2014 Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
One of the stars of the vintage, the 2014 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is total knock-out. Graphite, smoke, red cherry jam, spice, cured meat, pomegranate and tobacco are just some of the myriad sensations that race out of the glass. Today, the 2014 is gloriously ample on the palate, with remarkable nuance for a wine of its size. The Carmes Haut-Brion has been terrific in two recent tastings. The blend is 54 % Cabernet Franc, 32 % Merlot and 14 % Cabernet Sauvignon, all aged in oak, but with some influence of 500-liter tonneaux and 12-hectoliter casks. Simon Blanchard is the consulting oenologist. (AG)
*Barrel Sample* Dusty tannins float in this impressive wine. It has dark layers of black fruits and acidity that cushion the dry, tannic character, with great freshness at the end.
Extremely perfumed with violets, lavender and hot stones as well as fruit and dark chocolate. Medium-to full-bodied, firm and silky and fresh. A lovely and bright wine now.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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. 90-92+ (NM)
This has a fresh feel, with a juniper streak adding energy to the plum coulis, red currant and bramble notes. Flecks of bay, pepper and tobacco fill in on the finish, giving this good range. Not the densest of the pack, but well done. (JM)