2021 Vieux Château Certan, Pomerol, Bordeaux
The 2021 Vieux Château Certan is a spectacular tour de force from Alexander and Guillaume Thienpont. What a wine. Vibrant and magnificent in its precision, the 2021 races across the palate, revealing seemingly endless layers of nuance over time. Dark blue/purplish fruit, cinnamon, new leather, graphite, lavender and crushed rocks all build effortlessly. The Cabernets are dialed up in 2021 and that comes through in the wine`s flavor profile and overall feel. The purity of the flavors is just mind-bending. Harvest took place between September 25 and October 4. The blend is 67% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Readers who can find the 2021 should not hesitate, as it is truly magical.
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com
This has a classic structure, wet stones, smoked earth, plenty of sappy redcurrant and cassis fruits, graphite and subdued power, will easily age for 15 to 20 years. The emphasis is on graceful structure rather than exuberant fruits, but it has clarity and complexity, and the most beautifully drawn out finish. Skilful winemaking. No chaptilisation, 65% new oak, 3.63ph. Harvest September 24 to October 6
Jane Anson. janeanson.com
Ripe juicy strawberry, this has a gorgeous intensity on the nose, really fragrant and expressive, in a rich deep, heavily-scented way. You get the ripeness here with smooth, silky tannins giving depth and intensity on the palate. Succulent with a sharpness, that hit of freshly picked strawberry and cherry juice - electric and bright with tension and direction. It’s softly spoken in one way, so quietly confident, yet showing so much detail in another, saying; "looking at how charming I can be". It has freshness and tension - ‘a cool climate VCC’ said Alexandre Thienpont. Bright acidity through delivered gracefully and sensitively with a gentle persistence. I love the delicacy, it has body no doubt, but it’s the detail that’s so captivating. A wonderful wine and one of the best from Pomerol in 2021. 3.63pH. A yield of 38hl/ha. Drinking Window 2027 - 2050
Georgina Hindle, Decanter (Apr 2022)
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.
Recommended Châteaux : Ch. Pétrus, Vieux Ch. Certan, Le Pin, Ch. L’Eglise-Clinet, Ch. La Conseillante, Ch. L’Evangile, Ch. Lafleur, Trotanoy, Ch. Nenin, Ch. Beauregard, Ch. Feytit-Clinet, Le Gay.
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.
Merlot is now grown in virtually all wine growing countries and is particularly successful in California, Chile and Northern Italy.
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Merlot 77%, Cabernet Franc 20%, Cabernet Sauvignon 3%
Alexandre Thienpont beautifully summed up the 2021 vintage with the word “aromatic” – which certainly encapsulates this wine. The nose is extremely perfumed, with dried violets, dried herbs, sweet spice and black fruit. The tannins are refined and fully ripe. The wine feels luscious, but the acidity is fresh – each structural component is individually crafted. The palate gently evolves, starting with a pure blackcurrant core, a little bell pepper and ending with sweet spice. The fruit is at peak ripeness and incredibly concentrated. This is a truly special wine, quintessentially VCC. Drink 2028-2050.
Our score: 18.5/20
Berry Bros. & Rudd (Apr 2022)
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