2014 Château les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux
This is the first vintage where you see true clarity and precision in the fruit expression, and you start to feel the hum of minerality and confidence that Carmes has built up so successfully over the past decade. Drawn out raspberry and blackberry fruit on the finish, with grip and waves of violet and peony aromatics, moving on from the rose stems of the earlier vintages. A lovely wine, ready to drink but will age, and the slate scrape texture and white pepper spice gives an extra kick of interest. This was the point at which I began to fall in love with Carmes. 40% stems. 3.6ph.
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (Feb 2022)
Neal Martin - 31/03/2017
About this WINE
Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion
A little-known neighbour of châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion in the Pessac-Léognan region of Bordeaux, Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a jewel of a property, positioned on the same bank of gravel (graves) as its more famous namesakes.
The name derives from the friars, known as ";Les Carmes"; who owned the property between the 16th and 18th century.
The vineyards are planted with an unusually small quantity of Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), the lion's share going to Merlot (50%) and Cabernet Franc (40%), this is reflected in the style of the wine which is rich in aromatics and has incredible finesse.
The wine spends 18 months in oak barrels, one third of which are new each vintage.
In 1986 a new communal district was created within Graves, in Bordeaux, based on the districts of Pessac and Léognan, the first of which lies within the suburbs of the city. Essentially this came about through pressure from Pessac-Léognan vignerons, who wished to disassociate themselves from growers with predominately sandy soils further south in Graves.
Pessac-Léognan has the best soils of the region, very similar to those of the Médoc, although the depth of gravel is more variable, and contains all the classed growths of the region. Some of its great names, including Ch. Haut-Brion, even sit serenely and resolutely in Bordeaux's southern urban sprawl.
The climate is milder than to the north of the city and the harvest can occur up to two weeks earlier. This gives the best wines a heady, rich and almost savoury character, laced with notes of tobacco, spice and leather. Further south, the soil is sandier with more clay, and the wines are lighter, fruity and suitable for earlier drinking.
Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Haut-Brion, Ch. la Mission Haut-Brion, Ch. Pape Clément, Ch Haut-Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier, Ch. Larrivet-Haut-Brion, Ch. Carmes Haut-Brion, Ch. La Garde, Villa Bel-Air.
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Change continues apace at this estate, which has been under new ownership since 2010, with their new cellar and tasting room opening in summer 2015. Displaying a lighter, more ethereal style, the 2014 has notes of menthol, tobacco and sweet blackcurrants, with violets and floral aromatics. Medium-bodied with a dark, plum-like colour, there is some sour cherry in the mix too. Earthy, mineral and with plenty of acidity, the luscious fruit balances out really nicely alongside the savoury edge. Persistent on the finish, spice and green pepper linger on the palate. The wine is quite powerful and serious, with layers of complexity. The 2014 is a very good effort.
55% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot
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