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
|Score: 100||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (Interim No), November 2018|
I have been fortunate to follow the 2016 Vieux Château Certan almost from the beginning, starting with a tasting of several lots from barrel in early January 2017, in which Alexandre and Guillaume Thienpont showed me the wines in a sequence arranged by the year of planting of various parcels. Even then, it was clear, the 2016 had the potential to be a majestic wine. Now, from bottle, it is every bit as captivating as early tastings suggested it would be. Sweet red/purplish berry fruit, lavender, rose petal and spice infuse this exquisitely beautiful, layered Pomerol. Alexandre Thienpont adds that the harvest was saved by September rains that gave the parched vines just enough water to restore some of the balance that had been lost earlier in the season. Put simply, the 2016 VCC has it all. Drink 2026-2066.
|Score: 100||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, January 2019|
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.
|Score: 100||Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, February 2019|
The 2016 Vieux Château Certan is the first vintage to be entirely bottled by the estate’s own bottling machine (just in case that ever comes up in a wine quiz). Alexandre Thienpont mentioned that he assiduously left out the stressed vines, and he places this above his more hedonistic 2015. The wine takes a few minutes to open in the glass, but boy, is it worth the wait: it reveals pixelated red fruit (crushed strawberry and raspberry) and crushed stone, plus a hint of graphite emanating from the Cabernets. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, slightly chalky tannin that frames pure black and red fruit infused with graphite and almost flint-like notes. This is one of the most mineral-driven VCCs that I have encountered in over 20 years, with dizzying precision on the finish. A very intellectual Pomerol, in the realm of the profound. Drink 2024-2060
|Score: 100||Neal Martin, vinous.com (Jan 2019), January 2019|
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.
|Score: 95/97||Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (230), April 2017|
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.
|Score: 99||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2019|
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.
|Score: 98/99||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2017|
The 2016 Vieux Château Certan is a wine of extraordinary beauty. Rich, seamless and voluptuous in the glass, it exudes sensuality in all of its dimensions. Tasted as a hypothetical blend, the 2016 is less expressive than the separate lots were when I tasted them a few months ago. A rush of dark cherry, inky blue/purplish fruit, crushed rocks, lavender and rose petal infuses the creamy, voluptuous finish. The 2016 manages to be dense and rich, but with no excess weight. It is quite simply a remarkable wine.
|Score: 97/100||Antonio Galloni, vinous.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.
|Score: 19||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2017|
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. Harvested over three stages from the beginning to the middle of October. The 2016 is a blend of 85% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and Alexandre Thienpont thinks the 2016 is akin to 2010 in the sme way as 2015 is like 2009, but he believes the 2016 is better than any of those that preceded it. Perfumed on the nose with rose and violet layered by herbal thyme, cherry, plum and casssis notes. Firm with a graphite edge on the palate, the purity of cool, but rpe bramble fruit is framed by ripe, chalky-textured tannins that freshen the finish. Spicy toast and pepper notes linger in harmony with the fruit on a long finish.
|Score: 18||Farr Vintners, 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
|Score: 95/98||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
|Score: 96||Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2017|
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
|Score: 95||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2017|