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Vieux Château Certan 2016

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Right Bank > Pomerol
Grape VarietyMerlot/Cabernet Franc

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 (for the appellation) percentage of Cabernet in the blend. 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon in the vineyard.

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Tasting Notes

In 2016 it was extremely dry at Vieux Chateau Certan so they had to delay the harvest. They marked the vines on which the berries had dried and didn't harvest them. The blend in 2016 was 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and it has a deep garnet-purple color. It pops with scents of vibrant black plums, juicy blackberries and redcurrant jelly, leading to hints of licorice, wood smoke, crushed rocks, and violets, plus a hint of cumin seed. Full-bodied, rich and seductive, the palate has a firm frame of ripe, rounded tannins and seamless freshness supporting the dense, muscular fruit, finishing long. The fruit is so primary - it's in a time capsule. This was the first vintage bottled using their own bottling line.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, December 2022

Just as good, yet in a different style, the 2016 Vieux Château Certan shows cooler notes of crème de cassis, tobacco leaf, underbrush, graphite, violets, and crushed rocks. Deep, incredibly full-bodied and powerful, yet like the 2015, weightless and sensationally textured, it glides over the palate with no sensation of weight or heaviness. Expansive, deep, beautifully concentrated, and flawlessly constructed, it builds incrementally on the palate and has a finish that lasts for over a minute. It’s another legendary wine from this estate to enjoy over the coming 30-40 years. Drink 2019-2059.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, February 2019

The ripeness in this wine is incredibly balanced and perfect with plum and orange-peel character, buttressed by the ripe seeds of the grapes that give a hazelnut and coffee undertone. Turns to violets. Full body with firm and very sexy tannins that are perfectly balanced and polished. Some chocolate and dried black tea-leaf character in the aftertaste. Wonderful finish. Needs five to six years to soften, but already a joy to experience. Try after 2025.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2019

This is a muscular, big wine, more so than in some years, but it is so precise and intellectual, and one of the more austere takes on the vintage at this early stage. The 2015 was more of a crowd-pleaser perhaps, but this has such a gripping, thrilling sense of well drawn out fruit wrapped up in fresh, floral layers. The tannins have an IPT of 82, but are extremely ripe, totally delicious and beautifully constructed. They found more difference between young and old vines compared to the previous year, because of the stress in the summer, so 66% of production made it into the grand vin compared to 75% in 2015. 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Drinking Window 2027-2050

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2017

Sumptuous nose. Great lift. Real race and dancing stuff. Good structure and line. Nothing sweet or fleshy about this but lovely ripeness and nobility. Amazing persistence and elegance in claret mode.
Drink 2025-2045

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2017

Ripe black plums the nose is packed with sweet fruit the palate rich and ripe. The tannins are wrapped round with fruit the mid palate plush depth of flavour. Bramble and bilberry towards the back give freshness balance with the sweet rich fruit filling out the finish. 2027-46

Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2017

“A 2010 plus,” is how Guillaume Thienpoint describes this powerful, rich, dense VCC, made with slightly less Cabernet Franc than usual because of the summer heat wave. Bold, grassy and plush, with masses of underpinning tannin and satanic, dark berry fruit. 2026-40

Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2017
Read more tasting notes...

The 2016 Vieux Château Certan is blended of 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple in color, it leaps from the glass with pristine, vivid notions of candied violets, chocolate-covered cherries, blackberry compote and mulberries with fragrant touches of raspberry leaves, crushed rocks, licorice, cumin seed and yeast extract plus a waft of red roses. Medium to full-bodied and beautifully elegant, the palate builds from a quiet intensity to an incredibly well-sustained aria of crunchy red and black cherries notes plus tons of floral undertones, framed by exquisitely soft yet firm tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long with lingering mineral and floral sparks. How does this 2016 compare to the also amazing 2015 vintage? Stylistically they are very different, as my notes on each should convey, but beyond this I am struck by the incredible harmony and seamlessness of the 2016 along with its amazing depth and energy this year. Bravo! 2021 - 2070

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (Interim No), November 2018

The 2016 Vieux Chateau Certan is a blend of 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon that was picked at 40.50 hectoliters per hectare, in three stages of picking: 3-7, 10-11 and 17-18 October. It has a high IPT of 82 and a pH of 3.77. It has a very refined bouquet with blackberry, briary and morello cherries that are tightly wound at first, but open gradually with aeration. The Merlot is fully in control aromatically; this is not a VCC governed by the Cabernet Franc this year, consistent with the 2016 vintage. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannin. There is plenty of dark berry fruit laced with hints of earl grey and bay leaf, a complex and cerebral Pomerol with a long, precise and (to put it banally) delicious finish. This is another outstanding wine from Alexandre and Guillaume Thienpont. Drink 2022 - 2060.

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (230), April 2017

The balance and finesse to this wine are really beautiful with ultra-fine tannins and beautiful fruit. It’s full and structured yet so long and intense. It’s a wine that seduces you with every sip — already. Great selection here. Quite simply turbocharged at the end.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2017
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.