Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion 2017 - Bordeaux Futures
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a little reticent to begin, opening up to fragrant notes of potpourri and oolong tea over a core of crushed red and black currants plus hints of violets, dark chocolate and cinnamon stick. Medium-bodied, it has an ambitious palate with firm, grainy tannins slightly masking the elegant fruit, finishing with good length though just a tad chewy.
Barrel Sample: 91-93+
93 Points Robert Parker Wine Advocate
Shortly before he shuffled off his mortal coil, at the age of 101, Jean de Pontac, Lord of the Manor of Haut-Brion, considered he had to earn his seat in heaven.
In 1584, he therefore donated a water-mill, surrounded by meadows and wines, to the Carmelites of Haut-Brion.
The Friars kept the name "Haut-Brion" for 200 years, before common usage gradually changed it into "Carmes Haut-Brion".
It was bought at the beginning of the last century by Léon Colin, a wine negociant in Bordeaux and a direct ancestor of the current owners, the Chantecaille-Furt family.
This is rather gorgeous, with a real sense of climbing through the palate, expanding outwards and upwards as it goes, with high aromatics of peony and iris alongside touches of tight, cocoa-dusted black fruits and a sense of restrained power. A saline touch gives a mouthwatering finish. It opens up with time in the glass, and is hugely persistent. There is austerity, as you would expect with such high Cabernet levels, but the energy and flexibility to the tannins bodes extremely well for ageing. Budbreak happened on 12 March at Carmes Haut-Brion in 2017, highlighting just what an early vintage this was. When the frost arrived, it affected almost all of their second site out in Martillac, where they produce Le C de Carmes, while the vines around the main estate in Bordeaux were not impacted. The result is a wine that has clearly reached a good level of ripeness and is succulent in the mouth. They used 48% whole-bunch fermentation here, pretty much the same amount as last year - another clue to the ripeness of the stalks. 80% new oak (more than the last two years), with 30% of malolactic in barrels and the rest aged in 10% large Stockinger cask and 10% in amphora. This is a very good and will age well. Harvested 4-9 September (second wine not harvested until 19 September). 3.59pH.
Decanter 94 Points
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.
Barrel Sample: 89-92
Wine Spectator 92 Points