Vieux Château Certan, Pomerol
The Vieux Château Certan estate has existed since the mid-1700s, though the date of establishment is unknown. Like all of the wines in the Pomerol Appellation, Vieux Château Certan is not classified but is widely regarded as one of the great growths of the region and one of the world’s great wines.
Magnificent wine but atypically rich, round and powerful rather than linear and discreet (only 16% Cabernet in the blend). Enormous depth of fruit. Sweet, ripe and persistent. Voluptuous. Owner-winemaker Alexandre Thienpont compares it to the 1950 and 2000.
18.5/20 points, Stephen Spurrier, April 2010
Broad and sweet and exotically jewelly. Almost porty but it has real substance and complex fruit.
jancisrobinson.com, Feb 2013
84% Merlot (mainly the 1942 plantings), 8% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon. Same blend as in 1998, oddly – which was their reference point for Merlot. pH 3.8, 40 hl/ha compared with the very small vintages of 2008 and 2006. 'Now that we have a better cellar, we can take more risks. In old days we couldn’t have taken 09’s risks.' Unusually low proportion of Cabernet Franc; these particular old vines just did not deliver in 2009. Very dark – much darker than Le Pin. Very luscious – more like the nose you would expect of Le Pin! Very big and rich and full. Round and chewy and very very ripe but not heavy nor very hot. Splendid nose with great richness and savour but not excessive sweetness.
17.5/20, jancisrobinson.com, April 2010)
The 2009's nearly 14% natural alcohol, exquisite ripeness, and incredible complex bouquet of Asian spices, fruitcake, licorice, smoke, blackberries and black currants are to die for. A blend of 84% Merlot and the rest equal parts Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, it possesses a viscous texture as well as a freshness and vibrancy that are remarkable given the wine’s weight, richness and potential massiveness. This extraordinary effort is one of the finest Vieux Chateau Certans made over the last 60 years. It will undoubtedly shut down in bottle, requiring a decade or more of cellaring. It should keep for 50 years thereafter. Proprietor Thienpont thinks it is a modern day version of the 1948. As I wrote in my barrel tasting notes, the 2009 ranks alongside four of the legendary vintages of Vieux Chateau Certan’s ancient past, 1945, 1947, 1948 and 1950. It is undoubtedly a cleaner wine than those older vintages, and the selection process under proprietor Alexandre Thienpont was far more severe in 2009 than it would have been 60 years ago.
99 points, Wine Advocate, Feb 2012
This has an incredible nose of chocolate and berries that turns to sweet tobacco and China tea leaves. Full-bodied, with a beautiful softness and silkiness that makes you want to keep tasting it. Goes on and on.
97 points, Wine Spectator, April 2010
Pomerol, on the Right Bank of Bordeaux’s Gironde River, produces some of the world’s most sought-after wines, including those from such storied properties as Chateau Petrus. Yet Pomerol, the smallest of the fine-wine-producing districts of Bordeaux, offers no Grand Cru or Premier Cru wines: It’s the most significant Bordeaux appellation not included in any quality ranking. At the time of the historic 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, Right Bank chateaux were considered remote and difficult to travel to, and so were ignored by the merchants who created the classification. (St. Émilion, a notable neighbour on the Right Bank, created its own classification system in 1954.)
Pomerol has managed to do quite well without this form of validation. Pomerol’s predominantly clay soil is ideally suited for Merlot, the primary grape used in the appellation. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also included in Pomerol’s blended red wines. The wines of Pomerol are lush and rich, and generally not as tannic as the Cabernet-based wines of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Although Pomerol’s very best wines are capable of aging for decades, most are made for immediate consumption. These Merlot-based wines are known for their lush texture, elegance and grace, as well as the softer tannins they offer in comparison to the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines made elsewhere in Bordeaux.