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.
Made in a big, bold style with 13.6% natural alcohol, it reveals a stunning perfume of graphite, mulberries, blackcurrants, kirsch, licorice and forest floor. This full-bodied, dense Pomerol transcends the overall vintage character. Thienpont compared the style of the 2011 with their 2000, but with more density to its core because of the extremely low yields. Only 60% of the crop made it into this cuvee. It will need 5-8 years of cellaring, and should still be intact and drinking beautifully at age 30. A candidate for the top wine of Pomerol, Alexandre Thienpont calls the 2011 a return to the more classic style of Vieux Chateau Certan after the exotic, over-the-top 2009 and 2010. A blend of 70% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc (the highest in a number of years) and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2011 was harvested September 7-20.
94-96 points, Wine Advocate, 2013
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.