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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.

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Domaine de Chevalier 2021- 80% C. Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% C. Franc and 5% P. Verdot. It's the first vintage with that much C. Sauvignon in the blend. 13% alcohol. Intense black- and redcurrants, crushed rocks, coffee beans, cigar box, graphite, fresh, fine structure and complexity. Persistent aftertaste. Splendid effort for the vintage. 94-95p.

2m 30d ago

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  7 wines 

2020  Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc / With the pop of grapefruit, white peach, lemon peel, flowers, orange rind and honeysuckle in the nose, and a creamy, sweet, fresh, juicy, slightly honeyed, lush, white peach and citrus finish, you have all the ingredients needed for a luscious, white Bordeaux wine. The wine was produced from a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon. 97  Pts

3m 16d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  745 wines 

This years "en primeur" tasting seemed like a journey in time. Bordeaux is back to a more moderate alcohol level and the style is lighter and more elegant. One could say the wines are reminiscent of the 80s, however made with more experience and the modern techniques today. It is not a powerful vintage. The wines are elegant, however the well made ones have an excellent persistence, depth and length. They offer a convincing potential for a long ageing and promote elegance in Bordeaux again. It is a true vintage of terroir although there is a lot of talk about a vintners vintage. However, terroir was the decisive factor in 2021.


Professor Axel Marchal has presented the 10 key points of this vintage on the occasion of the Union des Grands Crus press tasting:


"1. The start of the growing season was marked by severe frost on the 7th and 8th of April.


2. Wet and gloomy weather in May slowed down the vine growth although a providential window of fine weather helped flowering unfold in ideal conditions in early June.


3. Thunderstorms in June slowed down the onset of water stress.


4: Cool, dull weather in July increased the threat of vine diseases.


5. Véraison (colour change) was observed in mid-August, while vine growth had not stopped yet.


6. Thanks to a cool summer, the dry white wines are brilliant, lively and aromatic.


7. The wonderful Indian Summer allowed the red grape varieties to ripen in ideal conditions and preserved aromas.


8. The Merlots are fresh and aromatic while the Cabernets from the finest terroirs are well-structured with good balance.


9. The development of Botrytis cinerea in Sauternes was delayed by the cool summer and eventually triggered by rainfall in mid-September.


10. Despite low yields, the botrytised sweet white wines are of excellent quality."


It will be exciting to see the evolution of this vintage which produced in many cases yields on a very low scale. Arguably it will be a vintage praised for it finesse in the future. A vintage rated on finesse and persistence rather than on sheer power and opulence.

4m 26d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  19 wines 

2019 Château Haut-Bailly/ Ruby. Blackberries, cassis, anise, some spices, fruit driven nose, nuanced and layered, scented. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, darkfruits, anise, liquorice and spices, intense, still fine boned, long finish. Touch of alcohol warmth. 96

5m 5d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  73 wines 

Château Langoa Barton 2020 – Sister property to Leoville Barton and similar to her big "sister" in terms of the quality. Big scaled on the nose and palate with creamy blackcurrants, graphite, fat tannin, strong backbone, and striking complexity. Classy stuff.  53.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 8.5% Cabernet Franc. 13.5% alcohol.


94+p. 

1y 2m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  19 wines 

2018 Château Haut-Brion/Ruby. Intense, lush dark fruits, spices, liquorice, blueberries, vanilla, intense, deep and powerful nose. Both 2017 and 2018 has needed a few hours open after pouring the first glass to reveal their layers, very compact wines and Haut-Bailly had a similar tightness to them this vintage. Or maybe it was the shipment. But they have needed a good six to eight hours of following. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dense, sort of a blockbuster, with silk cravat and Savile Row suit, Rocky Balboa going to visit the Queen. This is somewhat different for Haut-Brion, plusher, lusher, alcohol is high, but they have been for quite a few vintages now. There is so much of everything in here, but does it have the grace of 1989? 2017 besides it lacks some elements, but also gains in finesse. At least at this stage. This may go higher, as with many 2018’s, it depends on where they stand when the baby fat goes. How well do they then cope with some of the excesses? Still a grand vin, no doubt about it. 98

1y 3m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  56 wines 

Bordeaux 2020 Vintage - Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2020- lots of aromatic blackcurrants and black cherries on the nose, powerful on the palate with a strong backbone, big concentration, multilayered and with great length. Long, long finish. Impressive effort. 96-97p.

1y 3m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  153 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage - part two

1y 4m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  650 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage 


2020 began with mild temperatures even breaking temperature record highs at the beginning of February. These conditions led to a premature budbreak. Budding developed unevenly, very much depending on the locations although the coo and humid weather in April had not a very significant impact on slowing down the growth of the vines. Finally all the vines came into bloom at the end of May without any significant coulure or millerandage. At the start of June, frequent rain intensified the pressure of mildew. From mid-June, the weather changed. The whole Bordelais saw a period of very dry weather for two months. However, the earlier accumulation of water reserves prevented water stress. Around July 18 a heat wave began to build up but the cool nighty prevented water stress on the wines again. The veraison started at the end of July and went on till the beginning of August. The heatwave in August accentuated water stress, but shorter rainy episodes avoided a complete block. The dry and sunny weather in September encouraged the grapes maturity and harvest started on September 10 with a rather mild weather. Towards the middle of September, rain prevented the fruits from wilting but as its frequency was quite concerning, the haves was pushed forward. "Le diabolique" is the title given to this vintage by Véronique Sanders. It is a very special French word, which is not correctly translated with “diabolic” in English. In France, the expression means to overcome the devil. And the vintners succeeded. 2020 is clearly a vintner’s vintage which asked a permanent reinvention of the wineries, struggling hard with this difficult vintage. However, the vintage surprises with excellent wines, exemplary freshness and elegance and very dense structure. In former times it was said that the vine has to suffer to make exquisite wines, in this vintage the people have suffered to make a great wine. The first part of notes for this tasting with over 800 wines you will find today. More notes will follow over the coming days.

1y 4m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Bordeaux 2018 in bottle / After having tasted more than 150 wines already (primo January 2021), big and small properties, I can already make a very bold statement. This vintage in red is really something, and I've to backtrack my earlier opinion based on barrel tasting, that it's inconsistent compared to 2010 and 2016. It seems that the time spent in barrels and final blends benefitted the wines a lot and they're of high quality everywhere in Bordeaux. 

1y 8m ago

 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.

2y 10m 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.

2y 10m ago

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