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.
Composed of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2017 Vieux Château Certan sports a deep garnet-purple color. No mincing about, the bouquet absolutely prances out of the glass with stunning scents of candied violets, chocolate-covered cherries, roses and eucalyptus over a core of black plum preserves, mulberries, black raspberries and blueberry pie plus wafts of licorice, iron ore and truffles. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has fantastic balance and expression, with very fine-grained, silt-like tannins and well-knit freshness, finishing with epic length and perfume. 2023 - 2063
Tasted blind. Deep ruby colour. Dried cherry and leathery spice on the nose here. Kirsch. Full bodied but keeping some restraint. Powerful – smoky, rich – and yet highly refined. Underneath this sweetness are cooler hedgerow, graphite and cedar tones. Mouth-coating, chewy tannins provide a deep and dense structure. This is earthy but has really good drive. Long and expansive.
Drink 2026 – 2040
The purity and complexity is so mesmerizing for 2017. Raspberries and black fruit with sweet-tobacco and blood-orange undertones. Medium to full body. The tannins are so polished and pure and push out the edges on the wine. Fresh and pretty. Deep. Needs two or three years to perfect it. Try after 2023.
Extremely bright, dark fruit aromas are joined by hints of gooseberry and redcurrant in the mouth, but a deeper, richer cassis comes through on the mid-palate. The high level of acidity emphasises a floral note, yet this has an austerity that is more pronounced than in recent vintages, which should settle in over time. This is a fairly concentrated vintage at VCC, more than at many properties, and was their fifth earliest harvest in the past 20 years, similar to 2011 in terms of dates, although this time it was in three stages, from 12 September to 2 October. This is different in profile to the 2016, with more Cabernet Sauvignon (planted in 2012). It's an elegant style with pure fruit; an extremely focussed and linear wine that's far from exuberant. No frost here, so a final yield of 37hl/ha. 3.75pH. IPT 73.
Drinking Window 2025 - 2038
Deepest crimson with black core. Not much aroma at first because the sample is cool. Rich, firm, dark and more savoury than usual, darker-fruited. Great freshness. Has impressive depth without weight. Very fine shape, great refinement even now. Feels like it is coiled tightly for the future. Dark beauty with just a very slight char on the finish and a long graphite aftertaste. Cool nights kept the freshness.
Possibly the wine of the vintage, the 2017 Vieux Chateau Certan is a blend of 81% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from the highest point on the Pomerol plateau. Deep purple, with a heavenly bouquet of creme de cassis, blueberries, scorched earth, crushed violets, tobacco, and earth, this beauty is full-bodied, has incredible depth of fruit, ripe, present tannins, integrated acidity, and a great finish. This estate has been on fire of late, and this is undoubtedly a worthy follow-on to the otherworldly 2015 and 2016. It has the depth of fruit and texture to offer pleasure even today, yet a solid 7-8 years of cellaring are warranted, and it should be long-lived. Bravo!
The fruit on the nose is fragrant and fresh smoky the palate has mid generosity rich ripe black plums supple sumptuous. Brighter at the back some fresh black fruits the finish has depth sweet rich ripe fruit. 2026-37
They started harvesting in mid-September and then they waited a week and picked the ‘important stuff’ from 25th September until the 2nd October. This was important to get the tannins right in the skins. This is a much fresher, cleaner and less opulent wine than the last two vintages and Guillaume Thienpont describes it as an ‘intellectual’ vintage. The nose is incredibly bright with very direct black cherry notes and some mineral, stony tones, too. The previous few vintages have been later-harvested but this wine retains the freshness. This wine is born of a dry summer and they luckily escaped the frosts by half a degree. Apparently, 300ha in Pomerol were ‘frozen’. Their situation on the dome of Pomerol helped them. According to Alexandre Thienpont, ‘finesse means weak in English’, so he doesn’t use this word about the 2017 vintage. He prefers the word ‘classic’. The perfume is amazing and the silkiness and tenderness is evident. While the wine is not a heavyweight the colour is intense and this is thanks to particularly small berries. The old vines (in both varieties) and accuracy of work in the vineyards helped amazingly. The young vines had decent yields and the second wine is a success, too (80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc). Two thirds of the yield went into the Grand Vin. The brightness of fruit is the overriding theme here and there is a gloss and freshness ratio which makes this a vitally compelling wine. ‘Academic’ was the last word I heard when I walked out of the cellar. They must have been talking about me!
This is a dense and compact center palate with a solid and pointed intensity. Full body, firm and silky tannins and an energetic finish. Complete. Harmonious.
Composed of 81% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Vieux Château Certan gives up gorgeous black raspberries, crushed black currants and warm black berries on the nose with chocolate-covered cherries, violets and star anise suggestions plus black truffles and wood smoke. The palate is medium to full-bodied with wonderful concentration in the mid-palate and firm, very finely pixelated tannins, with seamless freshness and fantastic length.