This is complex, precise and concentrated but tempered with stunning potential. There is so much flavour and juice here with crushed tobacco and liquorice root alongside richly textured raspberry and blueberry fruits - all extremely well balanced and yet reaching down into the depths promising great ageing. A VCC that is full of layers, with the beauty of this vintage making them all relatively discernible even at this early stage because the tannins are not balled together but allow the light in between. An excellent year for Cabernet Franc, which always favours this estate - owner Alexandre Thienpont said that they weren’t just useful but essential this year, giving freshness and focus to the hedonism of the Merlots, and dampening down the alcohols. No press wine in the blend as yet, and not sure if they will use it. A yield of 40hl/ha. 98-100 points. Drinking Window 2027 - 2044
This is a significant VCC with masses of fruit and juicy tannins. It’s fresh, but impresses you with the rich and powerful fruit. A tower of a wine. Incredible depth and density. Thick and muscular. It is 30 per cent cabernet franc, the rest merlot.
70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 40 hl/ha. pH 3.78. Barrel sample. Darkest cherry red. Dark fruited and quite mineral on the nose, but fragrant with that dark, subtle fruit. Lively and with a dash of herbs for complexity. At the moment this is rather sober on the palate. That Cabernet freshness is there and bringing great finesse to the tannins. Opens up to more dark and subtle fragrance. Really refined and beautifully dry and elegant. Very long, very tender in texture even if there's a charge of tannins hiding underneath. There is a subtle beauty. I need half an hour with this wine not five minutes because it unfurls on the palate. This is already a great wine but it is going to be a very great wine. Alexandre Thienpont describes it as cashmere but I think of it as the finest of cotton sheets, ironed smooth, with very high thread count. (JH) 14.4% Drink 2028-2048
The 2018 Vieux Château Certan is a blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. Yields were 40 hectoliters per hectare. The wine has a pH of 3.78, 14.4% alcohol and an IPT (total polyphenol index) of 77. Medium to deep garnet-purple it has a very vibrant color it drifts effortlessly out of the glass with wonderfully intense, beautifully delineated scents of red roses, black raspberries, kirsch and Darjeeling tea before the powerful, profound black fruits kick in: baked plums, wild blueberries, molten licorice and mulberries with touches of cigar box, cinnamon stick, tapenade and truffles. Full-bodied, rich, densely packed and revealing layer upon layer of red and black fruits with an incredible array of floral and spicy sparks, it has a high level of super ripe, incredibly fine, velvety soft tannins and fantastic freshness (not just from acid but from bright, crunchy fruit). It finishes very long, marvelously layered and with such jaw-dropping brightness from the fruit, the end is almost electric. Incredible.