The 2021 Les Carmes Haut-Brion includes 45% whole bunch, the same as the previous vintage with 70% new oak, 20% in new 1800-litre foudres and some in amphora. Interestingly, the whole bunch contribution is less evident here compared to the Le C des Carmes, more assimilated with touches of flint and graphite infusing the mineral-rich black fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with firm grip on the entry, plenty of crunchy black fruit infused with graphite, cracked black pepper and cedar underlying marine influences. With a surfeit of freshness on the saline finish, tensile with an almost penetrating minerally aftertaste, this will deserve 5-7 years in bottle. 13.5% alcohol
Drink 2027 - 2055
Neal Martin, vinous.com, (May 2022)
A brilliant and intensely individual wine, the 2021 Les Carmes Haut-Brion shows immense potential. Wafting from the glass with aromas of rich berries and plums mingled with notions of raw cocoa, loamy soil, rose petals, burnt sage and vine smoke, it's medium to full-bodied, vibrant and seamless, with a deep, dynamic core of fruit and a long, penetrating finish. Transcending the limitations of the vintage, it wouldn't surprise me were this wine ultimately to surpass the 2019 and 2020 in quality. It's a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot that's maturing in 70% new oak and the rest in 15-hectoliter foudres. Tasted twice.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Apr 2022)
This is a special wine for the vintage with a wonderful and impressive tannin texture that melts into the wine, giving softness and finesse. Medium-bodied, showing a solid core of fruit with beautiful, focused cassis, blackberry and crushed-stone character. The unique terror of this estate, which is surrounded by houses in a suburb of Bordeaux, has produced a gorgeous wine in this difficult vintage. 45% whole bunches. 40% cabernet franc, 35% cabernet sauvignon and 25% merlot.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
Deep purple-crimson hue. Lively and fresh with spicy, smoky notes on the nose. There’s a lushness to the ample fruit but lift and freshness as well, the plentiful tannins upright and integrated. Again, lots of energy and drive with just that bit more concentration than Le C. Clean, dry finish. Vibrant and harmonious. (JL) 13.5%
Drink 2028 - 2045
James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com (May 2022)
Inky colour, enticing texture and aromatics, accomplished construction with no drop of density through the mid palate. They use reductive techniqes during ageing so you always have to give Carmes time in the glass to open up (even after En Primeur, when in bottle), and you are richly rewarded by a bit of patience, with damson, black cherry, rich chocolate, liqourice, smoked earth, mandarin peel, rose bud and mouthwartering acidities. This has tension and subdued power, and is a successful interpretation of the vintage. 42hl/h yields, same as 2020, no frost, no mildew, no coulure. Harvest as in Sauternes; with three passes through the vineyard at harvest. No chaptilisation. Harvest September 23 to October 1. 3.6ph, 45% whole grape, only 5% less than last year. 70% new oak, 20% large sized still new but 1800 litres, and 10% amphoras. A potential upscore in bottle.
Drink 2027 - 2040
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2022)
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.
A white grape variety that is believed to have originated in Egypt. It takes its name from a village in the Saone-et-Loire departement where it is grown to produce Pouilly-sur-Loire. It is widely planted around the world though more often as a table grape than for wine production.
It was first planted in Alsace in the 17th century and is generally blended with other grapes and sold as Edelzwicker. The authorities are not keen on the grape and have banned any new plantings. It is a relatively easy variety to cultivate although its naturally high vigour means it is not suited to very dry and very fertile soils.