Bordeaux 2023: Les Carmes Haut Brion, Canon, Rauzan Ségla and Berliquet

5 June 2024

An Impeccable Quartet

Today, we have releases from two visionary winemakers: Guillaume Pouthier and Nicolas Audebert.

Guillaume is something of a maverick. Since his move from Chapoutier, he has transformed the fortunes of Les Carmes Haut Brion.

Les Carmes has a reputation as one of the most unique wines in the region due to its high percentage of Cabernet Franc, the use of whole bunch fermentations and the liberal use of foudres and amphorae. But this focus on its idiosyncrasies denigrates what is fast becoming one of the most compelling brands in the region. We love the style: the purity, the finesse, the tension, the composure, and the moderate alcohol levels. The 2023 is one of the finest and most characterful wines of the vintage.

Nicolas Audebert’s Midas touch continues. Canon is clearly one of the elite wines on the Right Bank, a wine of stature, poise and vibrancy; the class of this limestone terroir shines in this magical 2023. Neighbouring Berliquet was something of a revelation. We’ve often found this rather burly, however, Nicolas has tamed this terroir creating a stylish St Emilion bursting with fruit and flowers – it was a joy to taste. Over in Margaux, Rauzan Segla yet again excels, backing up its outstanding 2022 (one of the wines of the vintage) with another glorious proposition. It required a lot of graft, particularly to manage the mildew. They have been rewarded with one of the finest examples from this appellation.

Les Carmes Haut Brion

“Guillaume Pouthier and his team have once again crafted one of Bordeaux's most unique and characterful wines. Revealing aromas of mulberries and raspberries mingled with notions of vine smoke, orange zest, rose petals and spices, the 2023 Les Carmes Haut-Brion is medium to full-bodied, fleshy and concentrated, with a powerful, vibrant and complete mid-palate, concluding with a long, ethereal and mouthwateringly saline finish. Sensual, suave and seamless, its beautifully refined tannins are, analytically, more abundant than even those of the 2022 vintage, yet they are so brilliantly integrated as to be near-imperceptible. This blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot is crafted for longevity, though its refined structure will make it surprisingly approachable at an early age. It's maturing 70% in new oak barrels, 20% in 18-hectoliter foudres and 10% in amphorae. A creditable yield of 50 hectoliters per hectare represents a decided agronomic success in what was a challenging growing season." – 97-99/100, Yohan Castaing, Wine Advocate

Canon

“Wafting from the glass with aromas of mulberries and raspberries mingled with spices, rose petals, licorice and violets, the 2023 Canon is another brilliant wine from a property whose excellence can almost be taken for granted. Medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, it's seamless and concentrated, its vibrant core of fruit framed by sweet, powdery tannins and girdled by lively acids, concluding with a long, mineral finish.”96-98/100, William Kelley, Wine Advocate

Rauzan Ségla

"The 2023 Rauzan-Ségla is fabulous. Rich, dense and explosive, the 2023 soars out of the glass with captivating aromatics. Readers will find a vertical, deep Margaux endowed with tremendous character and nuance. All the elements are so well-balanced. Crushed rocks, plum, blood orange, spice and leather are some of the notes that explode into the finish. In 2023, the Grand Vin is distinctly red-fruited and vibrant. Rauzan-Ségla is one of the most memorable wines of the vintage. It was nothing short of stellar on the four occasions I tasted it.”96-98/100, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com

Berliquet

“The 2023 Berliquet was picked 23 September to October 5 at 45hL/ha, matured in 34% new oak plus 10 amphorae. Initially, the nose is quite backward and doesn't want to play. Give it a few swirls and it opens to reveal black cherries, blackcurrant and a distant tang of oyster shell emanating from limestone soils. The palate is medium-bodied with a very harmonious entry. Finely weighted, tensile and slightly savory in style, this is very elegant, finishing with citrus-like freshness. Berliquet has definitely been in the ascendant in recent vintages, and this is another to add.”93-95/100, Neal Martin, vinous.com

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