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.
The 2018 Vieux Château Certan is composed of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, weighing in with 14.4% alcohol and an IPT (total polyphenol index) of 77. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the nose is locked down tight at this youthful stage, requiring a lot of patient swirling to release a profound powerhouse of a perfume: preserved plums, blueberry compote, ripe black cherries and boysenberries, leading to suggestions of Indian spices, lilacs, espresso and licorice, plus a waft of sandalwood. The medium to full-bodied palate has an amazing sense of cohesiveness. There are no edges to the seamless flow of exquisitely fine-grained tannins and perfectly knit acidity, beautifully framing the blue and black fruits, which are at once elegant and also so, so rich. It finishes with many slowly lapping waves of minerals and exotic spices, which just go on and on. It is a wine that is, simply put, an experience not to be missed. Give it a good 6-8 years in the cellar and drink it over the next 30 years or more.
99+ points, Wine Advocate (April 2021)
Blackberry and hints of plum with intense wet-earth and black-olive undertones. Bark and some iodine. Full-bodied with superb depth of fruit and structure. The palate is so broad with super tannins. This is a powerful and very structured VCC with fantastic depth and muscle. Down-to-earth style. You can taste the soil. 70% merlot and 30% cabernet franc. One for long cellar aging. Old-vine character. Try after 2027.
99 points, JamesSuckling.com (February 2021)
The 2018 Vieux Château Certan is delicate, silky and understated, just as it was in barrel. Inky blue/purplish berry fruit, mint, lavender, spice and wild flowers all open in the glass. The 30% Cabernet Franc, which is high for present-day standards, adds tons of aromatic lift as well as freshness, while bright, saline-infused notes extend the finish. Fine tannins and mid-weight structure give the 2018 an air of finesse that is impossible to miss. If I had to bet on one 2018 that could very well surprise 10-20 years out, it might very well be VCC.
97+ points, Vinous (March 2021)
The flagship 2018 Vieux Château Certan is based on 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc and was brought up in (I suspect) roughly 50% new French oak. It tips the scale at 14.5% natural alcohol, which is the same as the 2010 (slightly higher than the 2009) and has a pH of 3.78, which is also very close to the 2010. This rock star of a Pomerol offers a kaleidoscopic array of red, black, and blue fruits, white truffle, spring flowers, tobacco, and crushed rock-like minerality on the nose. It has perfectly integrated oak, gorgeous concentration, building yet ultra-fine tannins, and not a hard edge to be found. I was able to follow this bottle for multiple days, and the large Cabernet Franc component became more and dominant, yet it never truly shut down and was always a joy to drink. Nevertheless, a good 7-8 years of bottle age are warranted, and it should evolve for 30-40 years in cold cellars. Again, the Thienpont family produces a heavenly wine that wine lovers should all have in their cellar. Along with Petrus, Conseillante, Lafleur, and a handful of others, it's one of the appellation's most singular wines.
99 points, JebDunnuck.com (March 2021)
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.