Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2018
1 or more bottles$300.00
Jeb Dunnuck100 points
James Suckling97 points
Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a Bordeaux estate that was once part of the famed First Growth Château Haut-Brion. Situated in Pessac-Léognan, in the southwestern outskirts of Bordeaux town and on the "left bank" of the Garonne river, the vineyards and wines are Merlot and Cabernet Franc dominant with only a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon – an uncommon ratio for the commune.
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- Blue Fruits
- Red Meat
Critic Scores & reviews
"The 2018 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a rock star of a wine and is based on a unique blend of 37% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 29% Merlot that was brought up in 80% new French oak. Offering a deep ruby/purple color as well as a thrilling bouquet of blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, chocolate, violets, damp earth, and truffle, it hits the palate with a full-bodied yet almost understated, building style that carries ripe, supple tannins, gorgeous amounts of smoky black fruits, and an endearing, layered, multi-dimensional texture that keeps you coming back to the glass. A dead ringer for a great vintage of Haut-Brion, it is far from unapproachable today yet needs 7-8 years of bottle age for the fireworks to develop and will have 50-years or more of longevity! Hats off to Guillaume Pouthier for a magical, seamless, singular beauty"
"A beautiful nuance of salty caramel is clear even on the nose. On the palate, the concentration and focus is immediately clear, uplifted by touches of gentle salinity. There is really a sense of place and of being itself which I always love about this wine. It's closed of course, but with an unrolling of sappy black fruits, and a freshness that gives you confidence in its future. So much pleasure to be had here, with notes of chocolate, peony and liquorice. Extremely successful, as it was en primeur. 3.62pH. 53% whole-bunch fermentation. IPT95. Harvested 13-28 September. Ageing is mostly in large oak casks, 76% new, plus 9% aged in amphorae"
"The essence of black fruit here, offering blackberry and brambleberry aromas with dried flowers and licorice. Crushed stones and some iodine, as well as nuts. Full-bodied palate that opens and delivers an encompassing mouth feel of fine, creamy tannins. Some whole-berry fermentation. A special wine with elegance and complexity. Try after 2026, but already so in tune"
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Wine is being produced throughout France and has been done for over 2,500 years with certain Châteaux dating their history back to Roman times, around 6th Century BC. Ranking second in the world in per-capita consumption and first in total production quantity. More so than the overall quantity of wine is the quantity of truly great wines coming out of France makes the nation the envy of wine-making nations worldwide.
Two concepts pivotal to the higher end French wines, in particular, are the idea of 'terroir' and the Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) system. Terroir refers to the way the geography, geology and climate find their way into the glass, telling a story of the origin of the wine. The AOC was set up in 1935 and has the primary goal of protecting the authenticity of the wines and the livelihoods of the producers. Appellation rules strictly define which varieties of grapes and winemaking practices are approved for classification in each of France's several hundred geographically defined appellations, which can cover entire regions, individual villages or in some cases, like in Burgundy even specific vineyards.
Classic wine regions in France include Champagne (home of Champagne), Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Bordeaux (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot), Alsace (Aromatic varietals), Loire Valley (Chenin Blanc, Crémant) and the Rhône Valley (Syrah, Grenache Mourvedre)
The Bordeaux classification of 1855 is still in use, as is the Sauternes and Barsac Classification of the same year. Wines from certain regions can be bought En Primeur, which is when the wine is sold prior to it being bottled.
Bordeaux produces some of the most highly sought after and revered wines in the world. Located close to the coast, in the south-west of France the town and is divided by the Gironde River. Wines to the west of the river are referred to as left bank, and are Cabernet dominant. To the East of the river, on the right bank Merlot is the dominant grape variety. Throughout the 57 appellations, over 10,000 wine-making châteaux grow the red grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. These are commonly blended and collectively referred to as clarets. Smaller amounts of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc is also grown in Bordeaux.
In 1855, due to the high export demands of Bordeaux wines, Emporer Napoleon III requested an official Bordeaux classification system, based on market costs of the wines at the time. The Chateaux were classified in to five ‘growths’ from first growth to fifth growth and cru Bourgois. Also in 1855 The Sauternes and Barsac classification covered the sweeter wines, with Chateau d’Yquem the only Superior First Growth, followed by Premiers Crus and Deux Deuxièmes Crus.
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