This shows incredible texture with the finest velvet mouthfeel. Super character of chocolate, walnut and orange peel. Great length and subtlety. Lots of whole berry fermentation and maceration gives the wine grace and fruit. Then it kicks in. Great power and structure at the end. Very unique.
The 2015 is an interesting blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon that saw a fair amount of whole clusters in the fermentation and 90% of the blend brought up in barrel and the rest in amphoras. Its deep purple color is followed by a beautiful perfumed of ripe currant and plums fruits, chocolate, ground herbs, and damp earth. With full-bodied richness, terrific ripeness, building tannin, and an underlying sense of elegance and purity that only grows with time in the glass, it needs 4-5 years of cellaring but is going to cruise in the cellar for 3-4 decades.
Dense and broad, with warm dark plum, fig and blackberry confiture flavors rolling over one another, backed by a broad swath of tar and roasted apple wood. This is packed with serious grip, featuring bramble, licorice snap and intense sweet tobacco notes on the back end, all of which combine with the fruit for a powerfully rendered finish. Distinct and impressive. (JM)
'This vintage is very sensual because of the softness of tannin. I think it is very typical of Pessac,' ex-Chapoutier winemaker Guillaume Pouthier told me. The nascent wine is inky purple in color. The nose is very closed and demands a lot of coaxing from the glass, reluctantly giving up black cherries, cassis and iodine scents. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannin, extremely pure, hints of black olive and Japanese nori infusing the black fruit. It has a very fine structure with good grip on the finish. The Cabernet Franc comes through strongly here, defining the start and finish and in some ways, it needs the Merlot to become more expressive to 'fill in the gaps.' Of course, that is precisely what élevage is for. This is an intriguing Pessac-Léognan that reminds me of Pomerol (Lafleur perhaps?). Difficult to judge now, I look forward to retasting this once in bottle, because it may well deserve a higher score. (NM)
Once again, Les Carmes Haut-Brion stakes its place as one of the most distinctive wines being made in Bordeaux. The 2015 exudes richness, power and intensity. Layers of dark red stone fruit, cedar, tobacco, smoke and pomegranate build as the wine shows off its voluptuous personality. Les Carmes Haut-Brion stands out for many reasons, including its high percentage of Cabernet Franc, which is unusual in Pessac. In 2015, winemaker Guillaume Poutier also added a dollop of whole clusters to give the wine more aromatic lift. The use of whole clusters is of course quite common in Burgundy and the Rhône (were Poutier formerly made the wines at Chapoutier), but is very rarely seen in Bordeaux. This full-throttle Pessac will drink well for decades, but it also needs time to shed some of its considerable baby fat. The blend is 44% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon. Simon Blanchard is the consulting winemaker. (AG)
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