Vieux Château Certan 2003


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Tasting Notes

Only 850 cases were made in 2003, the lowest production ever at this estate. The blend was 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot (the Merlot was baked in the heat of June, July and August). This wine has a 92- to 93-point bouquet, but only an 87-point palate. The complexity of the Cabernet Franc component provides a gorgeous nose of new saddle leather, forest floor, sous-bois, blueberries and black currants. Lush, attractive and beautifully fruity on the attack, it fades in the mouth, and lacks the depth and texture to back up the exquisite aromatics and entry. This fully mature 2003 is a success in this appellation that experienced many difficulties. Drink it over the next few years. Drink 2014-2017

Score: 90Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (214), August 2014

An outstanding effort in this challenging vintage for Pomerol, this elegant blend (only 800 cases, or one-third the usual production) of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot boasts a dense ruby/purple hue as well as a sumptuous perfume of burning embers, incense, cedar, roasted herbs, and sweet black cherries and currants. Neither big nor weighty, it is an elegant, medium-bodied, finesse-styled, velvety-textured 2003 to drink over the next 10-14 years.

Score: 93Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006

Proprietor Alexandre Thienpont had already bottled his 2003 when I stopped by the chateau in early April. An unusual blend of 80% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot, production is only one-third of normal for this satisfying 2003. Evolved both aromatically and flavor-wise, it is a seductive, complex Pomerol revealing notes of cedar, spice box, plums, and Allspice. There is good ripeness, sweetness, medium body, and loads of finesse as well as elegance. While not big, concentrated, or terribly ageworthy, it is an impeccably made effort that will provide surprisingly fine drinking over the next 10-12 years.

Score: 90Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (158), April 2005

The owners of Vieux Chateau Certan, the Thienpont family, made it clear that the 2003 was saved by the high quality of their Cabernet Franc. The other estate owned by the Thienponts, the garage operation, Le Pin, was completely declassified in 2003. The production for Vieux Chateau Certan was only 50% of normal, with only 1,000 cases made of this blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot. It possesses a deep ruby color with purple nuances along with sweet aromas of underbrush, black cherries, incense, and spice. Round, with good definition, more weight than many Pomerols, and considerable potential for complexity, it should hit its prime in 3-4 years, and drink well for 12-15.

Score: 88/90Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (152), April 2004

Score: 89/91James Suckling, Wine Spectator (April 04), April 2004

Score: 16.5Jancis Robinson MW, (April 04), April 2004

Score: 15.5Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (1), April 2004

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.