A tight and linear red with a firm and intense, pretty center palate of blackberry and wet-earth character. Full-bodied, reserved and focused. Really compacted.
Score: 94-95/100James Suckling
The 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is subtle and understated, but it’s all there. Lifted aromatics, bright, red-toned fruit and silky tannins add to the wine's brilliant, chiseled personality. I find the 2017 more precise and nuanced than in the recent past, with less overt power. It's hard to know exactly if the style of the 2017 is a result of the growing conditions of the year, or the result of an evolution in winemaking that includes the introduction of terra cotta, among other things. I certainly get the sense Guillaume Pouthier reined the wine back a bit in 2017. No matter. The end result is all that counts, and in 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is positively stellar. As always, the high percentage of Cabernet Franc and a healthy dollop of whole clusters give Les Carmes an explosive bouquet and plenty of saline-infused energy. A closing flourish of sweet red berry fruit, mint, rose petal and mocha leaves a lasting impression. The 2017 is not an obvious wine, but it sure is gorgeous. Don't miss it! Tasted two times.
Score: 93-96/100Antonio Galloni
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.
Score: 94-/100DecanterDrinking Window: 2025 - 2040
Complex damp herbs, underbrush, exotic flowers and ample black fruits emerge from the 2017 Château Les Carmes Haut Brion, which is made by Guillaume Pouthier, who previously worked for Michel Chapoutier in the Northern Rhône Valley. A blend of 41% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, still aging in 65% new French oak, this medium to full-bodied, rounded, impressively concentrated red will need 3-4 years of bottle age yet keep for two decades. Tasted twice.
Score: 92-94/100Jeb Dunnuck
The 2017 Les Carmes Haut-Brion includes 10% more Cabernet Sauvignon than last year with 45% whole bunch fruit. There is 13.2° alcohol. It is aged in 60% new oak (less than previous years), 30% one-year old oak and 10% amphora that have been baked at 1,200° Celsius instead of 500° Celsius that means there is less oxygen ingress. It has a very pure and strangely, almost Burgundy-like bouquet, perhaps somewhere towards the mid-Côte de Nuits. Dark cherries, wild strawberry, a hint of orange sorbet and later a touch of glycerol. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannin and plenty of sappy, black fruit sprinkled with white pepper and bay leaf. As Guillaume Pouthier mentioned in conversation, there is a linearity to this Les Carmes Haut-Brion and one has to admire the precision and focus on the finish. Afford this five or six years in bottle before approaching and you will have a very delicious and distinctive Pessac-Léognan on your hands.
Score: 92-94/Neal MartinDrinking Window: 2022 - 2040
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.
Score: 91-93/100The Wine Advocate
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. Apr 2018, www.robertparker.com
Score: 91-93/100Lisa Perrotti-Brown