CHÂTEAU LES CARMES HAUT-BRION, PESSAC-LÉOGNAN
BORDEAUX, FRANCE 2017
We pay close attention to the chatter at En Primeur tastings, and our feature selection today had critics buzzing about its showing in barrel and projecting how it might drink once it finally reached the bottle.
Well, three years later, that enormous potential has been realized — and then some.
"Magnificent," declared Antonio Galloni, one of many testaments the wine world has bestowed upon this great and expressive beauty. His site, Vinous Media, and Decanter both awarded it 96 points.
We are fortunate to have secured an allocation, and are so excited to be able to bring it to you for a fantastic best price of just over $100 a bottle.
Located within the AOC Pessac-Léognan, within the region of Graves, Château les Carmes Haut-Brion has the distinction of being the only Bordeaux chateau that is actually in Bordeaux. The history of the estate is nearly as rich and layered as the wines themselves. The property was originally owned by the Roman Catholic Grand Carmelite Order in Bordeaux, who established it in the late 16th century and retained it for two centuries. After the French Revolution, Church holdings were seized and the estate became a national asset.
It wasn’t until Patrice Pichet, a real estate mogul and wine enthusiast, purchased the property, in 2010, that it began to make its mark upon the wine world. Pichet recruited Guillaume Pouthier, whose work at Chapoutier in Rhône had garnered wide renown, and together they set about turning its modest 10 hectares into a world-class operation. The vineyards have more than tripled, but in all other respects the approach has been to go small. Harvesting is done only by hand, and horses are gradually phasing out tractors. The winemaking facility is fully modern, right down to the design itself, for which Pichet commissioned Philippe Starck.
The '17 was fermented using whole clusters (between 40% and 52%) and aged for around 20 months in French oak barrels, 60% new, 30% one-year old oak.
The terroir of Bordeaux, with its Gunz gravel, sand, and clay, has surely played its part in the final product, but so has Pouthier's decision to allow stems in the winemaking — a practice traditionally shunned in the region, but not in Rhône, where he made his name.
As a result, it tastes like little else in the vintage, with a character that endears us to it all the more and a precision that marks it out as among the very best in its class.
Or, as Jane Anson of Decanter put it, "personality and poise." A "brilliant wine,” she gushed, “with a creamy but restrained texture, precise black fruits with a spicy undertow," a wine of "personality and poise."
Galloni wrote that it "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. ... Don't miss it."
And though you can certainly cellar this for a few years, the good news is that its drinking window has already begun — this is absolutely ready to open and share and savor.
We're making this exceptional offer available for one week only, and hope that you'll take full advantage. Many fine, pleasurable hours await you.
*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in 8-12 Weeks. With the supply chain issues that we are seeing globally, there may be some unforeseen delays which could affect the ETA. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in MI, NY, TN. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Thursday, March 24, 2022.