Les Carmes Haut Brion 2015

RegionBordeaux
SubregionPessac-Leognan
ColourRed
TypeStill


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Tasting Notes

Very polished and poised with an immensely powerful core of tannin that drives incredible length on the palate. Fruits are deep in the dark-berry spectrum, encapsulating a terrific sense of freshness through the finish. Great wine. Try from 2024.

Score: 97James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2018

The 2015 Les Carmes Haut-Brion has a clean and fresh bouquet with blackberry, terracotta tiles, undergrowth and tobacco scents, all very detailed and demonstrating more complexity than its peers. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, taut and linear, lace-like in texture with a fine bead of acidity toward the finish. Guillaume Pouthier made a fantastic Pessac-Léognan that may warrant a higher score in the future. Tasted blind at the Southwold 2015 Bordeaux tasting.

Score: 94Neal Martin, vinous.com, July 2019

The 2015 Les Carmes Haut-Brion has a beautiful bouquet with layers of red cherry, raspberry and cedar, a touch of cassis that emerges with time. This is a very sophisticated bouquet. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, wonderful structure and focus. This is precise but full of personality, the Cabernet Franc very expressive on the bell pepper-tinged finish. This is a very impressive Les Carmes Haut Brion with the substance to merit long-term cellaring (if you wish). This is definitely one to watch. Anticipated maturity: 2020 - 2045.

Score: 94Neal Martin, -, March 2018

The 2015 Les Carmes Haut Brion is a blend of 30% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon that was cropped at 25 hl/ha between 24 September and 11 October. This vintage includes around 45% whole cluster fruit and it went through a four-week ferment with just one pump-over and one pigeage, using a bladder inside the tank to submerge the cap (like an infusion tea). It is aged 10% in clay amphora and 90% in oak barrels, which includes 20% in Stockinger barrels, around 60% new wood. The alcohol degree is 14% and a pH of 3.7. "This vintage is very sensual because of the softness of tannin. I think it is very typical of Pessac," ex-Chapoutier winemaker Guillaume Pouthier told me. The nascent wine is inky purple in color. The nose is very closed and demands a lot of coaxing from the glass, reluctantly giving up black cherries, cassis and iodine scents. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannin, extremely pure, hints of black olive and Japanese nori infusing the black fruit. It has a very fine structure with good grip on the finish. The Cabernet Franc comes through strongly here, defining the start and finish and in some ways, it needs the Merlot to become more expressive to "fill in the gaps." Of course, that is precisely what élevage is for. This is an intriguing Pessac-Léognan that reminds me of Pomerol (Lafleur perhaps?). Difficult to judge now, I look forward to retasting this once in bottle, because it may well deserve a higher score. Drink 2026-2050.

Score: 92/94Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (224), April 2016

The 2015 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a blend of 44% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 24 months in 80% new and 20% one-year-old oak. Deep garnet-purple colored, it has pronounced notes of crushed black and red currants, warm blackberries and black pepper with touches of cedar chest, pencil lead and tilled soil. Medium-bodied, very fine and with plenty of black and red fruit layers, it has a plush backbone and seamless acid, finishing earthy. 2021 - 2039

Score: 94+Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (Interim Fe), February 2018

This shows incredible texture with the finest velvet mouthfeel. Super character of chocolate, walnut and orange peel. Great length and subtlety. Lots of whole berry fermentation and maceration gives the wine grace and fruit. Then it kicks in. Great power and structure at the end. Very unique. 45% cabernet franc, 25% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot. 30,000 bottles made.

Score: 96/97James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2016

Once again, Les Carmes Haut-Brion stakes its place as one of the most distinctive wines being made in Bordeaux. The 2015 exudes richness, power and intensity. Layers of dark red stone fruit, cedar, tobacco, smoke and pomegranate build as the wine shows off its voluptuous personality. Les Carmes Haut-Brion stands out for many reasons, including its high percentage of Cabernet Franc, which is unusual in Pessac. In 2015, winemaker Guillaume Poutier also added a dollop of whole clusters to give the wine more aromatic lift. The use of whole clusters is of course quite common in Burgundy and the Rhône (were Poutier formerly made the wines at Chapoutier), but is very rarely seen in Bordeaux. This full-throttle Pessac will drink well for decades, but it also needs time to shed some of its considerable baby fat. The blend is 44% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot and 24% Cabernet Sauvignon. Simon Blanchard is the consulting winemaker. Tasted three times.

Score: 90/93Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, April 2016

Tasted blind. Dark crimson. Much juicier than most. Very alive and vibrant.
Drink 2024-2040

Score: 17.5Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2019

A Stéphane Derenoncourt wine. Dark crimson. Sweet and thick. Not really enough lift and drive. Not obviously a Graves. Too heavy.
Drink 2023-2035

Score: 16Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2016

Deep crimson. Smells riper than the Pessacs and Graves tasted so far but still pure dark fruit. Savoury, dry and elegant, more length than depth at the moment and less fruit depth than I expected from the nose, but I think it will flesh out in the bottle. (JH) 14.5%
Drink 2020-2032

Score: 16.5Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, November 2017

This small (10 hectare) property is planted with 55% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and has a stylish new winery designed by Philippe Starck. Less than 2000 cases are produced annually. The 2015 was produced, using whole bunches, from 45% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.

 Farr Vintners, April 2016

The 2015 is an interesting blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the balance Cabernet Sauvignon that saw a fair amount of whole clusters in the fermentation and 90% of the blend brought up in barrel and the rest in amphoras. Its deep purple color is followed by a beautiful perfumed of ripe currant and plums fruits, chocolate, ground herbs, and damp earth. With full-bodied richness, terrific ripeness, building tannin, and an underlying sense of elegance and purity that only grows with time in the glass, it needs 4-5 years of cellaring but is going to cruise in the cellar for 3-4 decades. 2022 - 2062

Score: 96Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, November 2017

Spicy and fresh there is a lot happening on the nose and the start of the palate is bright. Rich ripe black cherry in the middle the fleshiness is balanced by freshness. The back palate tends to lack depth and the finish if firm and fresh.

Score: 88/91Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2016

This bijou property has way less Cabernet Sauvignon in its blend than its more famous First
Growth neighbour, but this certainly doesn’t lack structure or ageing potential in 2015. Mint,
dried herbs and dense damson and blackcurrant fruit are supported by a frame of tannin and
extract. Impressive stuff. Drink: 2025-35

Score: 93Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2016

Very tense and firm with energetic tannins lifting a lovely purple nose and bright black cherry fruit. There is a lot of oak
here, but it works. Nice and solid, but also long and well-balanced this is a powerful and calm Carmes.

Score: 17.5+Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2016

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.