Château Les Carmes Haut Brion 2023, Pessac-Leognan




Delivery 2026

Appellation - Pessac-Leognan


Guillaume Pouthier and his team have once again crafted one of Bordeaux's most unique and characterful wines. Revealing aromas of mulberries and raspberries mingled with notions of vine smoke, orange zest, rose petals and spices, the 2023 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is medium to full-bodied, fleshy and concentrated, with a powerful, vibrant and complete mid-palate, concluding with a long, ethereal and mouthwateringly saline finish. Sensual, suave and seamless, its beautifully refined tannins are, analytically, more abundant than even those of the 2022 vintage, yet they are so brilliantly integrated as to be near-imperceptible. This blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot is crafted for longevity, though its refined structure will make it surprisingly approachable at an early age. It's maturing 70% in new oak barrels, 20% in 18-hectoliter foudres and 10% in amphorae. A creditable yield of 50 hectoliters per hectare represents a decided agronomic success in what was a challenging growing season.
Yohan Castaing, Wine Advocate, April 2024

The 2023 Les Carmes Haut-Brion was picked September 11 to 25 with 60% whole bunch and more Cabernet Franc than usual. Aging was 70% in new barrels, 20% in 18-hectoliter foudres and 10% in amphorae. This offers plenty of dark berry fruit mixed with cedar and pinecones on the nose, very well defined and focused. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins, and the acidity is very well-judged. Just a soupçon of white pepper appears toward the finish. This is a much more succinct Les Carmes than the 2022, but it’s extremely harmonious and characterful.
Neal Martin,, April 2024

Always a unique take on the vintage, the Carmes at this stage still shows the personality of wholebunch but it is very well integrated this year. Deep ruby in colour with blueberry, blackberry and a hint of white pepper on the nose, there is a delicate hint of szechuan spice and wood smoke. The palate is chalky, with a lick of that same sweet exotic spice set against deeply mineral fruit. Layers of blueberry, dark cherry and blackcurrant interlock with the notes of rosemary, graphite and peppercorns that define this wine. Another stellar effort, this is long, structured and yet always fleet-footed. Excellent.
Thomas Parker MW, Farr Vintners, April 2024

This is a fantastic wine and very, very exciting, with purity and brightness to the floral, spicy and blackberry notes. It’s full and deep with agility and weightless. You feel the greatness in this. The winemaker says this is more concentrated and structured than the 2022. Lightly salty. 60% whole-berry fermentation. 50% cabernet franc, 30% cabernet sauvignon and 20% merlot. From organically grown grapes.
James Suckling,, April 2024

A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Merlot, Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2023 has a pH of 3.62. It was fermented with 60% whole bunches and it is aging in 70% new oak barrels, 20% new oak vats of 18 hl, and 10% amphorae. It has an opaque purple-black color and needs a little swirling and coaxing to bring out fabulously pure, well-defined notes of juicy black cherries, blackcurrant pastilles, ripe juicy blackberries, and licorice, leading to hints of tar, peonies, wet slate, and black olives, with a touch of Sichuan pepper. The light to medium-bodied palate is airy and refreshing, with a solid backbone of very fine-grained, prancing tannins and bold freshness supporting the pristine black fruit flavors, finishing long and minerally. I had to spend a good 15 minutes with this wine to allow it to grow: it is incredibly tight to begin but expands to become something powerful. A beguiling 2023 with fully ripe black fruit characters and a paradoxical airiness, it really makes your head spin in the best possible way!
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, May 2024

Elderflower and peony aromatics, stunning inky plum colour that is very much a signature of Carmes, where it looks so enticing and ripe visually, and then on the palate you feel this constrasting vibrant lift and drinkablity. Back to the signature squid ink flavour that is the key marker of ripe Cabernet in the vintage, and here the grippy slate texture slows everything slows, slowly humming through the palate. Has a sappy, drinkablity, with crushed rose petals and salted cracker salinity. 60% whole cluster, harvest September 11 to 25. 3.6ph. Distinctive, intense, one for Carmes lovers to celebrate.
Jane Anson,, April 2024

The 2023 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is increasingly a wine of seamlessness. Whereas the various components were once easily discernible, today Carmes is most often a wine of total beauty. The 2023 is a bit shy, especially in its aromatics. In other words, a pretty big departure from so many other recent vintages that have been far showier at this stage. Technical Director Guillaume Pouthier explains that he plans to give the 2023 longer aging, around 24-26 months, so he approached vinification and the early part of aging in a more reductive style than in the past. As always, Les Carmes is marked by its strong presence of Cabernet Franc and use of whole clusters, but as mentioned above, those signatures are less immediately evident than they once were. Les Carmes has been one of Bordeaux's stars over the last few years. I can't wait to see how the 2023 turns out. 2035-2073
Antonio Galloni, (Bordeaux a), April 2024

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