|Grapes||Cab Franc, Merlot, Cab Sauv|
Dense and broad, with warm dark plum, fig and blackberry confiture flavors rolling over one another, backed by a broad swath of tar and roasted apple wood. This is packed with serious grip, featuring bramble, licorice snap and intense sweet tobacco notes on the back end, all of which combine with the fruit for a powerfully rendered finish. Distinct and impressive. Drinking range: 2025 - 2040 Rating: 95 L&S (Jan 2018)
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The first wine made in the extraordinary and rather beautiful new Philippe Starck-designed chai, which resembles a cross between a submarine and a dreadnought battleship. We'd love to share a photo but it has been firmly embargoed until the unveiling date of the 28th of June. 45% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot. Vinified using a technique learned by winemaker Guillaume Pouthier from Chapoutier in the Rhone, where he previously worked, with layers of destemmed and whole bunch fruit in the vats. They used balloons inflated in the top of the vats to submerge the cap and allow it to infuse very gently, avoiding remontages. Very dark colour, with a surprisingly garnet edge. Rich and plush with patisserie fruit - ripe blueberry pie. Big volume and smooth delivery, still with real expression and this velouté dark fruit. 'Crémeux et sensuelle' says Guillaume. Quite an extreme wine, but but it remains within bounds: nicely done. Rating: 92-94 L&S (Apr 2016)
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. Drinking range: 2024 - Rating: 97 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Feb 2018)
Cabernets are dominant and 50% whole-bunch pressed. 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. Drinking range: 2020 - 2032 Rating: 16.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Nov 2017)
Château Les Carmes Haut Brion
The core of this property is a five hectare vineyard, the only one with an address in Bordeaux itself, Carmes Haut Brion (although neighbouring Haut Brion and co. in Pessac). The little vineyard of Carmes HB, with a dominance of Cabernet Franc - very rare in the area - is planted at a high density of ten thousand vines per hectare. It was once part of Haut Brion, but was given by its owner to an order of nuns, the 'Carmes Blanc', hence the name.
When it was bought by property developer Patrice Pichet in 2010, the vat room consisted of three huge vats, one for each grape variety. Since then the vineyard has been completely restructured, and a new winery has been built.
Pichet has also bought one half of a property called Le Thil, and renamed it the 'Clos des Carmes'. As such it is not a second wine, but an entirely different property. The other half was bought by Smith Haut Lafitte.
M Pichet has also built a rather beautiful new chai, designed by Philippe Starck and the architect Luc Arsène-Henry, which resembles a cross between a submarine and a dreadnought battleship. We'd love to share a photo but it has been firmly embargoed until the unveiling date of the 28th of June 2016.
the winemaker/general manager is Guillaume Pouthier, who previously worked at Chapoutier in the Rhone, and he has brought with him the technique of using up to half whole bunch fermentation, creating layers the destemmed and whole bunch fruit in the vats. One to watch.
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