1998 Les Carmes Haut Brion

Allowed to breath for an hour prior to enjoying with grilled skirt steaks.

Although I am a Graves fan, somehow this was my first (of any vintage) from this producer.

Perfect looking bottle, fill and cork, it was hard to believe this wine was 22 yo from a “so-so” vintage.

Relatively big in stature, though in balance with fairly silky mouthfeel. Fine grained tannins.

Unmistakably Old World, though more of an irresistible charred meat, or maybe pain grille, profile than most Graves in my experience. Savory, masculine. Maybe even a tad “stinky” (in the best possible way). Overall, a nice upside surprise. And, if memory serves, at quite a nice price. 92

Glad you had a good bottle Kelly. While 1998 was only good/very good in Margaux and the N. Medoc, it was excellent in Graves/Pessac/Leognan and even better on the right bank. Many assume this is just a right bank/left bank dichotomy and underestimate 1998 Graves. Helps keep prices from soaring.

I liked 1999 very much as well.

I had the 1998 LCHB once and was pleased, just as I was with other 1998s from the same commune. Haut Bailly, LMHB and HBrion all made very good impressions on me. Even remembered having a nice Pape Clement.

I’ll add that nuggets in the Northern Medoc exist, including Ducru Beaucaillou (always praised in verticals) and my last 2 recent bottles of Leoville Barton which were well worth the longish cellaring time.

Thanks for the nice note, Kelly! Les Carmes Haut-Brion is one of the wines that I do not want to miss in my cellar. A true pearl among the fine wines of Graves. I drank 2000, 2001, and 2006 in recent years, each one better than the next.

That 2000 is lovely, but don’t miss 2005 and 2010 either. The stylistic change with this estate happened in 2012. It’s not the same wine as before, but certainly still well made, just more glossy.

I have no experience with recent vintages. Thanks for the info, Robert!

Very nice. I had the 99 a few weeks ago