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Les Carmes Haut Brion 2019 (3.0L)

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Left Bank
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Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

98+ WI / 98 JD / 98 DE / 97+ VM / 97 JS / 97 JA / 96 WA / 17.5+ JR

#18 Decanter Wines of the Year 2023

The 2019 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is made from 50% Cabernet Franc, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 16% Merlot, with 70% whole-bunch fermentation. It has undergone two years' aging in 90% new oak, and 10% amphorae. Deep garnet-purple colored, it slowly emerges from the glass to offer a powerful nose of pure cassis, fresh, juicy blackberries, and plum preserves with hints of pencil shavings, fallen leaves, crushed rocks, and rose petals, plus a hint of charcuterie. Medium-bodied, the palate really packs a punch of fruit, supported by fantastic tension and very firm, ripe, grainy tannins, finishing very long and layered. A tongue-tingling wine, it has lots of texture interest from grapes, stems, and oak. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Independent

I wasn't able to taste the 2019 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion from barrel, but it certainly brings the goods from bottle. Deep ruby/purple-hued, with a smorgasbord-like array of red, blue, and black fruits as well as violets, candied flowers, tobacco, and sappy herbs, it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a deep, layered, concentrated mouthfeel, flawless balance, and that rare mix of power and elegance that truly great Pessac can deliver. Showing the more elegant style of the vintage, it checks in behind the magical, perfect 2018 but is very much in the style of the 2016. Readers will love having this beauty in the cellar, and it will evolve for 40-50 years if stored correctly. Hats off to winemaker Guillaume Pouthier for another thrilling wine. - Jeb Dunnuck

One of my favourite wines in 2019, immediately captivating with a lasting impression. Gorgeous dark purple in the glass with blackcurrant notes, perfumed violets, dark chocolate and hints of truffle - the old-vine Bouchet (Cabernet Franc) giving aromatic intensity on the nose and palate. Succulent straight away with ripe cherry, blood orange and pink grapefruit flavours set against soft, mouthwatering acidity and a lovely saline grip to the tannins. It's rich but just giving delicate hints in each direction of fruit, acidity, freshness, structure, mouthfeel and body. Restrained and poised, with a drinkability that makes you want a glass now, but could happily be enjoyed decades from now. Managing director Guillaume Pouthier said he simply 'Wants to make wine that is drunk' and this is eminently drinkable. A blend of 48% Cabernet Franc, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot. 3.60 pH. 80% ageing in new barrel, 9% amphora, 11% foudre. Stéphane Derenoncourt consultant. Drinking Window 2026 - 2050 - Georgina Hindle, Decanter

Technical Director Guillaume Pouthier turned out another stellar wine with the 2019 Les Carmes Haut-Brion. Elegant, polished and wonderfully nuanced to the core, the 2019 dazzles right out of the gate. Whole clusters enhance a whole range of Cabernet Franc inflections in a wine that is immediately seductive. On the palate, the 2019 is creamy and textured. Plum, blood orange, spice, mocha and dried herbs lend an exotic quality that is so alluring. The 2019 is a mysterious, totally seductive wine that no one who is serious about Bordeaux will want to miss. To be sure, Les Carmes is far from typical, but it is incredibly unique. Its longevity is likely to be measured in multiples of decades. Quite simply, I loved it. 

What a great nose with such complexity of blackberry, forest floor, mushroom and bark. Like walking in a deep forest. Full-bodied with a dense palate, yet it remains energetic and focused. Very fine texture. Flavorful finish. Extremely persistent. Fantastic young 2019. Try after 2028. - James Suckling

Rippling violet and peony waves alongside creamy blueberry and raspberry fruits, this is a gorgeous 2019 that continues a strong run of vintages at the estate. Slate-textured, salt-licked stones, rosemary and saffron-edged, white truffle spice. Takes its time and stretches out through the palate, tingling and enticing. Technical director Guillaume Pouthier has created something here that stands on its own, with complexity and nuance. Give it a full five or six years before opening. 3.59ph. 60% stems, and once again you see the difference it makes not only in nuance and philosophy but also in the actual physical properties of the wine. - Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux

The 2019 Les Carmes Haut-Brion has turned out very well in bottle. Mingling aromas of plums and cassis with notions of blood orange, warm spices and new oak, it's full-bodied, velvety and seamless, with an ample core of bright, succulent fruit that's framed by an elegantly muscular chassis of ripe, powdery tannins and lively acids. Concluding with a long, expansive finish, it's reminiscent of a more giving, extroverted version of Pouthier's superb 2016. As is now the rule at this address, some whole bunches were retained during maceration, and the wine saw a long élevage in a variety of vessels, from classic 225-liter Bordeaux barriques to foudres and amphorae. The blend is dominated by 42% Cabernet Franc, complemented by 31% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Merlot. - William Kelley, Wine Advocate

42% Cabernet Franc, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot. 60% whole-bunch vinification. Aged 24 months in new oak barrel (80%), foudre (10%) and amphora (10%)
Purple-black colour. Aromatically discreet but dense and refined. Dark fruit and cassis as the wine opens in the glass. Juicy fruit on the palate with fine texture and tannins. Lots of length and finesse, the profile more linear and aérien than 2018. Clean finish, the balance just right.--James Lawther MW, Jancis Robinson


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