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If flamboyant fruit is what you are looking for in your Pomerol, then VCC is not the wine for you. If, however, you covet finesse and balance, this is a no-brainer. Deep in colour, with lovely perfumed blueberry and plum fruit scent. Harmonious, elegant and subtle, with extraordinary layers. One of the highlights of the vintage.
The 2017 Vieux Château Certan was picked in three passages through the vineyard, 12 and 13 September, 18 and 19 September and finally 25 September to 2 October. The yields are 37hl/ha with 14.2° alcohol and a 3.75 pH. It is the first vintage to contain Cabernet Sauvignon for several years. It has a very pure, Merlot-driven bouquet with black cherries, redcurrant and wild strawberry scents, just a hint of iris and incense in the background. The 70% new oak is nicely integrated here. The palate is medium-bodied with edgy tannin, a deep well of black and red fruit interwoven with allspice, truffle, white pepper and a little sage. This Vieux Château Certan manifests more complexity and profundity as it aerates, delivering genuine, spine-tingling mineralité on the persistent finish. It gains even more precision when I return to the property to re-taste it again. Tasted twice, ten days apart at the property. 2023 - 2050
Composed of 81% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Vieux Château Certan gives up gorgeous black raspberries, crushed black currants and warm black berries on the nose with chocolate-covered cherries, violets and star anise suggestions plus black truffles and wood smoke. The palate is medium to full-bodied with wonderful concentration in the mid-palate and firm, very finely pixelated tannins, with seamless freshness and fantastic length.
Deepest crimson with black core. Not much aroma at first because the sample is cool. Rich, firm, dark and more savoury than usual, darker-fruited. Great freshness. Has impressive depth without weight. Very fine shape, great refinement even now. Feels like it is coiled tightly for the future. Dark beauty with just a very slight char on the finish and a long graphite aftertaste. Cool nights kept the freshness. (JH) 14.2% Drink 2027-2047
This is a dense and compact center palate with a solid and pointed intensity. Full body, firm and silky tannins and an energetic finish. Complete. Harmonious.
The 2017 Vieux Château Certan is a rapturously beautiful wine. Dark, sumptuous and seamless in the glass, the 2017 is going to tempt readers early. This is the first vintage that includes a bit of young vine Cabernet Sauvignon planted in 2012 to complement the old-vine Merlot and Franc that are the core of Vieux Certan. A wine of exceptional balance and purity, the 2017 dazzles from start to finish. There is an element of tension in the 2017 that is incredibly appealing. "We are back to Bordeaux," adds Alexandre Thienpont in reference to the personality of the year as compared to both 2016 and 2015. The blend is 81% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, aging in 70% new oak.
They started harvesting in mid-September and then they waited a week and picked the ‘important stuff’ from 25th September until the 2nd October. This was important to get the tannins right in the skins. This is a much fresher, cleaner and less opulent wine than the last two vintages and Guillaume Thienpont describes it as an ‘intellectual’ vintage. The nose is incredibly bright with very direct black cherry notes and some mineral, stony tones, too. The previous few vintages have been later-harvested but this wine retains the freshness. This wine is born of a dry summer and they luckily escaped the frosts by half a degree. Apparently, 300ha in Pomerol were ‘frozen’. Their situation on the dome of Pomerol helped them. According to Alexandre Thienpont, ‘finesse means weak in English’, so he doesn’t use this word about the 2017 vintage. He prefers the word ‘classic’. The perfume is amazing and the silkiness and tenderness is evident. While the wine is not a heavyweight the colour is intense and this is thanks to particularly small berries. The old vines (in both varieties) and accuracy of work in the vineyards helped amazingly. The young vines had decent yields and the second wine is a success, too (80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc). Two thirds of the yield went into the Grand Vin. The brightness of fruit is the overriding theme here and there is a gloss and freshness ratio which makes this a vitally compelling wine. ‘Academic’ was the last word I heard when I walked out of the cellar. They must have been talking about me!
What is there not to like about this château and its amiable owner, Alexandre Thienpont? Sensitive,reflective and wonderfully humble, he is of the school who believes that wine makes itself. He is just the assistant who helps it along the way. And the wine certainly seems to be spectacular year after year.
The small sub-region of Pomerol is situated north-east of the industrious city of Libourne. Pomerol's soils are predominately iron-rich clay with a smattering of gravel that produce wines with extraordinary power and depth. As a result of this clay-dominance, it has the highest percentage of Merlot planted in all of Bordeaux. Certain châteaux are produced exclusively from this grape, but most incorporate smaller quantities of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc as well. Despite its hefty (if not exclusive) proportion of Merlot, many people think of wines from this region as separate entities. As one wine aficionado stated recently, "It's not Merlot. It's Pomerol." Despite the region's small size, Pomerol contains some of the world's most sought after (and expensive) wines including Pétrus, Le Pin, Lafleur, l'Evangile and Vieux Château Certan. Unlike other Bordelais subregions, there is no system of classification. The châteaux are traded on reputation alone.