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News

Les Carmes Haut-Brion amongst the most promising producers of their appellation according to Bettane+Desseauve

The experts of Bettane+Desseauve selected in every vineyard of France the producers who appear to have the potential to climb at the highest level of their appellation.

Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion :
« Small vineyard in the neighbourhood of Haut-Brion, also saved from the urbanization of Pessac, Les Carmes Haut-Brion produces a very harmonious and subtle wine, in which the Cabernet franc in particular brings its incomparable delicacy. The property was bought in December, 2010 by Patrice Pichet, at the head of the Pichet real estate group and since then has been particularly shining. It is undoubtedly a jewel promised to a world celebrity. »

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History

The Carmes Haut-Brion estate goes back to the 16thcentury and has remained remarkably stable over the years. In 1584, Jean de Pontac, the lord of Haut-Brion, donated a large mill with surrounding meadows and vines to the Carmelite Order. This haven of peace and garden of plenty also had an unlimited supply of pure water thanks to a spring feeding a fountain calledd’Eubrion.

The Carmelites remained the sole owners of the estate for over two centuries, which gradually acquired the name of « Carmes Haut-Brion » over the years. They also expanded their land holding to other parts of the Haut-Brion vineyard.

Taken over by the state during the French Revolution, Les Carmes Haut-Brion was sold in 1840 to Léon Colin, a Bordeaux wine merchant and ancestor of the Chantecailles. The Chantecaille-Furt family owned and managed the estate for generations, until quite recently.

A new chapter in the château’s history began in 2010 when it was purchased by the Pichet real estate group, established in the Aquitaine region a quarter of a century previous by Patrice Pichet. The property at this time consisted of 5 hectares of vines as well as beautiful grounds designed by landscape artist Louis-Bernard Fischer in the 19th century. Although this prestigious acquisition was a natural part of the group’s diversification strategy, it also reflected the founder’s passion for Bordeaux wine and his strong belief in the estate’s unique potential.

Encircled by the city of Bordeaux, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a jewel of an estate with an outstanding terroir that is managed with the greatest of care and attention. Furthermore, major investments have been made in the vineyard, cellars, winemaking facilities and work force. This is all part of ambitious plans to realize the full potential of one of the most beautiful estates in the Pessac-Léognan appellation.

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Vineyards

Although, historically speaking, Les Carmes Haut-Brion was originally outside the city, it is presently surrounded by the city of Bordeaux and two of its suburbs. This urban vineyard is thus the only one to have an address in the capital of the Aquitaine region:  20 rue des Carmes in Bordeaux. This location is important because it has a mild mircoclimate conducive to ripening. The landscaped grounds and abundance of water thanks to the Le Peugue stream that crosses the estate are at the heart of an ecosystem highly beneficial to winegrowing.

Separated by Le Peugue, the terroir consists of two slopes with naturally permeable soil made up of gravel, clay and sand in variable proportions. This unique combination of soil and microclimate explains Les Carmes Haut-Brion’s finesse.

The atypical blend of grape varieties (55% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon) is yet another factor in what makes the estate so special. These proportions are particularly well-adapted to the terroir and contribute to the wine’s unique profile: complex aromatics, both powerful and refined, in keeping with the very finest wines of Pessac-Léognan

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Winemaking

When Patrice Pichet acquired Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion in 2010, he intended to transform this unique estate into a showcase.

Blessed with a prestigious terroir in the historic birthplace of the great wines of Bordeaux, the estate clearly needed facilities in keeping with its status, combining the best of tradition and modern technology for future vintages. Visitors also needed be welcomed in an appropriate setting.

A lover of great wine as well as design and architecture, Patrice Pichet naturally called on two famous professionals: the famous designer Philippe Starck and the architect Luc Arsène-Henry. They will be responsible for building and decorating the new vat room, ageing cellar and reception area.

Above and beyond new facilities, the aim is to integrate the estate in the city by constructing something unique and worthy of such an outstanding wine.

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Inside information

PATRICE PICHETowner

"There were two reasons behind my acquisition of Les Carmes Haut-Brion: one is my love of fine wine and the other is that, as a corporate CEO, it fit in with my development strategy.   Motivated by my passion for wine and the desire to diversify Groupe Pichet’s real estate investments, I made a concerted effort to find just the right wine estate. This unfortunately did not bear fruit for quite some time…However, I was struck by Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion the minute I saw it. Its location in the heart of the city and the beautiful grounds immediately attracted me.

My heart was won over from the very first, and I perceived this historic family-owned estate as a jewel that only needed polishing to reveal its intrinsic brilliance. An ambitious investment plan has been implemented to do just this. Relying on much-respected professionals – Guillaume Pouthier was appointed manager and Stéphane Derenoncourt has been our consultant for several years – I have been helped to make the best possible choices with regard to viticultural practices, expanding the vineyard, and making the wine."

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Bordeaux has been on a hot roll lately. Think about it. 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2018 and who knows, even though it is early, 2019 is also looking good!
Each vintage has its own mark, its individual sense of identity and uniqueness of character. 2016 Bordeaux is such a great vintage!  Consider this. Out of all those above-named vintages, there are 2016 wines better than you find in any of those years. And that is really saying something!
In 2016, like in all great years, every appellation produced beautiful wines, and each has its own stars. You can find fabulous wines on both banks and in all price ranges. The Petit Chateaux are superb. Right Bank wines are gorgeous and some of the best wines from the Medoc are potentially the best-ever from their respective vineyards.
2016 has it all. The wines combine concentration of flavor, purity of fruit, zesty acidity, ripe tannins, power, elegance, refinement and richness. The aromatics are complex, and the length and mouthfeel go on and on. The best wines offer the ability to age and evolve for decades!
2016 is the most recent bottled vintage in Bordeaux. The wines are currently available to consumers. If you are seeking to enjoy the best of the best, this article is for you.
During both tasting trips to Bordeaux this year, I tasted close to 500 recently bottled 2016 wines. These are the top 25 wines of the vintage.

11m 4d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  23 wines 

1971 Bordeaux vertical tasting - 1971 vintage in Bordeaux followed after highly acclaimed 1970 vintage. Spring was rather cold and damp. Good sunny and warm weather arrived in June and stayed until harvest was finished. Small yields compared with big harvest in 1970. Wines on Right Bank did better than in 1970, while Left Bank did more or less opposite thing.
Generally, wines tasted below (except white D.D.Chevalier) did very well despite age certificate saying 48 years old, with some real surprises. Several wines have still at least 10 years more of eventful life.
Tasting was semi-blind, meaning we didn’t know in which order wines showed up in flights and there were 3 additional wines served blind (Giscours, Charmes Chambertin and Filhot).  Tasting started with white D.d.Chevalier 1971.It had a touch of madeira over it, otherwise it tasted OK. Quick consumption strongly recommended! 86p.

11m 22d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  44 wines 

I’ll refer to what Guillaume Poithier, manager of Les Carmes Haut Brion told me during my visit in the end of March 2019 – “2018 started like a nightmare and finished like a dream. It was vintage of belief – you could choose what you wanted to do with wine”.


It was a year of two extremes - a lot of rain in the spring causing quite many outbreaks of mildew, which particulary attacked Merlot and a glorious summer durings months of July, August and September. All these three months were particulary dry and created a fundament for great quality.


Water from the spring showers was well stored in limestone/clay based soils, allowing vine roots to "drink" it when they needed to. Mildew cut production at some chateaux by app. 50% and up to 90% at biodynamicly run oroperties. Grapes from vines on gravelly soils looked pretty small and thick skinned to me. Warm days and cool nights did once again preserve aromas and freshness.


With long term forecasts promising perfect weather during harvest, there was no need to rush it, but wine growers could risk high alcohol levels if they waited too long. Harvest of grapes in two colors started at normal time in Bordeaux, white finished by mid September and red finished more or less on Right Bank by 5th October, while late ripening soils (f.i. around St.Etienne de Lise) have more or less finished by mid-October. Haut Medoc finished harvest by mid-October. 


When I did my annual check of the harvest in October 2018, I noticed that the colour of the mousse (foam) was pink to medium-red, which promised huge fatness and big concentration in wines. It was duly confirmed when I tasted them for two weeks during primeur tastings in March/April 2019.

1y 6m ago

 Andre Brattland, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  17 wines 

2015 Château Cheval Blanc – 99p / The power meets the delicacies and merges into amazing fragrances with distinctive black currant, cherries, raspberry, violet, anise, cedar and light sweet smoke.
 
Delicious rich and delicate wine that shows itself from the utmost charm. Brilliant fruit quality with darker raspberry, pencil and sweet liquorice. There is really depth in the wine. Tight yet beautiful tanins are labeled with a hot saltiness on the excellent finish. Fantastic wine for the next 30 years. 99 points.

1y 6m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  36 wines 

Primeur tastings of the 2017 vintage: I spent 2.5 weeks in Bordeaux in April, before primeur week, during primeur week and after primeur week, tasting app. 400 samples of 2017 and app. 100 wines from other vintages.


So what’s the deal with 2017 vintage? It’s clear that it is winemaker’s vintage. Those who vinified carefully and didn’t fall in the trap of harvesting too late or too early, pushing extraction too much and using too much new oak, made some stunning wines. Imho, 2017 is similar in quality to 2014 vintage but without the roughness of tannin of this vintage. Fruit is riper in 2017 and tannin too compared to 2014, the silkiness and velvety texture reminds me of 2012 and 2016, freshness and acidity is like in 2014. There is a lot of charm, elegance and finesse in many wines. Generally, 2017 has not same level of density, concentration and complexity as 2015 and 2016, but wait a minute…..some properties managed to touch the level of 2015 vintage!


It’s very interesting to see many different styles of winemaking in 2017. You can clearly recognize the direction a given chateau goes towards. It’s also great to see some chateaux leave the modern way (big extraction and excess of new oak) of making wines and go back to more expressing character of the soil and traditional style of wine from given district/commune.


My feeling is that Pauillac and Saint Estephe together with Pomerol have been the most consistent wine producing areas in Bordeaux and made the best wines in 2017 among red wines. Saint-Emilion, Margaux, Pessac-Leognan and Saint-Julien are close, but significantly more irregular. Dry whites and dry sweet are significantly better that their counterparts in 2016 and 2015 and are imho on the level of 2013 vintage, which was very successful for whites in Bordeaux.


At the time of writing this report (end of April 2018), several chateaux came out with 2017 prices and it seems that 20% down on 2016 prices could be a reality and trend to follow. Let’s hope so.

2y 5m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  45 wines 

2017 is a vintage bringing back Bordeaux to its roots, offering a very classic wine style with lower alcohol levels than in the previous years but with often excellent aromatic expression. 2015 and 2016 have surely been better vintages than last year, but based on a first impression 2017 seems to be better than 2014. The evolution will show, that 2017 is far from becoming a "forgotten vintage". Some nice surprises will be waiting for us.

2y 5m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  45 wines 

Château Haut Brion 2017 / 9900 cases made. 11600 in 2016 Ruby. Scented. Dark fruity, detailed, violets, some red fruits, blackberries, cassis, blueberries, floral, seductive nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, dark berries, anise, spices, structured, juicy and an incredible length, 14,25 alcohol. very long indeed. 96-98p

2y 5m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  42 wines 

2014 Château Mouton Rothschild / Ruby. Anise, spices, liquorice, exotic spices, cassis, blueberries, light minerals note beneath, layered nose, beautiful depth. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, anise, cassis, blueberries, layered and nuanced, spices, blackberries, exotic spices, bazar, minerals, layered and deep. 97

2y 8m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  161 wines 

Bordeaux 2016 vintage!

3y 6m ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  126 wines 

Every now and again one stumbles across a paradox that confounds the accepted natural order of things. The 2016 Bordeaux vintage was born out of a growing season that was near-catastrophe and near-perfection. After the Hesperian Dragon’s relentless torment, the Titan God Atlas had seemingly kept the sky aloft with the help of a Phoenix. Following five months of diabolical weather patterns, a warm to hot dry summer arrived in the nick of time, not only saving a vintage, but creating one of the most spectacular vintages in a lifetime.


 The sense of relief in Bordeaux must have been as thrilling as avoiding the bullet of Russian Roulette, or the adrenalin of surviving a base-jump. The razor’s edge has never been so exquisitely fine. While the end result is not always perfect, with the odd abrasions here and there, the overall quality of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage is remarkably consistent with many Chateaux making some of their best wines in 50 years. Typically, the wines have deep colours, pure fruit aromatics, generous saturated flavours, dense rich tannin structures and bell clear acidities. Precision, freshness, elegance, smoothness and “delicate opulence” are words that are being used by various Chateaux to describe their wines.


 The Bordelais are, of course, the world’s greatest spin doctors. They leave snake charmers for dead when it comes to the art of mesmerising. The newly opened and impressive Cité du Vin, which sits on the banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, sparkles like a polished turd; a monument to the exaggerations and optimism of this particular type of fine wine game. Momentum is achieved through belief. There is no room for wavering or self-doubt.

3y 6m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  75 wines 

In 2016 Pauillac has made some excellent wines and on the top, Mouton has made something very special and might be wine of the vintage competing with Petrus. Lots of estate has made excellent wines from Pauillac this year. Saint-Estephe has also made stunning wines and Cos d'Estournel has made one of the greatest wines I have ever tasted from them. Northern Médoc is far better in 2016 than in 2015, but for me, 2016 on a whole delivers more. 2015 for me eas a bit hyped even if the wines were very good indeed. 2016 probably has the edge over 2011 as well that is seriously undervalued in the market, but will give many some surprises for the future.

3y 6m ago

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