The 2018 La Gravette de Certan, the second wine of Vieux Château Certan, comprises Merlot blended with younger Cabernet Sauvignon vines, raised in 50% new oak. It has a more complex, nuanced bouquet than I encountered out of barrel; the brambly red fruit is still present, but now intermixed with light truffle, clove and espresso scents. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and light cracked black pepper notes mingling with the black fruit. Then it tightens up toward the finish, which feels fresh and delineated. This is an excellent La Gravette that should give up to 12 years of drinking pleasure.
Drink 2022 - 2032
Neal Martin, vinous.com (Mar 2021)
The 2018 La Gravette de Certan is a gorgeous second wine. Pliant, creamy and so expressive, La Gravette is everything a second wine should be. Juicy dark cherry fruit, spice, licorice, new leather and lavender fill out the layers effortlessly. No, the 2018 is not quite the 2016, but it's close.
Drink 2023 - 2038
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (Mar 2021)
The second wine of this beautiful estate certainly doesn't taste like a second wine, and the 2018 La Gravette De Certan put a smile on my face. Based on 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in 50% new barrels, it has the same supple, seamless, sexy style of the Grand Vin, only with the volume turned down slightly. Redcurrants, truffle, tobacco, hints of chocolate, and damp earth all emerge on the nose, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a beautiful core of sweet fruit, silky tannins, and a great finish. It can be drunk today or cellared for 15 years or more.
Drink 2021 - 2036
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (Nov 2021)
Medium garnet-purple coloured, the 2018 La Gravette de Certan charges out of the gate with expressive notions of spiced blackberries, Black Forest cake and stewed plums, plus hints of cinnamon toast, dusty earth and iron ore, with a touch of potpourri. The medium to full-bodied palate is packed with juicy black fruits, framed by velvety tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and spicy.
Drink 2022 - 2033
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (Mar 2021)
Currant, chocolate, wet-earth and cedar aromas follow through to a medium to full body with integrated, refined tannins that build on the palate and follow through in a polished way. Give it three or four years to open, as it seems rather tight. Almost all merlot with some cabernet sauvignon. Try after 2025.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Mar 2021)
From young vines under 20 years old, accounting for around one-third of overall production. Just beautifully mouthwatering, with rosebud notes alongside ripe berry fruits, and slight hints of smoked cigar box on the finish. This is a lovely Gravette, and when you go back to retaste after the first wine it still holds its own, just in a less muscular and complex style. 30% new oak.
Drink 2026 - 2045
Jane Anson, Decanter.com (Nov 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.