Learn everything about Chateau La Tour Carnet Haut Medoc, Fourth Growth, producer with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, a history of the property and information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau La Tour Carnet History, Overview
Chateau La Tour Carnet, owned by Bernard Magrez, is one of the oldest Bordeaux wine producers that has remained continually active in the entire Bordeaux appellation. The chateau is also one of the oldest structures in the region.
In fact, some parts of the building, specifically the round tower, date all the way back to the 11th Century. At the time, it was a fortress that was inhabited by the English as early as the 12th Century. What we know of as Chateau La Tour Carnet today, was an important fort that was used by the military as an outpost in Bordeaux.
The chateau of La Tour Carnet is one of the few remaining Bordeaux estates to have a working moat and drawbridge. Originally, the property went under the name of Chateau de St. Laurent.
The land eventually fell to French rule. After centuries of war, the ruined property passed through the hands of a succession of owners, before it was obtained by Charles de Leutken. Chateau La Tour Carnet remained with the Leutken family for generations.
The current owner of La Tour Carnet is Bernard Magrez. Magrez is the proprietor of a number of other Bordeaux estates, most notably Chateau Pape Clement in Pessac Leognan. Bernard Magrez bought the estate from the Pelegrin family in 1999.
Additionally Bernard Magrez owns numerous other Bordeaux estates including Fombrauge in St. Emilion. One of the first things Bernard Magrez did after taking over Chateau La Tour Carnet was to increase the size of the vineyards.
When the property was first taken overboard by Bernard Magrez, the estate had only 44 hectares of vines. By 2018, their holdings had increased to 190 hectares.
Chateau La Tour Carnet is now one of the largest vineyards in Bordeaux and they are also one of top producers in the Haut Medoc appellation area today.
Chateau La Tour Carnet Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The massive 190 hectare Left Bank vineyard of La Tour Carnet is the largest of all of the 1855 Classified Growths. The vines are well placed in the Haut Medoc appellation. They are not far from some of the top vineyards in the St. Julien appellation like Chateau Lagrange. The vineyard is planted to 56% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, marking an increase in the Merlot.
The percentage of Merlot planted in the vineyard has increased since it was purchased by Bernard Magrez. The majority of the vines are in one massive parcel, which is unusual for the region.
The terroir of La Tour Carnet is gravel, clay and limestone soils with gentle, rolling slopes. They are inland, between the 2 main roads, the D2 and the D1. The vines are on average 30 years of age.
The vineyard is planted to a vine density that ranges from from 8,000 to 10,000 vines per hectare. The newer plantings are down at the higher levels of vine density. The humongous vineyard is divided into a whopping 304 separate parcels with a range of terroirs, as they are spread among 6 divergent communes.
To produce the wine of La Tour Carnet, the grapes are whole berry fermented, after being cooled to 8 degrees Celsius in a cryogenic tunnel by using liquid Azote, which is a type of nitrogen gas.
Vinification takes place in a combination of large wood vats and stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation takes place in vat. Between 85% to 90% of the wine is aged in on average, 60% new, French oak barrels.
The remaining 10-15% of the wine is aged in large, clay, amphora. The aging period is on average about 18 months before bottling.
Chateau La Tour Carnet added a dry, white Bordeaux wine to their portfolio in 2008. The grapes come from a small, 2 hectare parcel of vines. For the white wine, the vines are planted to 33% Sauvignon Blanc, 33% Semillon, 29% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Muscadelle.
However, the actual blend for the white wine can vary widely. The vines are planted in a cooler terroir with more limestone in the soils. As you can see, Bernard Magrez is a fan of Sauvignon Gris. In fact, Bernard Magrez also includes the grape as large part of their blend for use in Chateau Pape Clement Blanc as well.
Because white wine grapes are not allowed by law in the appellation, the wine is sold as a generic AOC Bordeaux Blanc. On average, close to 15,000 cases of Chateau La Tour Carnet are produced each vintage.
The best vintages of Chateau La Tour Carnet are: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009 and 2005.
Bernard Magrez also produces a special cuvee from 100% Merlot from the vineyards of La Tour Carnet called Servitude Volontaire. The vines are located in the north east portion of the Medoc, close to St. Seurin. The tiny, 500 case production of Servitude Volontaire is sold exclusively at retail shops owned by Magrez in Bordeaux as well as in Paris.
Servitude Volontaire made its debut in 2003. Starting with the 2010 vintage, Chateau La Tour Carnet began taking anti counterfeiting measures using the Intaglio method of bottle etching coupled with Spottag, which adds an invisible ink on the labels.
There is a second wine, Les Douves de Carnet. The estate also produces a wine from vines located outside the Haut Medoc appellation, La Tour Carnet Cuvee La Bravoure, which is sold as a Medoc Bordeaux wine. As you should expect from the size of the vineyard, almost 75,000 cases of wine, (900,000 bottles) are produced here each year!
When to Drink Chateau La Tour Carnet, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau La Tour Carnet needs time before it can be enjoyed. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 1 -2 hours or so. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
Chateau La Tour Carnet is usually better with at least 5-7 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau La Tour Carnet offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 5-15 years of age after the vintage.
Serving and Decanting Chateau La Tour Carnet with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau La Tour Carnet is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. The wine of Chateau La Tour Carnet is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes.
Chateau La Tour Carnet is a perfect match with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta as well as a wide variety of hard and soft cheeses.
La Tour Carnet maintains one of the strongest research programs in Bordeaux, focusing on the potential, future problems Bordeaux will face, due to continuing climate change.
Much of this is due to the fear that eventually it will become too warm for the Merlot grape. Experiments are taking place with various different grape varieties and clones to protect the heritage and quality of Bordeaux wine.
Château La Tour Carnet Wine Tasting Notes
18 Vintages 91,200 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
|2019||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Full-bodied with layers of blackberries, espresso, smoke and tobacco leaf on the nose and palate. The chocolate-covered blackberry and cassis in the endnote keeps on going, which is a good thing. The wine was made from a 50/50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. 91-93 Pts
1,666 Views Tasted Jun 8, 2020
|2019||Château La Tour Carnet Blanc (Bordeaux)|
Light in color, the lemon, lime vanilla is fun to nose. On the palate, the wine is sweet, filled with honeysuckle, candied grapefruit and lemon peel. The wine was made from blending 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc. 91 Pts
2,914 Views Tasted Jun 8, 2020
|2018||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
The oak feels dialed back, which is a good thing as now, you can enjoy all the ripe, round, fresh, juicy, dark red berries, soft tannins and ripe, red berry, smoke, coffee bean and earthy finish. 91-93 Pts
4,425 Views Tasted Apr 19, 2019
|2018||Château La Tour Carnet Blanc (Bordeaux)|
With a nice jolt of lemony freshness, you also find pomelo, vanilla and yellow tropical fruits. This will be perfect on release and over the next few years. The wine was made from blending 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc.
1,178 Views Tasted Apr 19, 2019
|2017||Château La Tour Carnet Blanc (Bordeaux)|
Light in color, this wine offers lemon peel, herbs and licorice on the nose. In the mouth, you find fresh yellow citrus fruits and a trace of honey that remains with you through the crispy finish. The wine was made from blending 60% Semillon and 40% Sauvignon Blanc.
1,324 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2018
|2017||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Smoky, deep red fruits, espresso, tobacco, oak and wet earth are easy to find here. Round, forward, open and almost ready, give this a few years in the cellar to further develop.
1,717 Views Tasted May 14, 2020
Scarlet hued, this wine offers an earthy, smoky, forest and blackberry profile. On the palate, this is fleshy, voluminous and smooth with fresh, dark red fruits, licorice and strong notes of toasty oak in the finish.
2,692 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2018
|2016||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Deeply colored, this is already showing off its round, concentrated, lush, display of ripe, dark, sweet, ripe fruits, smoke, licorice, dark chocolate and espresso.
2,902 Views Tasted Feb 11, 2019
Dark in hue with loads of fruit, density and a fruity, concentrated, round textured, fleshy finish.
3,776 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2017
|2015||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Much better from the bottle than from the barrel, the round textured, forward wine provides a plummy, licorice, espresso and dark cherry nose. Polished, lush, ripe fruits, licorice and espresso complete the experience.
3,617 Views Tasted Mar 12, 2018
With 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, the wine is full bodied, showing espresso bean, smoke, licorice, vanilla, spice and black cherries. Round, open and flashy, the wine finishes with dark chocolate and spicy, dark red fruits. 87 - 89 Pts
2,351 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2016
|2014||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Full bodied, round, forward and a touch oaky at this stage, with a large dose of licorice, coffee and black cherry in the finish.
3,192 Views Tasted Feb 7, 2017
Leaning oaky, this lush, sweet wine has low acidity, good concentration and a forward, ripe, fruit filled style with a modern leaning. This will drink well young. The wine was made from a blend of 59% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. 89-90 Pts
3,521 Views Tasted Apr 21, 2015
|2013||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
With espresso, oak, sweet black raspberries and cherry, this wine serves up a modern style of Bordeaux that shows too much wood for the vintage. 85-88 Pts
2,934 Views Tasted Apr 23, 2014
|2012||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Smoke, oak and sweet ripe fruits, with an open, forward, sweet, black cherry, vanilla character, that is ready to drink.
6,170 Views Tasted May 15, 2015
Oaky and modern, which is not a bad thing, but the wine is too oaky and too modern in his vintage as the wine is suffering from too much extraction with its dry, tart and green finish. 85-88 Pts
4,296 Views Tasted Apr 23, 2013
|2011||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Oak, truffle and black cherry scents with plush, fat textures and a sweet, ripe, oaky, black cherry finish. This will be fun to drink young. 90-91 Pts
5,157 Views Tasted Apr 8, 2012
|2010||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
La Tour Carnet Oak, spice, cassis, earth and mocha scents open to a powerful, concentrated tannic wine with the structure to age well. There is some dryness in the finish. 89-91
6,858 Views Tasted Apr 21, 2011
|2009||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Modern in style, this Merlot dominated, deeply colored wine opens with a perfume filled with coffee, licorice, black and blue fruit and chocolate. Concentrated, fleshy and flashy, produced from a blend of 53% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, this delicious Haut Medoc needs a few years before the oak fully integrates.
7,943 Views Tasted Jan 26, 2012
|2008||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
From a blend of 52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is still on the oaky side with coffee bean, vanilla, licorice and black cherry notes in the aromatics. Soft, round and forward, while not complex, it's fun and already easy to drink.
3,185 Views Tasted Jan 27, 2014
|2006||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Still just a bit oaky, but over the years, the wine has better integrated the wood. Full-bodied, round and with some firm tannins, the wine offers loads of black fruit, thyme and tobacco on the nose and palate.
3,658 Views Tasted Dec 3, 2018
|2005||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Cigar box, tobacco, black raspberry, medium bodied, soft and ready for business.
3,683 Views Tasted Jun 28, 2015
Dark in color, this powerful wine offers pungent aromas of blackberry, cassis, truffle, earth, tobacco, coffee and blue fruit. Ripe, tannic and a little rustic, this robust, Bordeaux wine needs at least another 5-8 years in the cellar before it softens and comes together.
6,943 Views Tasted Aug 1, 2011
Not much in the way of elegance. But there is gobs of fruit as well as tannin. Give this beast at least 10-15 years before popping a bottle.
2,834 Views Tasted Jan 20, 2008
|2004||Château La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc)|
Still oaky, with licorice, tobacco and black fruits. Round textured and easy to drink, this is probably not going to get much better with age.
2,264 Views Tasted Jan 4, 2015