A NEW CELLAR AT CHÂTEAU LES CARMES HAUT-BRION
Château les Carmes Haut-Brion was bought in 2010 by Patrice Pichet, with the aim of making this unique 10-hectare property a jewel in the heart of the city of Bordeaux.
It was necessary to provide Château les Carmes Haut-Brion with new equipment to receive and shape the future vintages in the best conditions, and therefore live up to the qualitative goals of this prestigious vineyard of Pessac Léognan.
Patrick Pichet, who has headed up the first single-family real estate group in France (since its creation), is a great lover of wine as well as design and architecture. That’s why he naturally called on two outstanding names: the famous creator Philippe Starck and the architect Luc Arsène-Henry.
This unique architectural work anchors in the 21st century the history of Château les Carmes Haut-Brion, the only château in the heart of Bordeaux, situated 20 Rue des Carmes.
THE ARCHITECTURE OF MINIMUM
Only a high-technology construction can support the cellar master’s talent and make the mystery of the wine spring out. This mystery, colour of blood and passion, so deeply rooted in human being and so close to the flesh.
The cellar of Château les Carmes Haut-Brion is a raw metal blade plunged in the terroir. With no reference of scale, time or culture, this construction pushed to the minimum is the opposite of a constraining and ostentatious human architecture. Here, the contribution of Nature overcomes the input of Man, and anchors the cellar in its vineyard. Sanctuarized by the use of a natural and vital element, the building is surrounded by water as a thermic flywheel, which allows the wine to tolerate any temperature or season without being affected.
“It’s a magic encapsulated in a miracle from which will come the extraordinary. This blade isn’t frontal, but slightly inclined on which the gaze wanders. As a harmonic confrontation between Nature and human genius, it melts and blends in with the water, the soil and the tree bark around.”
The cellar extends over 2,000 sq-m and distributes, over four levels, reception and technical activities:
* The barrel cellar, which can accommodate 300 wooden barrels.
- An area covering 200sq-m on the second floor where the harvest is gathered.
* The artist Ara Starck has created an original painting on vat n°18, inaugurating a unique artistic approach that the Groupe Pichet and its president are keen to develop. Each year, a selected artist whose values and work resonate with the new cellar will adorn a vat with an original creation.
* The tasting room is located on the top floor, with views over the vat house.
* Finally, a panoramic terrace of 350 sq-m overlooks the whole estate.
A UNIQUE URBAN VINEYARD
Although, historically speaking, Château les Carmes Haut-Brion was originally outside the city, it is presently surrounded by the city and constitutes an authentic walled urban vineyard.
This urban location is important because it provi¬des a mild microclimate, less susceptible to frost and more conducive to ripening. Moreover, the landscaped grounds create an ecosystem that attracts natural pre¬dators of grape vine pests. The atypical blend of grape varieties (40% of Cabernet Franc and 18% of Cabernet Sauvignon, completed with Merlot) is yet another factor in what makes the estate so special.
Separated by a stream bed, Le Peugue, the terroir consists of two slopes with soil made up of gravel, clay and sand in variable proportions. This unique combination of soil and microclimate clearly contributes to Château les Carmes Haut-Brion’s finesse and elegance. Vines average about 41 years of age with a density of 10,000 vines per hectare.
The wine is produced in accordance with sustainable viticulture practices, using traditional methods. Since 2009, only natural products, totally organic, are used to work the soil with the utmost respect for the land and the environment. The grapes are handpicked and horses are gradually replacing the tractors. Since 2012, the vinification process uses whole grapes with a small proportion of stalks in vats. The wine is aged in wooden barrels (80% new) for 18 to 24 months.
AN ELEGANT AND REFINED WINE
Thanks to a unique blend, the wine of Château les Carmes Haut-Brion epitomizes the perfect balance between the elegance and finesse of Cabernet Franc, the power of Cabernet Sauvignon and the fullness of Merlot.
The large proportion of Cabernet Franc in the Grand Vin confers a truly unique style, particularly refined. The wine shows a fresh and bright fruit. It has a constant fresh¬ness, very smooth tannin and a floral note throughout.