Vieux Château Certan 2010


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Tasting Notes

The 2010 Vieux Chateau Certan, a blend of 86% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, tips the scales at 14.5% alcohol. Production was lower than in 2009 and the alcohol slightly higher, but the pH is 3.7, which is surprisingly reasonable given the lofty power and alcoholic clout this full-bodied wine possesses. Dense purple-colored , the 2010 displays a vivid yet astonishing array of spice box, red, blue and black fruits, crushed rock and spring flowers. The oak is well-concealed behind the lavish concentration and richness. Exceptionally pure, this unbelievable wine flirts with perfection. Unfortunately, there is 20% less of it than in 2009, and the tannins warrant a good 8-10 years of cellaring, as I suspect it could actually close down. This is another 40- to 50-year effort in 2010 that should elicit considerable interest from wine consumers.

Thienpont thinks he has produced three wines - 2008, 2009 and 2010 - that are the greatest trilogy in the history of Vieux Chateau Certan, rivaling what this estate did in 1947, 1948 and 1949.

Score: 99Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (205), March 2013

Alexandre Thienpont thinks 2010 is even more powerful and tannic than 2009. This is certainly a big wine, dominated by its Merlot component (86%, with the rest mostly Cabernet Franc). The natural alcohol level is 14.5%, slightly above 2009, but the pH is a healthy 3.7, and the wine, like so many 2010s, is a paradox. The alcohols are often the highest ever yet the acidities are fresh and lively, and the wine crisp and refined. This is a deep purple-colored wine, with loads of opulence and fat, a voluptuous texture and tremendous purity. The style is a modern-day version of what they probably achieved in 1947, 1949 and 1950. Thienpont attributes the wine's freshness to the lack of any real heat wave, the drought, and the very cool nights in September. This wine should drink well for 20-40 years.

Score: 96/98Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (194), May 2011

Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux 2010 tasting. The Vieux Château Certan 2010 has a tightly wound bouquet with truffle tinged black fruit, hints of warm gravel and spice. The palate is medium-bodied with taut tannins, superb acidity and a convincing sense of energy and tension from start to finish. It needs a little more depth on the mid-palate, but is very fresh with good structure. This is a great wine from Alexandre Thienpont. Tasted January 2014.

Score: 96Neal Martin,, February 2014

The 2010 was, as Alexandre mentioned, a "merlot" year and there is 25% less Cabernet Franc in the blend. If I am being truly honest (and that has got me into a lot of trouble this year) I am missing that component on the nose. For sure, it has wonderful purity and focus, subtle raspberry and cranberry notes that are incredibly well defined, but I just miss that edginess that the Cabernet Franc imparts. Still, I cannot deny there is superb minerality here. The palate is quite broody on the entry: good density, a little softer than I expected, but with lovely spicy notes intertwined in the black, slightly tarry fruit. It is a little "gawky" after bottling so it will gain more harmony and composure. The finish is masculine, typical of the vintage, with a long tertiary aftertaste. Very fine...of course. Tasted November 2012.

Score: 96Neal Martin,, February 2013

A blend of 86% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon cropped between 27th September and 5th October, the Vieux Chateau Certan delivers 14.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. It is presently being raised in 75% new oak. The nose is very refined with touches of blackberry, raspberry, black truffle and dark cherries with wonderful delineation considering the alcohol level. The palate is very well balanced with beautiful poise, perhaps more focused than the 2009 at this stage. Wonderful mineralité, there is superb precision and energy is this nascent VCC. Just superb. Tasted April 2011.

Score: 96/98Neal Martin,, April 2011

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. Better in 2020.

Score: 100James Suckling,, February 2013

This is off the charts. I am blown away. This is so concentrated yet perfect. With chocolate, blackberry, coffee. Full and amazing in density and balanced. The grapes were tiny and the production was tiny. I am speechless. This may match the legendary 1947 or 194

Score: 100James Suckling,, March 2011

Very small crop - 35 hl/ha (compared to 42 hl/ha in 2009). A Merlot vintage; only 8% Cabernet Franc. Average IPT is 90, with lots of acid. Very dark crimson. Pretty floral and scented and pretty. Very concentrated and intense. Lots of minerals on the finish. Lovely rich satisfying undertow. Hint of ripe pears oddly enough. Lovely completeness. Great balance and build. Very, very long. The strongest right-bank wine so far. Excellent layers. Very serious - a marvellously intellectual Merlot!

Score: 18.5Jancis Robinson MW,, April 2011

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 percentage of Cabernet in the blend. However in 2010 it is 86% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon which Alexandre says is a similar blend to the great 1998 vintage. Elevage is in 75% new oak with 20% of the crop (mainly Cabernet Franc) relegated to the second wine. What a sensational nose here! This exudes aromas of ripe plums, violets and exotic spices. The palate is dense yet fresh with perfectly balanced tannins. Outstanding purity with black fruit, mocha coffee, chocolate and sweet berries. Beautifully poised and classy. Magnificent VCC.

Score: 18.5+Farr Vintners, April 2011

The fleshy black fruit gives richness on the nose and depth on the palate. The fruit is ripe lots of black plum backed up by dark chocolate layer upon layer of flavour giving complexity the ripeness of the fruit and rounded tannins giving voluptuous richness and suppleness lovely and sensuous. Bramble and bilberry lurk beneath giving a fresher feel at the back and the finish has a flowing elegance.

Score: 96/100Derek Smedley MW, April 2011

Score: 100Tim Atkin MW,, April 2011

More or less the same parcels and blend as '09 (86% Merlot, 14% Cabernet) but a different style. Less opulent and more classically defined. Lovely 'natural' fruit, huge concentration, more alcohol (14.5%), long, powerful tannins and the freshness that marks the vintage. A harmonious whole. Huge potential. Drink 2020-2060.

Score: 19James Lawther MW,, April 2011

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