A little-known neighbour of châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion in the Pessac-Léognan region of Bordeaux, Les Carmes Haut-Brion is a jewel of a property, positioned on the same bank of gravel (graves) as its more famous namesakes.
The name derives from the friars, known as "Les Carmes"; who owned the property between the 16th and 18th century.
The vineyards are planted with an unusually small quantity of Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), the lion's share going to Merlot (50%) and Cabernet Franc (40%), this is reflected in the style of the wine which is rich in aromatics and has incredible finesse.
The wine spends 18 months in oak barrels, one third of which are new each vintage.
'A stunning wine, as well as one of the sleepers of the vintage, this dense purple-colored 1998 offers up classic Graves aromas of tar, roasted meats, scorched earth, black currants, and barbecue spices. It is beautifully elegant, yet rich, concentrated, and deep, with medium to full body, laudable sweetness on the entry, and ripe tannin in the finish. A bottle kept open for twenty-four hours was significantly better than it was upon opening, suggesting this wine will have terrific longevity. Haut-Brion enthusiasts are advised to check out this beautifully-made offering.' 90pts, Robert Parker, 2001