The 2022 Vieux Château Certan was picked between 6 and 21 September at 35hL/ha and matured in two-thirds new oak. Alexandre Thienpont thinks it combines the 2019 and 2020 and said that the Cabernet Sauvignon, from younger vines, lowered the alcohol (14.4%) and lent perfume.
The aromatics are spellbinding, with brilliant delineation and a surfeit of freshness—Blackberry, briary, crushed stone and light iris flower scents, vivacious and so energetic. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, very supple tannins and lashings of cracked black pepper, pencil box and tobacco infusing the black fruit.
As Thienpont said, persistent on the finish and gently lacquering the vines. The Cabernet is very expressive this year, and so while it is a real Left Bank/Right Bank hybrid, it is, at the same time, quintessentially Pomerol. Chapeau Alexandre et Guillaume Thienpont.
Drink 2032 - 2075
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Vieux Château Certan is a wine of tremendous sophistication and polish. I expected a more opulent VCC, but the 2022 is surprisingly delicate and nuanced. The blend is 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, which means all the Cabernets at the château were used in Grand Vin. Perhaps that explains the wine’s construction, favouring length, persistence and aromatics more than size.
Crème de cassis, lavender, spice, and liquorice hints linger on the super-expressive finish. There’s really not much more to say except that the 2022 is magical. “Real heat started in June,” explained Alexandre Thienpont. “We had 15mm of rain over two days in mid-August that really helped. Even so, yields were 35 hectoliters per hectare, lower than 2020. Berries weighed less than a gram, and juice yields were low.”
Drink 2032 - 2062
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
Firm tannic frame, with ink, graphite, violet flowers and, red roses, even hints of black truffles at this young age, a sign of the exuberance of the vintage and one that will no doubt increase with age. A little less Cabernet Franc in the blend than usual because they have one plot uprooted right now.
The aromatics are exploding, but things are more serious on the palate, with grip and austerity, and it will need a good eight to ten years in bottle to soften. Beautiful nutmeg and clove spice with a mouthwatering finish. 35hl/h yield. 65% new oak. Oldest vines date back to 1958. 75% new oak
Drink 2030 - 2050
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (May 2023)
A blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon (very similar to the 2019), the 2022 Vieux Château Certan is a magical wine of exemplary harmony and balance.
Offering up complex aromas of dark berries and cherries mingled with notions of exotic spices, liquorice, iris, violets and loamy soil, it’s full-bodied, supple and seamless, sweet structuring tannins entirely concealed by a multidimensional core of pure, vibrant fruit.
This sensual, perfumed Pomerol is likely to rank alongside the 2019 and 2016 in the pantheon of recent Vieux Château Certan vintages.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2023)
So much oyster shell here with a chalk stone character, dried lemons, sliced white peaches, and pears. It’s medium to full body with lovely fruit and a flavorful finish. Bitter lemon as well. 72% semillon and 28% sauvignon blanc.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2023)
Great expressiveness on the nose; perfumed blackcurrants, black cherries, strawberries, notes of dark chocolate, graphite and liquorice - smells serious. Supple and taught on the palate but with a really juicy core that gives life and energy.
Tannins are excellent, giving weight and texture - a combination of chewy and fleshy but with a crushed stone and spiced edge. Lively, bright, intense, concentrated and suave. It’s rich, broad, muscular, complex and nuanced but at the same time stylish with lots of life, balance and freshness.
This leaves the most gorgeous lingering expression and a sense that it will be both extremely accessible in its youth and have great ageing potential. 3.78pH. A yield of 35hl/ha.
Drink 2027 - 2050
Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2023)
One of the wines of the vintage, without a doubt, the 2022 Vieux Château Certan comes from healthy yields of 38 hectoliters per hectare and is 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. Jaw-droppingly good in every sense, its deep purple hue is followed by a massive array of black cherries, violets, red plums, chocolate, and violets. This carries to a full-bodied Pomerol with a voluptuously layered mouthfeel, perfect tannins, and a great, great finish.
I never find Vieux Château Certan to have the overt power and structure of Petrus or the feminine elegance of Conseillante, but it’s unrivalled in its texture, seamlessness, and purity. If this doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will. And I’ll be a buyer.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2023)
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.