Vieux Château Certan 2012

Vieux Château Certan 2012
The 2012 vintage is developing into something of a theme in recent offers. This underrated crop continues to impress us with its clarity of fruit and elegantly proportioned wines. If you speak with any modest Pomerol vignerons, and discuss the merits of this récolte, they will remind you, ‘but of course, 2012 is a Pomerol vintage’. And in many respects it is. The Merlots from the plateau of Pomerol are quite exquisite. Our favourites include the highly impressive Petrus and L’Eglise Clinet as well as a regular Justerini & Brooks favourite, Vieux Chateau Certan.

Alexandre Thienpont has managed VCC since 1986 and has more recently been joined by his son, Guillaume. Of the 14 hectares under vine, 70% is planted with Merlot, some on the same vein of blue clay made famous by neighbouring Petrus. They are renowned for their old vine Cabernet Franc, which often lends complexity and energy, however, in 2012 the Merlots had it all! The fruit is sumptuous and velvety with wonderfully delineated flavours of mulberry, crème de cassis and gravel notes. There is a real sense of precision and verve that one would normally expect in a strong Cabernet Franc year, yet it is the strength of the Merlot that provides this. It is so engaging and delicious, it is tempting to drink this right know, although we know that patience will be rewarded. This is classy, refined, classic Vieux Chateau Certan.

‘This is a Merlot year for Alexandre and his son Guillaume: the 2012 a blend of 87% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and just 1% Cabernet Sauvignon (the latter due to a parcel being replanted at the moment.) The nose is very well defined and lively, real “energy” coming from the glass. There are crisp scents of blackcurrant, wild strawberry and a tangible stoniness – very expressive of its terroir. The palate is superb: real tension and purity here, crisp acidity, tensile tannins that lend this VCC edginess and race. The fruit is black rather than red with a sense of poise and superbly assimilated oak on the nervous finish. What a great Pomerol for the vintage! Tasted April 2013. 95-97/100’. - Neal Martin, erobertparker.com