Les Carmes de Haut-Brion
2019 spot: 61
2018 spot: 105
This is the perfect claret to shove in the glass of anyone who drones on about how stick-in-the-mud or out of touch Bordeaux is.
Cabernet Franc-led, a proportion of whole bunch fermentation and ageing in a combination of demi-muids and terracotta and ceramic amphorae. Hell, you could even go so far as to call it an urban winery given the château and vineyard are now within the city limits.
Silencing the haters on a winemaking front aside, however, Carmes de Haut-Brion is also a shining beacon of hope and optimism in an en primeur process that is beset by doubt and questionable pricing strategies.
The last couple of campaigns have consistently seen Carmes touted as the best buy and it’s one of the few domains where prices have risen, tripled in the case of the 2018, post release.
There are other up-and-coming estates in and around the Gironde; Pichon Comtesse, Canon, Rauzan-Ségla, Haut Bailly, Calon Ségur and Beychevelle are all estates on the make but Carmes bestrides them all. It works the en primeur system like it should be and it shows.