The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2011 Vieux Chateau Certan offers a beautiful bouquet of plums, black cherries, cassis and hints of graphite as well as spice, an excellent texture and medium body. A success in this difficult vintage, it should age easily for 10-15 years. Yet after the trilogy of great wines in 2008, 2009 and 2010, few consumers are likely to pay much attention to this 2011.
|Score: 91||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (212), April 2013|
Made in a big, bold style with 13.6% natural alcohol, it reveals a stunning perfume of graphite, mulberries, black currants, kirsch, licorice and forest floor. This full-bodied, dense Pomerol transcends the overall vintage character. Thienpont compared the style of the 2011 with their 2000, but with more density to its core because of the extremely low yields. Only 60% of the crop made it into this cuvee. It will need 5-8 years of cellaring, and should still be intact and drinking beautifully at age 30.
A candidate for the top wine of Pomerol, Alexandre Thienpont calls the 2011 a return to the more classic style of Vieux Chateau Certan after the exotic, over-the-top 2009 and 2010. A blend of 70% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc (the highest in a number of years) and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2011 was harvested between September 7-20.
|Score: 94/96||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (200), April 2012|
The Vieux Chateau Certan was cropped between 6th and 7th of September and from 14th until 20th September. That's what you'll read everywhere, although I was filming Alexandre when he was picking the final Cabernet around the 29th September! Cropped at 37hl/ha, it is a blend of 70% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and (yay!) 29% Cabernet Franc. It delivers 13.6 degrees alcohol with a total acidity of 3.5gms/L and an IPT of 83. After the Cabernet Francless 2009 and 2010, this is more what I consider to be a classic VCC nose and as Alexandre, unlike those previous vintages that gives you everything up front, this is far more intellectual and enigmatic with hints of mineral laden fruit, limestone and small dark cherries. It is beautifully defined yet distant. The palate is succinctly balanced with crisp acidity, exceptional balance and superb backbone. There is an undercurrent of masculinity, a saline tincture, crushed stone and a touch of dried herbs and yet these are just fleeting hints. It has enormous length and it is one of the very few that could be on the same ethereal plateau as the 2009 and 2010 and perhaps one day...even better. Tasted April 2012.
|Score: 96/98||Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, April 2012|
The aromas of this are so gorgeous, with blackberries, black cherries and wet earth. Full body with super-fine tannins and bright acidity. A firm, tightly structured young red with orange peel and other citrus fruit. This is so focused and straight. Try in 2018.
|Score: 96||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, January 2014|
What a nose. Such beautiful aromas of Cabernet Franc here with licorice and tea and dark fruits. Wet earth too. Full body, with firm and racy tannins and a beautiful finish of chocolate and berries. Intense. Cashmere texture. 29% Cabernet Franc in this with the rest in Merlot with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Cabernet Franc comes mostly from a parcel planted in 1958.
|Score: 95/96||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2012|
Alexandre Thienpont has been making sensational VCCs for several years from the venerable old vines of this exceptionally well situated vineyard. The youngest Merlots were planted in 1959 and the youngest Cabernet Francs in 1948. This is one of the great properties of Pomerol and it normally has a high percentage of Cabernet in the blend. The 2011 is made from 70% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc and only 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. The quality this year reminds Alexandre of 2000, 1988 and 1983. There is an opulent nose with exceptional perfume. On the palate it is concentrated and powerful but with great purity, precision and complexity. Savory, sophisticated and stylish. This is a serious Pomerol with wonderful balance and class.
|Score: 17.5||Farr Vintners, March 2012|
There is a lovely depth of fruit on the nose ripe and sweet. Black plum enriches the palate the sweetness of the fruit giving a fleshy suppleness but under all of the richness there is the freshness of bilberry and bramble that gives a lighter feel to the back palate elegant and more classic.
|Score: 91/96||Derek Smedley MW, April 2012|
It takes a lot to put a smile on the face of the normally rather reserved Alexandre Thienpont, but he was grinning when I visited the château. And no wonder, given the quality of his wine, showing that, after its near absence last year, Cabernet Franc is "back with a bang", as he puts it. This is a very elegant, silky wine, with notes of green pepper and cassis, supple tannins and a lift of refreshing acidity. 15+ years.
|Score: 96||Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2012|
The 'grand retour' of Cabernet Franc with 29% in the blend. Less opulence than 2009 and 2010 but this is a wine that really sings. It has a vital, floral, dark fruit nose, a silky texture and tannins. Succulent, fresh and long. A classic VCC. The Right Bank wine of the vintage.
|Score: 19||James Lawther MW, Decanter.com, April 2012|