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2010 Vieux Chateau Certan

2010 Vieux Chateau Certan

100 RP

Featured Review
The 2010 Vieux Château Certan is deep garnet in color, and—POW—the nose opens as a complete spice-bomb, featuring notes of fenugreek, cumin seed and cinnamon stick over a core of Black Forest cake, plum preserves and blueberry pie with hints of fragrant earth and crushed stones. Full-bodied, rich and seductive in the mouth, it is laden with layers of black and blue fruit preserves, framed by super plush tannins, finishing epically long and perfumed. Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Robert Parker | 100 RP

Critic Reviews

The 2010 Vieux Château Certan is deep garnet in color, and—POW—the nose opens as a complete spice-bomb, featuring notes of fenugreek, cumin seed and cinnamon stick over a core of Black Forest cake, plum preserves and blueberry pie with hints of fragrant earth and crushed stones. Full-bodied, rich and seductive in the mouth, it is laden with layers of black and blue fruit preserves, framed by super plush tannins, finishing epically long and perfumed.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RP
A perfect wine with perfect purity of fruit. It shows gorgeous aromas of blackberries, currants and cedar with hints of chocolate. Full body, with a lovely sweetness of fruit and ripe tannins. It goes to chocolate, hazelnut and spices. Nutmeg too. Sexy and incredible. It has so much depth of fruit and density.

James Suckling | 100 JS
A stunner, this marries structured tobacco, ganache and loam notes to a glorious core of raspberry, blackberry and plum coulis flavors, accented by coffee, roasted mesquite and black tea aromatics. A terrific minerality courses throughout, with the finish letting power and refinement play out almost endlessly. Best from 2017 through 2040. 3,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 98 WS
Slowly opening, taking its time and yet full of precise, fleshy pleasure. This is an understated 2010 as far as the vintage goes on the Right Bank, muscular while full of elegance and mouth watering pleasure. Dark chocolate notes, a fistful of tannins, fleshy but carefully extracted fruits, just a lovely example of Pomerol on the subtler side of the street. Drinking Window 2020 - 2042

Decanter | 97 DEC
The 2010 Vieux Château Certan has a more modern bouquet compared to its peers. There is plenty of high quality new oak that slightly masks the fruit, although it does not overwhelm and should be completely subsumed with bottle age. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and a fine bead of acidity. This is very well balanced, though I would have liked a little more substance and grip on the finish. Very fine and classy, but maybe it could have been better? Tasted blind at Farr Vintners 10-Year On Bordeaux horizontal.

Vinous Media | 97 VM
A beautiful, velvety smooth wine, unusually for Vieux Château Certan dominated by Merlot. It has tannin, to be sure, but these are conveyed through the ripe fruit and the sweetness of the blackberry flavors. It is opulent, although never too much, retaining its elegance. Age for many years.

Wine Enthusiast | 97 WE
(Vieux Château Certan) Vieux Château Certan is one of my absolute favorite estates in all of Bordeaux, but the 2010 will not be a vintage that finds its way into my cellar. The wine has turned out quite well for the vintage on the Right Bank, but it is a pretty heady wine at 14.5 percent alcohol and suffers just a bit in terms of aromatic and flavor precision as a result. Like the 2009 here, the blend includes a bit more merlot than is customary, with fully eighty-six percent of the blend hailing from this grape (the balance being made up of eight percent cabernet franc and six percent cabernet sauvignon). The blend turned out to be a bit of a surprise, as many Right Bank producers mentioned how exceptional the cabernet franc turned out in 2010, but perhaps the drought conditions produced some hydric stress in the cab franc at VCC and imperfect ripening as a result. The wine is of course still very good, as it offers up a deep and ripe blend of black cherries, dark chocolate, nutty tones, cigar smoke, gravelly soil nuances and a distinct topnote of coffee bean. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and broad-shouldered, with a firm core of ripe fruit, suave tannins, good balance and fine length and grip on the palate-staining and quite powerful finish. There are absolutely no signs of overripeness here on the nose or palate and the alcohol is perfectly buried into the body of the wine, but it lacks just a touch of the customary VCC spark at this octane level. (Drink between 2022-2060)

John Gilman | 92 JG

Wine Details for 2010 Vieux Chateau Certan

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.

For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.

France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.

France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.

Subregion Pomerol


Producer Chateau Vieux Chateau Certan : Great wine estates understand the importance of allowing the natural landscape and climate to dictate grape varieties cultivated. Though Pomerol is part of Bordeaux, it differs in climate and geology from the Medoc, where Cabernet Sauvignon reigns. Pomerol is Merlot territory, where high clay content lay deep below the surface with mostly sand and gravel with a high proportion of stone on top allowing the vines to prosper. Chateau Vieux Chateau Certan is one of the oldest in the appellation and has been successfully exploiting the benefits of its terroir; producing some of the greatest wines not only in Pomerol, but perhaps in all of Bordeaux.

Though the land of Pomerol is relatively flat, Vieux Chateau Certan rests atop the Pomerol Plateau, where its vines abut those of Chateau Petrus. This is where the grapes of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and miniscule amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon enjoy perfect harmony of complex soil composition and a unique micro-climate. Its geographical location farther south on the right bank lends to its warmer temperatures and an earlier ripening season.

The 14 hectares of Vieux Chateau Certan are planted in one single block which is made up of 23 plots. Each is managed individually according to soil type, grape variety and age of vines. The soils are varied subtly and contain a very clayey part planted mainly with Merlot (70%), a gravel-clay part planted with Cabernet Franc (25%), and a very gravely part planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (5%). Each planting is an impressive display of human talent and respect for nature and the anticipation of what the terroir will best allow to succeed.

Founded at the beginning of the 16th century by the Demay family, who were well known for their work in the Bordeaux wine trade. The wines we know today as Vieux Chateau Certan were originally sold under the name “Sertan.” Their formative years enjoyed great success as it was considered one of the top wines in Pomerol if not the best. In truth, since its inception Vieux Chateau Certan has displayed the impressive character of a top Bordeaux.

In 1924, Georges Thienpont, a popular Belgian Bordeaux wine merchant purchased the estate. He was already a successful landowner of the Saint-Emilion property of Troplong Mondot, but his relationship to Vieux Chateau Certan was important, as was the wine’s success and image in the market place. He developed a savvy marketing ploy in an effort to discover which of his clients were buying his wine. In discreet fashion, he implanted the use of distinctive pink capsule that we still see on the bottles today. Pink was also the color of the moment for Parisian designers, making the look of the bottle quite chic.

The Thienpont family remains in control of the estate today, continuing the efforts of maintaining the prestige and success that Vieux Chateau Certan has relished since the 16th century. A mighty task to live up to, but it rests dutifully in the hands of Georges Thienpont’s grandson Alexandre. He lives and works for his wine and is known in Bordeaux as the man who intimately knows each vine in his 14 hectare vineyard. It is safe to say that the wine bottle with the pink capsule’s legacy will continue to live on and prosper.

He has since brought Vieux Chateau Certan to its golden age. The wines have received world-wide acclaim for their bold character, purity, elegance, suppleness and complexity, which are typical for the terroir and micro-climate of the Pomerol plateau. Alexander introduced a second wine, La Gravette de Certan, and in keeping with tradition, it too has the distinctive pink capsule. The Grand Vin has an annual production of 5,000 cases. The remaining fruit goes into the making of the second wine or is sold as a generic Pomerol wine.

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