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. (JA)
This throws off a stream of cassis, cherry preserves and raspberry fruit that is pure and bright, laced with a racy mineral edge through the finish. Stands apart from the pack for its purity and finesse. Really beautiful. (JM)
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.
The 2018 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a total knock-out, just as it was from barrel. Soaring in its aromatic intensity, Les Carmes dazzles from the very first taste. Inky red fruits, mocha, new leather, licorice, dried flowers, sage and mint envelop all the senses. Today, the 2018 appears to be slightly closed, but time brings out tons of aromatic energy and nuance. Cabernet Franc plays the leading role, unusual for this part of the region. Franc aromatics and a fair amount of whole cluster savoriness lend energy but also a feeling of richness without weight that is especially appealing. This is a masterpiece from Les Carmes Haut-Brion and Technical Director Guillaume Pouthier. (AG)
The 2018 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is composed of 37% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Merlot. It was made using 52% whole cluster and has 13.75% alcohol. It was aged in 75% new oak barriques, 16% foudres and 9% amphorae. Deep garnet-purple in color, it needs a little coaxing before bursting from the glass with vibrant scents blackberry preserves, redcurrant jelly, mulberries and Black Forest cake, leading to an undercurrent of pencil lead, black truffles, cast-iron pan and charcoal with an emerging waft of violets. The elegantly crafted, medium-bodied palate dances with red and black fruits before bursting into earth and mineral sparks. It has a sturdy frame of firm, grainy tannins and bags of freshness, finishing long and savory. The stem tannins lend this wine a firmness and textural interest, which should integrate further with another 5-6 years in barrel, allowing the nuances to shine through even more, then you can continue to enjoy its slow evolution for a further 30+ years. (LPB) 96+
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