mouthfeel, flawless balance, and that rare mix of power and elegance that truly great Pessac can deliver. Showing the more elegant style of the vintage, it checks in behind the magical, perfect 2018 but is very much in the style of the 2016. Readers will love having this beauty in the cellar, and it will evolve for 40-50 years if stored correctly. Hats off to winemaker Guillaume Pouthier for another thrilling wine. ~98 Jeb Dunnuck
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. ~97 James Suckling
Inky purple in color, with peony and iris aromatics, then a whoosh of freshness that makes your mouth water before you are even halfway through. This is extremely impressive, well balanced, with fine tannins and real discretion but hidden power and depths—clear floral character, with austerity that makes you celebrate minerality. There are gourmet touches but the focus is rather on slate, rosemary and crushed stones with hints of chocolate shavings alongside the damson and blackberry fruit. 3.56pH, 80% in casks, 11% 20hl wood and 9% amphoras, 55% whole bunch fermentation (which brings the alcohol down to this relatively low level for the estate's location). A wine to surprise those who think Bordeaux can't deliver understatement. ~96 Decanter
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. ~96 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2019 Les Carmes Haut-Brion has a perfumed, quite floral bouquet with red cherries, sloes, blackcurrant and a touch of marmalade. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins, and gentle grip. Quite structured with plenty of substance on the finish, just a touch of espresso lingering on the aftertaste. Distinctive, is a positive sense. Tasted blind at the Southwold annual tasting. ~95 Vinous
Rich and caressing in feel, with alluring cassis, steeped plum and boysenberry puree flavors. Shows pretty anise and apple wood accents that line the finish, where there's a solid tarry echo as well. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2023. ~92 Wine Spectator
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