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2014 Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan

Grapes Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Village Pessac-Léognan
Classification Cru Classé
ABV 14%

The 2014 Les Carmes Haut-Brion has a concentrated bouquet with blackberry, bilberry and light brine-like aromas. There is just a touch of warmth from the alcohol that detracts from the delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, rounded and supple in the mouth with a touch of white pepper and clove towards the comparatively conservative finish. Fine. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2021 - 2045 Rating: 91 L&S (Mar 2018)

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The 55% Cabernet Franc component here is fermented as whole bunches. In a vintage like 2014 getting the wood ripe was no problem for this 'city' vineyard and the ensuing density and concentration in the wine is impressive. A joyous note of black Wine Gums is seasoned with lovely clove and warm spice notes. Grip builds here but it is impressive, if not completely classic Pessac. Rating: 92-93 L&S (Apr 2015)

Bright, healthy, deep crimson. Stony nose with masses of ripe fruit. Lots of flesh and interest. Good balance and interest. Drinking range: 2024 - 2043 Rating: 17.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - (Feb 2018)

The Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2014 is a blend of 54% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon from vines that are being converted to organic, undergoing a 30-day cuvaison with 15% to 40% whole clusters. Around 74% of the crop is matured in 80% new oak, 16% in 1,200-liter oak foudres and the remainder in 1-year old oak. Winemaker Guillaume Pouthier (ex-Chapoutier) has fashioned a bold and opulent bouquet with macerated black cherries and boysenberry jam. But it does not really 'sing' of "Pessac-Léognan", not at the moment. The palate is medium-bodied with dry tannin on the entry, but then there is a wave of ripe, black, grainy fruit infused with graphite and cedar and it finishes in a bravura fashion with a seam of coconut originating from the oak. I would want to just check how the oak integrates with time by bottling and it may merit a higher score then. It's gonna need a top wine to match the architectural ambitions of its Philippe Starck-designed winery - this is certainly going in the right direction. Drinking range: 2018 - 2032 Rating: 90 - 92+ Neal Martin, (May 2015)

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