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. WK
The 2019 Les Carmes Haut-Brion contains 60% whole bunches, matured for 26 months in 82% new oak with 9% each of amphora and foudres. This has a beautifully-defined bouquet with pure Dorset plum, wild mint and incense aromas, just a hint of lavender in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with chiselled tannins, crisp acidity, tensile from start to finish with a long mineral, sapid aftertaste. It will vie with the 2016 for best recent vintage. Tasted at the Les Carmes Haut-Brion vertical at the château.
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.
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.
The only Pessac Leognan I was not able to taste in barrel has turned out beautifully! The wine opens with flowers, smoke, tobacco leaf, herbs, sea-salt, blackberries, plums and forest leaf aromas. If that wasn't enough to steal the show, the wine is silky, intense, fresh, elegant, deep and sensuous on your palate. Multi-layered and multi-faceted, this stunning wine has a seamless finish that doesn't quit. Give it a few years in the cellar before pulling a cork as this has the potential to age and evolve for 2-3 decades with ease. Drink from 2030-2060. Tasted March 2022
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.
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
Tasted by: Georgina Hindle (at Bordeaux, 05 Jan 2022)
Part of Best Pessac & Graves 2019 wines tasted en primeur
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