2014 Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
The 2014 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is once again a real showstopper. One of the most unique wines in Pessac because of its high amount of Cabernet Franc, the Carmes Haut-Brion offers up a compelling mélange of dark red stone fruits, pomegranate, smoke, tobacco and licorice. The late harvest has resulted in a deep, ripe, super-concentrated wine endowed with tremendous depth. There may be a little freshness missing, but that is a small critique for a wine that delivers so much pleasure. (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.
Beautiful density of fruit with blackberry, dark chocolate and blueberry character. Full-bodied, very fine and silky. Classy for the vintage.
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)
*Barrel Tasting* Fleshy and open in feel already, with dark plum and blueberry notes, layered with light cocoa and fruitcake hints. Has a touch of loamy grip at the very end.