Vieux Château Certan 2012


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Tasting Notes

Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux tasting. The 2012 Vieux Château Certan has a potent, smoke, cooked meat, Cabernet Franc-scented bouquet that is beautifully defined—quintessentially Pomerol. You want typicité? Come right here. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, quite gentle as it sashays across the mouth. The acidity is very well judged and leads to an elegant tobacco tinged finish. Alexandre and Guillaume Thienpont have produced one of the finest wines of the Right Bank in 2012, one that is up there with the greats. Tasted January 2016.

Score: 95Neal Martin, (227), October 2016

A top success, the 2012 Vieux Chateau Certan is composed of 87% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep mulberry, plum and black cherry fruit notes intermixed with touches of graphite and subtle smoke lead to a medium-bodied wine with beautiful intensity, well-integrated oak, a velvety opulence and a long, impressively pure finish. A strong effort, it should drink well for 15 or more years.

Alexander Thienpont continues to turn out brilliant wines from this property situated on the high Plateau of Pomerol. The harvest took place between October 1 and 11, producing 33 hectoliters per hectare. The 2012 achieved 13.5% alcohol, a pH of 3.8 and an index of polyphenols as high as the 2010, which was somewhat surprising. It is not nearly as powerful or rich as the 2010 or the 2009. All the old vine parcels of Merlot made it into the final blend.

Score: 92/94Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (206), April 2013

This is a Merlot year for Alexandre and his son Guillaume: the 2012 a blend o 87% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and just 1% Cabernet Sauvignon (the latter due to a parcel being replanted at the moment.) The nose is very well defined and lively, real "energy" coming from the glass. There are crisp scents of blackcurrant, wild strawberry and a tangible stoniness - very expressive of its terroir. The palate is superb: real tension and purity here, crisp acidity, tensile tannins that lend this VCC edginess and race. The fruit is black rather than red with a sense of poise and superbly assimilated oak on the nervous finish. What a great Pomerol for the vintage! Tasted April 2013.

Score: 95/97Neal Martin,, May 2013

So complex and pure with mushrooms, tobacco, chocolate and berries. Full-bodied yet refined, fresh and lively. The texture is so silky and intense. A real beauty and balance that both make you want to drink it.

Score: 94James Suckling,, February 2015

A dense VCC with beautiful fruit of chocolate, blackberries, blueberries. Full body and velvety, with lovely richness and balanced. So juicy and yummy already. A round and voluptuous young red. One of the top wines of the vintage but not quite 2011 VCC, which benefited from outstanding Cabernet Franc.

Score: 93/94James Suckling,, April 2014

Unquestionably one of the wines of the vintage, the 2012 Vieux Château Certan is pure class. So many Pomerols speak to power in 2012, but VCC is all finesse. Forward and open-knit with that classic sense of translucent beauty that is the most identifiable attribute of VCC, the 2012 is simply magnificent. Veins of minerality give the wine its precision and energy, while lifted notes of sage, lavender, mint and tobacco captivate all the senses. The blend is 87% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Readers who can find the 2012 should not hesitate, as it is superb. Drink 2018-2037.

Score: 96Antonio Galloni,, January 2016

Strong graphite aroma on the nose even though there is less Cabernet Franc than in some years. Silky tannins pull you along to a dry, polished finish. Cool and fresh with sweet blueberry fruit on the mid palate and a touch of earthiness adding savour. Very fine tannins. Earlier drinking wine than 2009 or 2010. (JH)

Score: 18Julia Harding MW,, April 2013

Deep purple colour. A very distinctive nose of graphite, blackcurrant and green pepper. The palate is intense with fresh black fruits and garrigue, with fresh acidity and structure tannins. This is long, refined and perfectly poised. On revealing the identitiy of the wines, it was no great surprise as this exudes classic VCC character with the Cabernet Franc notes coming through. It will need bottle age some before opening.

Score: 17+Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, June 2015

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. This year however, the blend is 87% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and only 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. The harvest was the latest ever here. Lots going on here with a very powerful, dense, layered, structured character. A big wine but there is great purity. Long, sweet and velvety but tannic intensity too. Impressive and serious.

Score: 17.5Farr Vintners, March 2013

Very distinctive, with a terrific smoldering tobacco and charcoal
frame around a core of steeped fig, blackberry and plum fruit. The
fruit drapes across the finish. Best from 2018 through 2030.

Score: 94James Molesworth, Wine Spectator Insider, January 2015

There are lots of brooding black fruits on the nose and depth and richness on the palate. Black plum fleshiness is backed by slightly fresher black cherry all underpinned by fine ripe tannins. Towards the back dark chocolate enriches and this combined with the ripe fruit gives fleshy suppleness on the finish. 2020-40.

Score: 93/95Derek Smedley MW, April 2013

Alexandre Thienpont describes the Merlot in his 2012 as "simple", saying that it needs the
Cabernet Franc for complexity and palate length, but I think he's being too hard on his
own wine. This isn't another 2010 VCC, but it's still a delight: perfumed, grassy and supple
with bramble and green pepper notes, silky tannins and well handled oak. A château
enjoying a rich vein of form.
Drink: 2020-35

Score: 95Tim Atkin MW,, April 2013

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.