Peter Maude Fine Wines
2018, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, PESSAC-LÉOGNAN, Grand Vin de Graves
Bordeaux Blend: Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2018 Les Carmes Haut-Brion was aged in 75% new oak with a touch more matured in foudres. It includes 55% whole bunches. This has a slight confit-like aroma on the nose, plush cranberry and wild strawberry intermingling with cassis and violet; aromatically, this is the more precocious recent vintage. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red fruit, fine tannins, clean and pure with excellent acidity keeping everything on an even keel towards the finish. The 2018 has a caressing texture and is very persistent. I might quibble and say that I just find the nose a little trop, but the palate is superb. Tasted at the Les Carmes Haut-Brion vertical at the château. 94 Neal Martin, Vinous.
The 2018 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a total knock-out, just as it was from barrel. Soaring in its aromatic intensity, Les Carmes dazzles from the very first taste. Inky red fruits, mocha, new leather, liquorice, dried flowers, sage and mint envelop all the senses. Today, the 2018 appears to be slightly closed, but time brings out tons of aromatic energy and nuance. Cabernet Franc plays the leading role, unusual for this part of the region. Franc aromatics and a fair amount of whole cluster savouriness lend energy but also a feeling of richness without weight that is especially appealing. This is a masterpiece from Les Carmes Haut-Brion and Technical Director Guillaume Pouthier. 97 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.
A beautiful nuance of salty caramel is clear even on the nose. On the palate, the concentration and focus is immediately clear, uplifted by touches of gentle salinity. There is really a sense of place and of being itself which I always love about this wine. It's closed of course, but with an unrolling of sappy black fruits, and a freshness that gives you confidence in its future. So much pleasure to be had here, with notes of chocolate, peony and liquorice. Extremely successful, as it was en primeur. 3.62pH. 53% whole-bunch fermentation. IPT95. Harvested 13-28 September. Ageing is mostly in large oak casks, 76% new, plus 9% aged in amphorae. 98 Jane Anson, Decanter.
Drinking Window: 2026 - 2055