2012 Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1128998 92-93 points James Suckling

 This shows amazing fruit with blackberries and licorice character. Smoky too. Full body, with wonderful fruit and tannins. Goes on for a very, very long time. 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  (4/ 2013)

92-93 points Wine Enthusiast

 This shows amazing fruit with blackberries and licorice character. Smoky too. Full body, with wonderful fruit and tannins. Goes on for a very, very long time. 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon.  (4/ 2013)

90-93 points Wine Spectator

 Juicy and direct, with solid plum, raspberry and bitter cherry notes pushed by woodspice, singed alder and charcoal. Nice range, and with a pleasantly chewy, grippy feel.  (4/ 2013)

89-91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A blend of 44% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon.The medium-bodied, fragrant 2012 Les Carmes Haut Brion offers lots of unsmoked cigar tobacco, red and black currant, scorched earth and toasty notes. This wine, which is now being looked after by Guillaume Pouthier, whom I met when working with Michel Chapoutier in Tain l'Hermitage, has considerable talent, so readers take note. This 2012 possesses impressive purity and density along with its tell-tale elegance and finesse. It should drink well for 10-15 years. This property changed proprietors several years ago and is now owned by a Bordeaux real estate magnate who appears to be committed to pushing Les Carmes Haut-Brion up to the level of its nearby neighbors, La Mission Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion...  (4/ 2013)

89-91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 (44% merlot, 38% cabernet franc and 18% cabernet sauvignon; 14% alcohol; 53% selection for the grand vin): Saturated ruby with purple highlights. Dark plum, blackberry, ink and minerals on the knockout nose. Silky and deep for 2012, but with no shortage of underlying structure. Quite full and complex, with sneaky concentration and building sweetness to the mineral, dark berry and floral flavors. Finishes with superb persistence, very fine tannins and a delicate herbal nuance. This is impressively silky for the year, and one of the best Les Carmes in memory, although I would have preferred just a little less alcohol.  (6/ 2013)

K&L Notes

* Very intense black fruits and a firm structure frame this wine. Compact, but really well balanced. Good! (Ralph Sands, K&L Bordeaux expert)

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:

Pessac-Leognan/Graves

- Graves is the large red and white wine region located to the southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne River. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the red wines from the area, while the whites are mixtures of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The most important area within the Graves is the village of Pessac-Leognan. Most of the great chateaux, including Haut Brion, a premier cru and the only wine outside of the Medoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, are located in this small appellation. Graves derives its name from the rocky, stony terrain of the region. Many people believe that the stony soil radiates the day's heat at night and thus makes the grapes ripen earlier than the other regions in Bordeaux.