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The remarkable 2022 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a strong candidate for the title of wine of the vintage. It's also one of the most singular, characterful wines being produced in the region today. Unfurling in the glass with complex aromas of blackberries and cherries mingled with notions of exotic spices, orange zest, pencil lead, rose petals and vine smoke, it's medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, with a velvety attack that segues into a layered, seamless and multidimensional mid-palate framed by rich, powdery tannins. Pure, perfumed and penetrating, this blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Merlot is a brilliant success that caps a decade of relentless work by Guillaume Pouthier and his team that have seen Les Carmes Haut-Brion emerge as one of Bordeaux's leading estates. It checks in at a mere 13.5% alcohol, with a very healthy pH of 3.64. ~99-100 WA
I think one of the legendary wines in the vintage will be the 2022 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, which comes from a tiny vineyard not far from Haut-Brion and is based on 40% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Merlot, vinified with 70% whole clusters, and aged 70% in new barrels, 20% in foudre, and 10% in amphora. Despite mostly being not destemmed, you wouldn't know it by tasting it. It has a classic bouquet of ripe blackberries, cassis, leafy herbs, graphite, and violets, while in contrast, the C Des Carmes Haut-Brion, which is vinified with just 30% stems, is clearly marked more by its stems. Full-bodied, concentrated, beautifully balanced, and with a rare mix of purity, freshness, and power, it's going to rival the 2018 as one of the finest vintages ever produced from this address. It's worth noting this estate has a unique terroir in Pessac that includes some limestone in the soils, and this worked particularly well in 2022. Don't miss this wine. ~98-100 JD
Technical Director Guillaume Pouthier follows his majestic 2020 with another riveting wine. The 2022 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is, quite simply, unforgettable. A wine of tremendous energy, the 2022 saturates the palate with inky red/blue fruits, lavender, sage and mint, showing remarkable density that builds into an eternal finish enshrouded by seamless tannins. The 2022 is a co-ferment of 40% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 26% Merlot done with 70% stems that saw six full weeks on the skins. Elevage is 70% new oak, 20% 18HL cask and 10% amphora. It is an incredibly modern wine that marries Bordeaux classicism with hints of Northern Rhone and Piedmont inflections. All the elements are so well-balanced that nothing sticks out. Instead, it is the wine's profound beauty that leaves a lasting impression. ~98-100 AG-VM
An exceptional wine in 2022 by winemaker Guillaume Pouthier who has delivered a supremely drinkable, likeable and harmonious wine that perfectly balances fruit density, aromatic expressiveness, lively acidity and a less is more approach. Intensely fragrant on the nose, nuanced and expressive, open and beguiling with rose, jasmine, bramble fruit, red cherry, liquorice and slate. Tense and a touch strict on the palate, electric and thrilling with bright acidity and tannins that come in and give weight and texture to the frame. Crushed velvet, smooth and salty, not plump or overly plush, instead well defined, focussed and precise. Silky, elegant with crystalline purity. A beautiful style married to a philosophy that works in hot vintages using whole bunch fermentation to lower the alcohol and give freshness to the wine. A standout success and a wine we’re going to want to finish. 3.64ph. 70% whole cluster. Ageing 70% new barrels, 20% 18hl casks, 10% amphoras. 98-100 points. ~98 Decanter
This is so umami with sea urchin character that gives you sea salt and dried seaweed aromas and flavors. The integrity and richness is so impressive with an exotic character, yet it is so classic and fine in structure. 13.5% alcohol. 70% whole cluster fermentation. 40% cabernet franc, 35% cabernet sauvignon and 25% merlot. A new model for Bordeaux? ~97-98 JS
The 2022 Les Carmes Haut-Brion was picked 5-20 September with 70% whole bunches (three vats contained 100% whole cluster that was cofermented), matured in 70% new oak, 20% in 18hL casks and 10% in amphora. It underwent a long, six-week infusion in the vat at a maximum 26° Celsius, just over a week longer than usual. It is extremely precise on the nose with blackberry, briary, crushed stone and hints of curry leaf. The palate is just beautiful. Sculpted tannins, fine-boned, lending this Les Carmes unerring symmetry and focus. This is loaded with mineral-laden dark berry fruit and feels seamless toward the finish. I am not inclined toward hyperbole, nevertheless, this is the best Les Carmes that Guillaume Pouthier has overseen. ~96-98 NM-VM