The 2014 Vieux Chateau Certan is a blend of 80% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, picked in three stages: 19-20 September, 29 September to 2 October, and 7 and 8 October. The yields came in at 38.7 hectoliters per hectare with 13.4% alcohol. It was one of my stars of the vintage and now in bottle, I find no reason to change that.
It is endowed with an exquisite bouquet, really one of the best I encountered throughout my tastings: perfumed blackberry, wild strawberry, cold stone and wilted rose petals. Like in barrel, it is not powerful, yet it is blessed with wondrous precision. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp acidity and fine tannin, a slightly masculine VCC due to its linearity and precision. There is tension here from start to finish, a sophisticated and cerebral Pomerol that transcends the growing season.
It is a totally different kettle of fish to the 2015 (and doubtless the pre-natal 2016). This is unashamedly classic in style, fanning out towards the mineral-rich finish with great frisson and energy. A cellar without the 2014 Vieux-Chteau-Certan would be a great pity.
Drink 2020 - 2050
Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (March 2017)
Bright crimson. Meaty, really savoury nose with great life. Medium weight and beautiful balance. Some light inkiness and a little marked by the oak at present but a really beautiful whole. Fragrant, roses with life and lift again. The wine is relatively high in acidity but, most unusually, surrounded by the ripe fruit. Easy to see a relationship with the beautiful 2006 served after this.
Drink 2020 - 2040
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (July 2016)
Enjoyably full of rich dark fruits, pretty serious in feel and in tannic hold that supports without crushing the fruit. Overall the layers are starting to peel back and show cassis, blackberry, earth, cigar box and tobacco smoke. Plenty of pleasure on offer here.
Drink 2022 - 2038
Jane Anson, Decanter.com (November 2020)
About this WINE
Vieux Chateau Certan
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.
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.
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.