In the first part of a new series of posts evaluating Bordeaux second wines, I kick off with a little Graves red from Chateau Haut Brion’s near neighbour, Chateau Carmes Haut Brion. Due to recent changes in appellation laws, regarding the use of protected terms, in this case “Clos”, newer vintages of this wine will be known as Les C des Carmes Haut Brion.
Tasting Note: The 2012 Le Clos des Carmes Haut Brion is beautifully rich, fragrant and expressive with plenty of potpourri, violets, coffee, mocha and buttered brown toast notes, integrating with lush, rich, creme de cassis, sweet black plum and tart red cherry.
The palate is fleshy, open knit and very approachable, largely because of a 81% dollop of Merlot, with powerful backing vocals from 19% Cabernet Sauvignon. Such a wonderful complexity of black cherry, mocha, vanilla pod spice and new tannery leather. There are fresh acids but they are finely rounded and well woven into the harmonious texture of this wine. While a real joy to drink even in its youth, there would be no harm cellaring this gem for 8 to 12+ years.
Second Wine Rating: Buy with confidence.
(Wine Safari Score: 92/100 Greg Sherwood MW)