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2009 Vieux Ch. Certan, Pomerol
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The Vieux Château Certan estate, which in 1745 already figured on Bellayme's famous map under the name of "Sertan", is located in the heart of the Pomerol plateau. Covering 14 hectares (35 acres) in one single block, the Vieux Château Certan vineyard is the fruit of a century of painstaking work and careful decision-making.
The estate vineyard is today made up of 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.This varietal mix enables the best possible balance to be sought in each vintage between the Merlot and the Cabernet Franc. The latter performs exceptionally well in this terroir and reaches perfect ripness levels. The grapes are picked by hand and sorted meticulously at the end of each row of wines. After a gentle crushing they are put into oak vats, by variety. Those vats destined to make up the blend of the Grand Vin are run off into 100 % new French oak barrels and aged for 18 to 22 months.
Vieux Château Certan is regularly ranked by the world's press and international tasting panels among the very top wines.
The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.
In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.
Pomerol is the smallest of Bordeaux's major appellations, with about 150 producers and approximately 740 hectares of vineyards. It is home to many bijou domaines, many of which produce little more than 1,000 cases per annum.
Both the topography and architecture of the region is unremarkable, but the style of the wines is most individual. The finest vineyards are planted on a seam of rich clay which extends across the gently-elevated plateau of Pomerol, which runs from the north-eastern boundary of St Emilion. On the sides of the plateau, the soil becomes sandier and the wines lighter.
There is one satellite region to the immediate north, Lalande-de-Pomerol whose wines are stylistically very similar, if sometimes lacking the finesse of its neighbour. There has never been a classification of Pomerol wines.