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Les Carmes Haut Brion 2023 (375ML)

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12 unit(s)
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Left Bank
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Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

98-99 JS / 97-99 WA / 96-98 WI / 97 DE / 95-97 JD / 96 JA / 94-96 VM

#9 Jeb Dunnuck Top 25 2023 Bordeaux En Primeur

This is a fantastic wine and very, very exciting, with purity and brightness to the floral, spicy and blackberry notes. It’s full and deep with agility and weightless. You feel the greatness in this. The winemaker says this is more concentrated and structured than the 2022. Lightly salty. 60% whole-berry fermentation. 50% cabernet franc, 30% cabernet sauvignon and 20% merlot. From organically grown grapes. - James Suckling

Guillaume Pouthier and his team have once again crafted one of Bordeaux's most unique and characterful wines. Revealing aromas of mulberries and raspberries mingled with notions of vine smoke, orange zest, rose petals and spices, the 2023 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is medium to full-bodied, fleshy and concentrated, with a powerful, vibrant and complete mid-palate, concluding with a long, ethereal and mouthwateringly saline finish. Sensual, suave and seamless, its beautifully refined tannins are, analytically, more abundant than even those of the 2022 vintage, yet they are so brilliantly integrated as to be near-imperceptible. This blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot is crafted for longevity, though its refined structure will make it surprisingly approachable at an early age. It's maturing 70% in new oak barrels, 20% in 18-hectoliter foudres and 10% in amphorae. A creditable yield of 50 hectoliters per hectare represents a decided agronomic success in what was a challenging growing season. - Wine Advocate, Yohan Castaing

A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Merlot, Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2023 has a pH of 3.62. It was fermented with 60% whole bunches and it is aging in 70% new oak barrels, 20% new oak vats of 18 hl, and 10% amphorae. It has an opaque purple-black color and needs a little swirling and coaxing to bring out fabulously pure, well-defined notes of juicy black cherries, blackcurrant pastilles, ripe juicy blackberries, and licorice, leading to hints of tar, peonies, wet slate, and black olives, with a touch of Sichuan pepper. The light to medium-bodied palate is airy and refreshing, with a solid backbone of very fine-grained, prancing tannins and bold freshness supporting the pristine black fruit flavors, finishing long and minerally. I had to spend a good 15 minutes with this wine to allow it to grow: it is incredibly tight to begin but expands to become something powerful. A beguiling 2023 with fully ripe black fruit characters and a paradoxical airiness, it really makes your head spin in the best possible way! - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Independent

Extremely floral nose; peony, iris, rose, expressive and aromatic with black fruits too, liquorice, dark fruit, cedar, some black chocolate and coffee bitterness on the nose too. Smooth and supple, nicely weighted in the mouth, forward, grippy and bright with a soft chew - really quite polished and pristine. Seamlessly integrated with the acidity balancing the tannins and the ripe fruit with some mineral wet stone undercurrents and slight bitter liquorice and grapefruit skin on the finish. It’s a little serious, but certainly polished with a soft chew of strawberry and raspberry and stoney-edged tannins giving excellent terroir signature. Ripe, fresh, clean, fragrant, sleek and streamlined. It has a lovely style and lots of finesse from winemaker Guillaume Pouthier. Harvest 11-25 September, 60% whole bunch fermentation taking the alcohol down from 14.3% at picking to 13.5%. 3.62pH. - Georgina Hindle, Decanter

As to the Grand Vin 2023 Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, this beauty checks in as 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Merlot that was fermented with 60% whole cluster, brought up in 70% new barrels, with a good portion in foudre and amphora. It has a deep ruby/purple hue and vibrant aromatics of cassis and black cherries as well as leafy tobacco, spring flowers, woodsmoke, and graphite. Medium to full-bodied, it stays tight and compact on the palate, with a lively spine of acidity, beautiful precision and focus, ripe yet certainly present tannins, and outstanding length. It’s incredibly elegant, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this gain mid-palate density over the course of its élevage. It’s going to be long-lived. - Jeb Dunnuck

Elderflower and peony aromatics, stunning inky plum colour that is very much a signature of Carmes, where it looks so enticing and ripe visually, and then on the palate you feel this constrasting vibrant lift and drinkablity. Back to the signature squid ink flavour that is the key marker of ripe Cabernet in the vintage, and here the grippy slate texture slows everything slows, slowly humming through the palate. Has a sappy, drinkablity, with crushed rose petals and salted cracker salinity. 60% whole cluster, harvest September 11 to 25. 3.6ph. Distinctive, intense, one for Carmes lovers to celebrate. - Jane Anson

 The 2023 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is increasingly a wine of seamlessness. Whereas the various components were once easily discernible, today Carmes is most often a wine of total beauty. The 2023 is a bit shy, especially in its aromatics. In other words, a pretty big departure from so many other recent vintages that have been far showier at this stage. Technical Director Guillaume Pouthier explains that he plans to give the 2023 longer aging, around 24-26 months, so he approached vinification and the early part of aging in a more reductive style than in the past. As always, Les Carmes is marked by its strong presence of Cabernet Franc and use of whole clusters, but as mentioned above, those signatures are less immediately evident than they once were. Les Carmes has been one of Bordeaux's stars over the last few years. I can't wait to see how the 2023 turns out. -- Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media



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