Farr Vintners Logo

Vieux Château Certan 2020

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 oldest Merlots were planted in 1932 and the oldest 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.

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by Vieux Château Certan


Tasting Notes

Deep purple-black in color, the 2020 Vieux Chateau Certan is composed of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, the youngest vines being 41 years old and the oldest 80 years old. The nose is shut tight to begin, needing a lot of air to call forth beguiling scents of rose oil, sandalwood, star anise, and black truffles - to begin - giving way to a profound core of plum preserves, blueberry compote, boysenberries, and molten chocolate with a fleeting waft of vanilla pod and sassafras. The full-bodied palate is fantastically structured, with very firm yet very fine, smooth tannins and amazing tension supporting the dense, multilayered fruit, finishing with epic length and a whole firework display of mineral and floral notes. This is superb.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, March 2023

Moving to the Grand Vin, the 2020 Vieux Château Certan is another legendary wine from this vintage, ranking with the best Bordeaux ever produced. Based on 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc that spent 18 months in 65% new French oak, it has a deep, powerful, full-bodied style as well as incredible purity and precision in its darker cassis, graphite, gravelly earth, and tobacco-driven aromatics. With perfectly integrated oak, again, incredible purity, and perfect, ultra-fine tannins, it deserves 8-10 years of bottle age and will be a 40- to 50-year wine.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, March 2023

A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, the 2020 Vieux Château Certan bursts with aromas of blackberries, sweet spices, rose petals, orange zest, burning embers and violets framed by a deft application of creamy new oak. Medium to full-bodied, deep and concentrated, it's rich and layered, with a more broad, unctuous profile than the pure and refined 2019, concluding with a long, resonant finish. This is more immediate out of the gates than the 2019, and I suspect it will not prove quite as long lived, but it is a terrific effort from the Thienpont family.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate, April 2023

Real Pomerol here with black berry, chocolate, hazelnut and walnut aromas and flavors. Dark fruits. Crushed stone. It’s full and intense with great focus. Powerful yet so balanced and intense. Juicy center palate. Fantastic length. Great clarity. Drink after 2028.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2023

Tension, structure, complexity, waves of violet, rose petals and slate A serious VCC with tension and poise, this inches open to show graphite, pencil lead and sweet raspberry, blueberry and savoury cassis bud, almost an edge of petrol, elegant and balanced, and with a personality that is going to power through the decades. 50% new oak.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, February 2023

85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc. Cask sample.
Deep, intense colour. Lovely open expression of fruit on the nose with floral notes and plenty of lift and relief. Palate ripe but vinous and sappy, the tannins finely honed offering a velvety texture. Contained power and concentration behind. Slight glow but remains digeste. Another top year. (JL) 14.5%
Drink 2030 – 2055

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2021
Read more tasting notes...

Extraordinary clarity and brilliance on the nose with ink and iodine, blackberry and blueberry. Really perfumed already. Full-bodied with fine tannins and superb depth and length. I love the complexity and the great texture. Energetic finish.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2021

The 2020 Vieux Château Certan is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, picked on the 14th to the 24th of September for the Merlot, then on the 28th and 29th of September for the Cabernet Franc. The pH is 3.77 and the alcohol is 14.5%. Deep purple-black colored, it needs considerable coaxing, swirling and a lot of patience before it finally lets rip an intoxicating perfume of ripe, juicy black plums, Morello cherries, candied violets, black truffles and crushed rocks, giving way to hints of black tea, molten licorice and Sichuan pepper, plus a waft of dusty red soil. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers achingly ripe, silt-like tannins and shimmering freshness that melds with the black fruits and earthy layers with jaw-dropping seamlessness, finishing with layer upon layer of mineral and savory suggestions and, finally, a gorgeous floral whisper. There are going to be two ways to approach this: 1) Just let the remarkably sensual, inexplicable beauty of it wash over you or 2) Try to unravel all those intricate layers and have it blow you mind. Either way, this is simply an incredible achievement—bravo Alexandre and Guillaume Thienpont!

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, May 2021

Concentrated and complex flavours with a silky, velvety and supremely seductive texture, alongside a ton of energy, freshness and juice. It has dense muscular tannins, and is going to age beautifully. As it opens you get the aromatics coming out, and the Merlot fleshy fruits become generous and welcoming, opulent without being tiring. A little less Cabernet Franc in the blend than normal because one of the three plots has currently been pulled up before replanting. Harvest September 14 to 29. 3.77pH. A yield of 30hl/ha because of the dry weather through the summer followed by the flashes of heat in September, among lowest ever (similar to 2010).

Drinking Window 2027 - 2042

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, May 2021
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.