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I'd put the 2021 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion up with the crème de la crème of the vintage. Based on 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Merlot, aging in 80% new barrels, it offers a brilliant perfume of plum and black raspberry fruits supported by lots of spice and exotic floral notes. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it has a rounded, expansive mouthfeel that's rare to find in the vintage, terrific mid-palate depth, moderate acidity, and a great finish. It's a singular, brilliant Pessac that will benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and cruise for 20-25+ in cold cellars. Enough can't be said about the quality and passion being brought to this estate by winemaker Guillaume Pouthier, and this is the estate readers need to be purchasing. ~93-95 J. Dunnuck
Beautiful aromatic complexity on the nose, floral nuances, and expressive blackcurrant, black cherry, and dark chocolate but you're really getting the perfumed Cabernet fruit. This has an instant presence in the mouth, fully flavored and juicy but so balanced, nothing sticking out, with the elegance of the ripe cool fruit touching the sides of the mouth. Tannins are present but fine and gently grippy with detail and definition to them. This has a lot of life for the vintage, one of the more full, round wines with chewy, fleshy tannins. The Cabernet gives backbone and density, the Merlot ripe red fruits, and then the chalky, slate, pencil lead, graphite salinity of the terroir comes in on the finish, giving that nuance, the sense of place and the vintage. Great rise and persistence all the way through, such drive but also lift, it doesn't let up. A stand-out wine - extremely classy and memorable. Skilled winemaking on show from Guillaume Pouthier. 5% more tannins than in 2020 which was already high. Grapes were picked at a natural alcohol of 14.2% so no chaptalization here. 3.6pH. 45% whole bunches. Ageing in 70% new oak, 20% new foundre, and 10% amphoras. Drinking Window 2027 - 2050. ~96 Decanter
A brilliant and intensely individual wine, the 2021 Les Carmes Haut-Brion shows immense potential. Wafting from the glass with aromas of rich berries and plums mingled with notions of raw cocoa, loamy soil, rose petals, burnt sage, and vine smoke, it's medium to full-bodied, vibrant, and seamless, with a deep, dynamic core of fruit and a long, penetrating finish. Transcending the limitations of the vintage, it wouldn't surprise me were this wine ultimately surpasses the 2019 and 2020 in quality. It's a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot that's maturing in 70% new oak and the rest in 15-hectoliter foudres. Tasted twice. ~94-97 WA
This is a special wine for the vintage with a wonderful and impressive tannin texture that melts into the wine, giving softness and finesse. Medium-bodied, showing a solid core of fruit with beautiful, focused cassis, blackberry, and crushed-stone character. The unique terror of this estate, which is surrounded by houses in a suburb of Bordeaux, has produced a gorgeous wine in this difficult vintage. 45% whole bunches. 40% cabernet franc, 35% cabernet sauvignon and 25% merlot. ~96-97 James Suckling
Technical Director Olivier Pouthier crafted one of the wines of the vintage of Les Carmes Haut-Brion. The 2021 possesses mind-blowing intensity and stunning persistence. Bright red-fleshed fruit, blood orange, mint, dried flowers and exotic spice caress the sense as the 2021 shows off its sheer allure. I don't think I have ever tasted a young Carmes with this level of precision. The blend is 40% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, aged in 70% new oak., 20% new foudres and 10% in amphora. As always, Les Carmes sees some whole cluster, 45% in 2021, an unusual technique in Bordeaux, but one that works so well here. The 2021 is magical wine. That's all there is to it. ~96-98 Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media