- Vieux Château Certan
- Merlot / Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon
- 2026 - 2046
- Case size
Goedhuis, April 2019,
This gorgeous Vieux Château Certan really stopped us in our tracks. The extraordinary attention to detail of the Thienpont father and son team in the vineyards and their very gentle handling of the fruit during the vinification process has paid dividends. This is one of the most exquisite wines of the vintage. Alexandre noted how important the 30% Cabernet Franc was this year to maintain the freshness and life in the wines and balance the potentially overpowering Merlot. This has a very tight and controlled character. It is superbly poised between bright summer fruit flavours, its well-defined tannic core and a lovely undertone of freshness provided by the Cabernet. This is not ostentatious, just so pure, balanced and fine. Glorious.
Antonio Galloni, May 2019,
The 2018 Vieux Château Certan is a very pretty wine built more on elegance, finesse and aromatic nuance. Relative to the recent past, the 2018 shows a much more mid-weight structure and less of the creaminess of either 2015 or 2016. Much of that is attributable to a blend that includes 30% Cabernet Franc. Lavender, rose petal, mint and blueberry fruit all grace the 2018. Far from an obvious wine, the 2018 is going to need a number of years to be at its best, as it is a wine of total understatement and class. Fine beads of tannin support the understated finish. In 2018, VCC is a wine of refinement and subtlety more than anything else. I don't see the same visceral thrill as in a number of vintages of the recent past. Perhaps that will come in bottle.
Wine Advocate, April 2019,
The 2018 Vieux Château Certan is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. Yields were 40 hectoliters per hectare. The wine has a pH of 3.78, 14.4% alcohol and an IPT (total polyphenol index) of 77. Medium to deep garnet-purple—it has a very vibrant color—it drifts effortlessly out of the glass with wonderfully intense, beautifully delineated scents of red roses, black raspberries, kirsch and Darjeeling tea before the powerful, profound black fruits kick in: baked plums, wild blueberries, molten licorice and mulberries with touches of cigar box, cinnamon stick, tapenade and truffles. Full-bodied, rich, densely packed and revealing layer upon layer of red and black fruits with an incredible array of floral and spicy sparks, it has a high level of super ripe, incredibly fine, velvety soft tannins and fantastic freshness (not just from acid but from bright, crunchy fruit). It finishes very long, marvelously layered and with such jaw-dropping brightness from the fruit, the end is almost electric. Incredible.
James Suckling, April 2019,
This is a significant VCC with masses of fruit and juicy tannins. It’s fresh, but impresses you with the rich and powerful fruit. A tower of a wine. Incredible depth and density. Thick and muscular. It is 30 per cent cabernet franc, the rest merlot.
Decanter, April 2019,
This is complex, precise and concentrated but tempered with stunning potential. There is so much flavour and juice here with crushed tobacco and liquorice root alongside richly textured raspberry and blueberry fruits - all extremely well balanced and yet reaching down into the depths promising great ageing. A VCC that is full of layers, with the beauty of this vintage making them all relatively discernible even at this early stage because the tannins are not balled together but allow the light in between. An excellent year for Cabernet Franc, which always favours this estate - owner Alexandre Thienpont said that they weren’t just useful but essential this year, giving freshness and focus to the hedonism of the Merlots, and dampening down the alcohols. No press wine in the blend as yet, and not sure if they will use it. A yield of 40hl/ha. Drinking Window 2027 - 2044
Matthew Jukes, April 2019,
In spite of the tropical spring and dry summer they were not affected by mildew at VCC. Alexandre and his son Guillaume Thienpont anticipated the rhythm of the downy mildew and tackled it perfectly. They had the same sort of attack in 2000 and they survived this, too. The summer was not excessively warm at VCC and they had cool nights which is superb for Cabernet Franc and this offset the power and intensity of the Merlot. ‘Cashmere’ was Alexandre’s expression for the texture of his wine and this is better than any word I can come up with, so it will do. Unlike many of the other Pomerols, this wine leads with red fruit. The oldest vines in this wine were planted in 1932 and this goes some way to explaining the superb intensity on display. It is said that you cannot smell texture, but this wine smells incredibly silky. The nose shows exquisite complexity and on the palate there is considerable volume and length. The finish is crisp, tart and dry and it pinches the palate and this further alerts the senses. The layers of red fruit are positively kaleidoscopic flavours and with the never-ending finish the overall feeling is of a densely flavoured wine but one with a medium-bodied framework and this sleight of hand is thrilling. I wish I could have tasted this wine every day such was its appeal. It is yet another ridiculously brilliant wine from this magnificent estate.
Julia Harding, April 2019,
Darkest cherry red. Dark fruited and quite mineral on the nose, but fragrant with that dark, subtle fruit. Lively and with a dash of herbs for complexity. At the moment this is rather sober on the palate. That Cabernet freshness is there and bringing great finesse to the tannins. Opens up to more dark and subtle fragrance. Really refined and beautifully dry and elegant. Very long, very tender in texture even if there's a charge of tannins hiding underneath. There is a subtle beauty. I need half an hour with this wine not five minutes because it unfurls on the palate. This is already a great wine but it is going to be a very great wine. Alexandre Thienpont describes it as cashmere but I think of it as the finest of cotton sheets, ironed smooth, with very high thread count. Drink 2028-2048
Vieux Château Certan
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.