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Les Carmes Haut Brion 2017

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan
Grape VarietyMerlot/Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon

This small (7.6 hecatre) property is planted with 55% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and has a stylish new winery designed by Philippe Starck. Winemaker Guillaume Pouthier previously worked at Chapoutier in the Rhone, and he uses up to half whole bunch fermentation.

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Tasting Notes

A lighter framed vintage, goes long on subtle woodsmoke, and we are back to roses here but they are petals and rosebuds, not stems, along with fragrant peony, raspberry, redcurrant, cassis. Graceful, plenty of sappy tannins and slate minerality, with liftoff through the finish. A lovely wine, graceful with finesse and hidden power. Can drink earlier than either the 2015 or 2016, just ensure you carafe for a few hours. 50% stems. Ageing takes place in a mix of 25% new oak, 5% oak casks, and 10% amphoras.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, February 2022

The 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion was impressive from barrel. It includes 52% whole bunch, the same as in 2016, matured in 70% new oak with 10% in amphora and 20% in foudres. Now in bottle it sports a well-defined bouquet with blackberry, raspberry, hints of lavender coming through with aeration. I appreciate the precision here. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity and quite harmonious. A precise blackberry, tea leaf and clove tinged finish does retain a Burgundy-like allure, the same that I found in barrel. Drink 2022-2042.

Neal Martin, vinous.com (March 2020), February 2020

Aromas of graphite and spiced wood here. The fruit is nicely ripe, in the redder end of the berry spectrum. The palate has good depth and weight. Quite fine, fresh tannins carry plenty of red-plum flavor. Drink or hold.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2020

Les Carmes Haut Brion 2017 has a medium to deep garnet-purple color. It is a little closed to start, soon unfurling to offer notes of kirsch, redcurrants, and black raspberries, plus touches of rose oil, dried sage, and crushed rocks. Light to medium-bodied, the palate is tightly wound and energetic with bags of bright, crunchy red fruits and fine-grained tannins to support it, finishing long and lifted.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, December 2022

In 2017 the blend is 41% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon from a yield of 43 hl/ha. production was "Burgundy-style" with part whole bunch and part de-stemmed but not crushed. 40,000 bottles to be produced. Hedgerow, spicy green peppercorn and blueberry on the nose, this is a unique aromatic profile in Bordeaux. The grip from the stems creates a different texture too, sappy and earthy. Lots of graphite and earthiness sit opposite some very ripe red fruits and a touch of rosemary. This wine needs time to knit together, as despite the enticing fragrance and unique flavour profile, the elements are yet to meld as one.

Farr Vintners, April 2018

The nose is tight and fresh the start of the palate light bramble and bilberry. The mid tannins are structured and although there is a sweeter feel some rich black cherry at the back it finishes with firm black fruits. Drink 2025-2038.

Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, May 2018

Very powerful, focussed and mineral, this is a structured wine with serious presence and poise. There is a lot of oak on the nose but this doesn’t detract from the fruit which is more than capable of handling it. There are some beautiful flavours here and they are delivered over a very long palate. Impressive.

Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2018
Read more tasting notes...

The 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion includes 10% more Cabernet Sauvignon than last year with 45% whole bunch fruit. There is 13.2° alcohol. It is aged in 60% new oak (less than previous years), 30% one-year old oak and 10% amphora that have been baked at 1,200° Celsius instead of 500° Celsius that means there is less oxygen ingress. It has a very pure and strangely, almost Burgundy-like bouquet, perhaps somewhere towards the mid-Côte de Nuits. Dark cherries, wild strawberry, a hint of orange sorbet and later a touch of glycerol. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannin and plenty of sappy, black fruit sprinkled with white pepper and bay leaf. As Guillaume Pouthier mentioned in conversation, there is a linearity to this Les Carmes Haut-Brion and one has to admire the precision and focus on the finish. Afford this five or six years in bottle before approaching and you will have a very delicious and distinctive Pessac-Léognan on your hands. Drink 2022-2040.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, May 2018

A tight and linear red with a firm and intense, pretty center palate of blackberry and wet-earth character. Full-bodied, reserved and focused. Really compacted.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2018

Composed of 41% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion was fermented using 40% whole clusters and aged for around 20 months in French oak barrels, 65% new. Medium to deep garnet-purple, it springs from the glass with fragrant notions of Black Forest cake, kirsch and black raspberries plus touches of cedar chest, red roses, black tea and dried mint. Medium bodied, the palate struts itself with great elegance and poise, featuring restrained, mineral-sparked red and black fruits with a firm, grainy texture and bold freshness, finishing long and perfumed. 2023-2045

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (March 2020), March 2020

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a little reticent to begin, opening up to fragrant notes of potpourri and oolong tea over a core of crushed red and black currants plus hints of violets, dark chocolate and cinnamon stick. Medium-bodied, it has an ambitious palate with firm, grainy tannins slightly masking the elegant fruit, finishing with good length though just a tad chewy.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (236), April 2018

This is rather gorgeous, with a real sense of climbing through the palate, expanding outwards and upwards as it goes, with high aromatics of peony and iris alongside touches of tight, cocoa-dusted black fruits and a sense of restrained power. A saline touch gives a mouthwatering finish. It opens up with time in the glass, and is hugely persistent. There is austerity, as you would expect with such high Cabernet levels, but the energy and flexibility to the tannins bodes extremely well for ageing. Budbreak happened on 12 March at Carmes Haut-Brion in 2017, highlighting just what an early vintage this was. When the frost arrived, it affected almost all of their second site out in Martillac, where they produce Le C de Carmes, while the vines around the main estate in Bordeaux were not impacted. The result is a wine that has clearly reached a good level of ripeness and is succulent in the mouth. They used 48% whole-bunch fermentation here, pretty much the same amount as last year - another clue to the ripeness of the stalks. 80% new oak (more than the last two years), with 30% of malolactic in barrels and the rest aged in 10% large Stockinger cask and 10% in amphora. This is a very good and will age well. Harvested 4-9 September (second wine not harvested until 19 September). 3.59pH.
Drinking Window 2025 - 2040

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2018
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.