2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1356341 96 points Vinous

Outer quote mark One of the real highlights of the vintage, the 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion possesses off the charts aromatic intensity and tremendous depth. An exotic mélange of sweet tobacco, menthol, rose petal, licorice, dried herbs and sweet dark fruit builds in a wine endowed with extraordinary beauty. Energetic and vibrant to the core, Les Carmes Haut-Brion was magnificent on the three occasions I have tasted it so far. Don't miss it. (AG) Inner quote mark (3/2020)

94 points Decanter

Outer quote mark This is gorgeous: peony and iris aromas alongside cocoa-dusted black fruits. A saline note gives a mouthwatering finish. Opens up with time in the glass, and is hugely persistent. There is austerity, as you’d expect with high Cabernet levels, but the energy to the tannins bodes well for ageing. (JA) Inner quote mark (5/2018)

94 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark Offering an Haut-Brion-like level of purity and precision, the 2017 Chateau Les Carmes Haut-Brion (41% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, and 29% Cabernet Sauvignon) sports a vivid purple color as well as perfumed notes of blueberries, blackberries, unsmoked tobacco, crushed violets, and spring flowers. It’s not a blockbuster in the mold of the 2015 or 2016 (or 2018), but it has medium to full body, a beautiful elegance and purity, notable minerality, and an exceptional finish. It opens up with time in the glass, and I was able to follow a bottle for 3 days without it ever showing a hint of oxidation. Give bottles 4-5 years of bottle age and enjoy over the following 30 years or more. Guillaume Pouthier and consultant Stephane Derenoncourt have unquestionably raised the quality from this estate, and this 2017 ranks with the gems of Pessac as well as all of Bordeaux. Inner quote mark (2/2020)

94 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Aromas of graphite and spiced wood here. The fruit is nicely ripe, in the redder end of the berry spectrum. The palate has good depth and weight. Quite fine, fresh tannins carry plenty of red-plum flavor. Inner quote mark (1/2020)

93 points Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark Composed of 41% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot and 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion was fermented using 40% whole clusters and aged for around 20 months in French oak barrels, 65% new. Medium to deep garnet-purple, it springs from the glass with fragrant notions of Black Forest cake, kirsch and black raspberries plus touches of cedar chest, red roses, black tea and dried mint. Medium bodied, the palate struts itself with great elegance and poise, featuring restrained, mineral-sparked red and black fruits with a firm, grainy texture and bold freshness, finishing long and perfumed. (LPB) 93+ Inner quote mark (3/2020)

89-92 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark Fresh cherry compote flavors and a light cassis thread work together, picking up light savory and iron notes. Shows charming energy, with twinges of spice and tobacco through the finish. Pure, but a bit shy on stuffing in the end. (JM) Inner quote mark (4/2018)

Jancis Robinson

Outer quote mark Deep crimson. Dark, almost charry, and quite closed at first. Invitingly dark and savoury, stony/mineral. Tannins are really supple and the wine flows across the palate, elegant and harmonious. Delicious already – though not really ready – but should age gracefully. (JH) 17/20 Inner quote mark (10/2019)

K&L Notes

93 points Neal Martin for Vinous: "The 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion was impressive from barrel. It includes 52% whole bunch, the same as in 2016, matured in 70% new oak with 10% in amphora and 20% in foudres. Now in bottle it sports a well-defined bouquet with blackberry, raspberry, hints of lavender coming through with aeration. I appreciate the precision here. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity and quite harmonious. A precise blackberry, tea leaf and clove tinged finish does retain a Burgundy-like allure, the same that I found in barrel." (02/2020)

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By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/20/2018 | Send Email
Pessac 2017s that had a good chunk of Cab Franc tended to shine in early tastings where others struggled - such was the case for Carmes Haut Brion (41% this vintage). The aroma is pure cassis where the palate is clean, elegant, and packed with red fruit (strawberry, cherry), tobacco, and very fine tannins. One of those under-the-radar properties that took a big turn for the better in 2014, the 2017 caps off a string of four very fine vintages for Carmes. Drink 2021 to 2032.

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