Vieux Chateau Certan Pomerol 2009


One of the great releases of Vieux Chateau Certan’s entire history. It is one to keep for the long haul but will reward your faith with lovely wine.

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Neighbour to the all conquering Chateau Petrus and vying through their long histories for the title of best in Pomerol. Vieux Chateau Certan or VCC is often in contention for wine of the vintage in Bordeaux. The estate is 14 hectare split into 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is under the ownership of the Thienpont empire the wines they craft are often more structured then the typical Right Bank Bordeaux. But still retaining the Merlot perfume and flesh that is the charm of appellation. Vieux Chateau Certan Pomerol is a wine I buy every year.

“The 2009’s nearly 14% natural alcohol, exquisite ripeness, and incredible complex bouquet of Asian spices, fruitcake, licorice, smoke, blackberries and black currants are to die for. A blend of 84% Merlot and the rest equal parts Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, it possesses a viscous texture as well as a freshness and vibrancy that are remarkable given the wine’s weight, richness and potential massiveness. This extraordinary effort is one of the finest Vieux Chateau Certans made over the last sixty years. It will undoubtedly shut down in bottle, requiring a decade or more of cellaring. It should keep for 50 years thereafter. Proprietor Thienpont thinks it is a modern day version of the 1948.

As I wrote in my barrel tasting notes, the 2009 ranks alongside four of the legendary vintages of Vieux Chateau Certan’s ancient past, 1945, 1947, 1948 and 1950. It is undoubtedly a cleaner wine than those older vintages, and the selection process under proprietor Alexandre Thienpont was far more severe in 2009 than it would have been sixty years ago.” Score: 99 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, March 201


Merlot dominates here ably supported by Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon a distant (and sometimes non-existant) third. There is only 800 hectare of vines and almost 150 producers. Pomerol is the only major appellation of Bordeaux to eschew a ranking system.  The quality at the top level are arguably better than any other Bordeaux but it can vary.


It gets a tough time most of the places it is grown. But in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion Merlot not only dominates but makes some of the best wines in the world. Perfume, silky and plush. Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon season the wines. Adding structure and acid but in some places, like Petrus they are almost not needed.


Having tasted a few vintages of Bordeaux in my time I have no doubt that this will be one of the best in the modern era. I feel that 2010 is on a par for different reasons and 2005 exceeds them both, but it is a small margin.

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