About the Wine
Chateau Les Carmes has quickly become a critic’s favorite. Year after year, this wine is awarded very high accolades, and 2020 was no exception. It was awarded not once, but two times a perfect 100-point score by Decanter & Vinous Media.
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.
2020 was a great year for Bordeaux. Vinous Media blessed this year with a 97-point review and said, "Two thousand-twenty is an exceptional vintage for Bordeaux, certainly the best in the 2018-2020 trilogy. Quality is very, very high."
Aging: 24 months in French oak barrels (84% new)
Tasting Notes: 40% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Merlot.
See Critical Reviews for detailed tasting notes.
The best 2020s seem to be confident without showing off or shouting too loudly and this Carmes does just that. Focused and precise, this is complex and characterful, rich yet vibrant with a texture and taste that makes an impact straight away. Fresh black fruits, floral notes and sensational minerality do the talking - it has weight, density and structure - broad and bold yet svelte, it has direction and persistence, building quickly then settling and elongating with such clarity and purity. This is a wine you want to drink. Cool, classic, sharp and decisive with a flawless texture. ~100 Decanter
The 2020 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a total stunner. For the first time I can remember, Les Carmes Haut-Brion marries all of its elements so well that nothing stands out. In the past, the high percentage of Franc and/or the whole clusters were evident. The 2020 is the first modern vintage in which all the elements are so well balanced. Dark red/purplish fruit, rose petal, mint, lavender, dried herbs and incense all build in a ravishing Pessac-Léognan that will take your breath away. The 2020 is 40% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Merlot, picked between September 14 to 26, which is early here. Whole cluster was 55%. Vinification took place over five weeks, using very gentle extraction, with no pumpovers or punchdowns. Aging was 80% new oak, 11% 18hL foudres and 9% amphorae. In tasting, the 2020 is simply magnificent. There are no soloists, just the most exceptionally vivid, breathtaking orchestra imaginable. The 2020 is a masterpiece from Technical Director Guillaume Pouthier and his team. Don't miss it! ~100 Vinous
Exotic fruit aromas of blackberry, blueberry, peach and orange peel. It’s full-bodied with a vertical flow of layered, chewy tannins that are integrated and intense. Extremely polished and focused. Crushed stone to the fruit in the aftertaste. Some bark and forest flowers, too. Great potential. ~97-98 James Suckling
On another level, the flagship 2020 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion is one heck of a dense, backward, concentrated wine that’s going to require bottle age. Coming in with the same technical analysis (acidity and alcohol) as the 2018, this full-bodied beauty offers a thrilling nose of blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, charcoal, and gravelly earth. Full-bodied on the palate, with a terrific mid-palate and wonderful purity, it holds things close to its vest yet has flawless balance, impeccable purity, and just a great, lengthy finish. Nevertheless, this is one big bruiser of a wine that’s going to demand bottle age. Do your best to hide bottles for 7-8 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following three to four decades. ~96-98 Jeb Dunnuck
Inky plum colour, violet and peony aromatics followed up by orange zest and pencil lead on the opening beats. Just so much depth, quality and characte, chalky tannins are softening just enough to show the form of the fruit bneath, giving a sense of architecture and form. Sculpted blue and black fruits appear as things expand through the mid palate, with crushed mint leaf and mouthwatering oyster shell on the finish. The flavours evolve and the character emerges the longer you linger over this glass, and it's an excellent vintage of Carmes, with sculpted delicous fruits. ~97 Jane Anson
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2020 Les Carmes Haut-Brion issues forth a beguiling array of savory scents—black olives, charcuterie, bouquet garni and Sichuan pepper—over a core of bright redcurrant jelly, black cherries and cassis scents, plus fragrant hints of rose petals and preserved mandarin peel. The medium-bodied palate is refreshing and elegantly styled yet with a rock-solid backbone of firm, finely grained tannins and bags of freshness, finishing long and perfumed. This is a stunning expression of the vintage that should be long lived and age with fantastic grace. ~95-97 Wine Advocate
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