2020 Château les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

2020 Château les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Product: 20208013701
Prices start from £720.00 per case Buying options
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2020 Château les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Description

Our initial allocation of Ch. Les Carmes Haut-Brion has sold out completely, though we have managed to secure a limited quantity of additional stock. Please note that this tranche comes at a higher price than the original offer.

Cabernet Franc 40%, Cabernet Sauvignon 34%, Merlot, 26%

Of all the properties on the Left Bank, Ch. Les Carmes Haut-Brion has the highest proportion of Cabernet Franc. This suits warmer vintages particularly well, as the higher percentage of Cabernet Franc gives the wine lift and a wonderful oyster and saline freshness. Winemaker Guillaume Pouthier has many other tricks up his sleeve too, like beginning the fermentation with a pied de cuve (wild yeast starter), which can restrain the eventual alcohol level by as much as 1 degree. A proper infusion of a permanently submerged cap also contributes to a fascinating wine. In 2020, the wine had sapid powdery tannins, and a sublime marriage of graphite and sweet cherry on the palate. Maverick and genius.

Drink 2025-2045

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Available by the case In Bond. Pricing excludes duty and VAT, which must be paid separately before delivery. Find out more.
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Case format
Availability
Price per case
6 x 75cl bottle
Berry Bros. & Rudd BB&R 39 cases £720.00
En Primeur 2nd Tranche Limited availability
En Primeur 2nd Tranche Limited availability

Critics reviews

Jane Anson96/100
Antonio Galloni, Vinous95-97+/100
Neal Martin, Vinous94-96/100
Wine Advocate95-97+/100
James Suckling97-98/100
Jeb Dunnuck96-98/100
Michael Schuster93-94/100
Jane Anson96/100
Clear violet edging to the colour, vibrant and enticing. This is elegant and full of personality, with high floral aromatics, a ton of dark fruits, and a blueberry dominance that gives a classic Carmes Haut Brion feel. Slightly austere, slightly bitter, both in the best possible expression of those terms, where it is mouthwatering and moreish. A juicy salinity ensures this is a wine that doesn't overpower, its flavours are revealed slowly and carefully, tugging backwards, with a texture that heads towards linen rather than silk - meaning that you don't glide through, you carefully step through well-placed tannins and fruits. There is clear delicacy here, and with 55% whole bunch fermentation - the highest level that they have done to date. 3.62pH (they harvested this at almost 1% ABV higher), fermented with their own natural yeasts. Highest percentage of the two Cabernets on recent record (before 2010 Carmes was regularly at 50% Merlot). Strong candidate for the score moving upwards when in bottle.

Drink from 2028 to 2048

Jane Anson, Decanter (April 2021) Read more
Antonio Galloni, Vinous95-97+/100
The 2020 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is dazzling, but it is also a wine of reserve and understatement. I image it will be some years, at the very least, be fore the 2020 is ready to show all it has to offer. Today, it is not particularly expressive. The aromatics, which are usually so penetrating are quite shy, although the significant presence of Cabernet Franc that distinguishes this wine comes through in its energy and sense of drive. I can't wait to taste the 2020 from bottle, and won't be at all surprised if it turns out even better than this note suggests.

Drink from 2035 to 2060

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (June 2021) Read more
Neal Martin, Vinous94-96/100
The 2020 Les Carmes Haut-Brion was picked at 38hl/ha and matured in 80% new oak, 11% foudres and the remainder in clay amphorae. It has an intense bouquet of blackberry and wild strawberry, plus some light torrefactory scents, undergrowth and black pepper, all delineated and focused. The palate is medium-bodied with beautifully defined black fruit and delicate touches of mint, bell pepper and cracked black pepper. Though it shares the same surname, it is interesting to see how, stylistically, it is cut from a totally different cloth than Haut-Brion and La Mission, which each possess their own distinct attributes. Quite thickly textured and weighty on the finish with a long, spicy aftertaste, this is a serious Les Carmes Haut-Brion with a very long future ahead.

Drink from 2025 to 2050

Neal Martin, Vinous (May 2021) Read more
Wine Advocate95-97+/100
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2020 Les Carmes Haut-Brion issues forth a beguiling array of savory scents—black olives, charcuterie, bouquet garni and Sichuan pepper—over a core of bright redcurrant jelly, black cherries and cassis scents, plus fragrant hints of rose petals and preserved mandarin peel. The medium-bodied palate is refreshing and elegantly styled yet with a rock-solid backbone of firm, finely grained tannins and bags of freshness, finishing long and perfumed. This is a stunning expression of the vintage that should be long lived and age with fantastic grace.

Drink 2027 - 2057

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (May 2021) Read more
James Suckling97-98/100
Exotic fruit aromas of blackberry, blueberry, peach and orange peel. It’s full-bodied with a vertical flow of layered, chewy tannins that are integrated and intense. Extremely polished and focused. Crushed stone to the fruit in the aftertaste. Some bark and forest flowers, too. Great potential.

James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (April 2021) Read more
Jeb Dunnuck96-98/100
On another level, the flagship 2020 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion is one heck of a dense, backward, concentrated wine that’s going to require bottle age. Coming in with the same technical analysis (acidity and alcohol) as the 2018, this full-bodied beauty offers a thrilling nose of blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, charcoal, and gravelly earth. Full-bodied on the palate, with a terrific mid-palate and wonderful purity, it holds things close to its vest yet has flawless balance, impeccable purity, and just a great, lengthy finish. Nevertheless, this is one big bruiser of a wine that’s going to demand bottle age. Do your best to hide bottles for 7-8 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following three to four decades.

Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (May 2021) Read more
Michael Schuster93-94/100
Dense, sweet, florally fragrant, very lightly minerally; full, fresh, finely but firmly tannic; long and compact, both juicy and linear, pure, transparent-yet-dense, with a succulent, brisk ripe red and black fruit, very long across the palate, effortless, finely defined and tightened by its acidity and tannin; there is a wonderful freshness and vitality here, alongside a very gentle defining texture, and then gorgeous length, particularly perfumed in its persistence. Gorgeous wine, understated but very complete. So fine-textured, it will be accessible fairly early, but keep and develop beautifully, too.

Drink 2028 - 2050

Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (May 2021) Read more

About this WINE

Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion

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.

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Pessac-Leognan

Pessac-Leognan

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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Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

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