Château Carbonnieux Rouge 2020
• Domaine: Château Carbonnieux
• Appellation: Pessac-Léognan
• Classification: Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
Château Carbonnieux is perhaps one of the most beloved properties hailing from Pessac-Léognan. This Graves Grand Cru Classé has one of the longest histories in the entire region that dates all the way back to the 12th Century. The vineyard is 900-hectares, making it one of the largest in the entire appellation. Yet despite its size, Château Carbonnieux never compromises in terms of production, yielding some of the most iconic and timeless red and white wines from the Pessac-Léognan Region. The wines are incredibly beautiful and balanced and are versatile enough to drink after some decanting or lay down for several years. We can assure you, once you experience Château Carbonnieux, you will be a lifelong fan of this extraordinary producer.
Château Carbonnieux receives its namesake from a family with the last name Carbonius who cleared and cultivated land near Léognan at the beginning of the 13th Century. The first owner was Ramon Carbonnieu, who is mentioned in the archives of Bordeaux. After the tumultuous Hundred Years War, the property was run by Benedictine Monks. The Monks did not hesitate to borrow large sums of money to focus on their winemaking and ended up producing some of the most renowned wines in the world.
The white wines of Château Carbonnieux were seen as some of the top wines of Graves. At the time, there were two leaders in terms of winemaking in Pessac-Léognan – Château Haut-Brion for red wines and Château Carbonnieux for white wines. Their white wines soon gained traction and acclaim outside of France in the Ottoman Empire, where they were adored among royalty and called, “the mineral water of Carbonnieux.” In 1786, the American President and oenophile, Thomas Jefferson loved the property so much he planted a pecan tree in the Château park. The tree is now two centuries old and still stands there to this day. The property was classified as a Grand Cru Classé in 1955. The property has been in the possession of the Perrin family since 1956, and it is still very much a family operation.
At Château Carbonnieux, there is a mixture of different types of gravel, which are unique to the region. Here, the Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Carmenere vines have great drainage and get the nutrients they need from the clay and limestone terroir. Château Carbonnieux is one of the few producers to plant all six red Bordeaux varietals and incorporate them into their winemaking. Vinification takes place in stainless steel tanks along with malolactic fermentation. There is a supple soft elegance to these wines, and the luscious tannins are very balanced.
If there was one word to describe the vinification process at Château Carbonnieux, it would be, “gentle.” The aim here is to preserve the wine’s freshness and not have some overly tannic wine. Because of the mixture of tradition and modern viticultural innovation, their wines are timeless and simply a must have for any wine lover who favors elegant, subtle expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon.
"Sporting a deep purple-black color, the 2020 Carbonnieux opens with notes of tar, dark chocolate and licorice, giving way to a core of stewed black plums, cassis and blackberry compote, plus a waft of smoked meats. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers mouth-coating, juicy black fruits, supported by firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing savory." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (5/20/2021), Rating: (91-93), Drink: 2024-2040