Vieux Ch. Certan 2018
Tasting Notes Vieux Ch. Certan 2018
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.
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.
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.
The 2018 Vieux Château Certan is a very pretty wine built more on elegance, finesse and aromatic nuance. Relative to the recent past, the 2018 shows a much more mid-weight structure and less of the creaminess of either 2015 or 2016. Much of that is attributable to a blend that includes 30% Cabernet Franc. Lavender, rose petal, mint and blueberry fruit all grace the 2018. Far from an obvious wine, the 2018 is going to need a number of years to be at its best, as it is a wine of total understatement and class. Fine beads of tannin support the understated finish. In 2018, VCC is a wine of refinement and subtlety more than anything else. I don't see the same visceral thrill as in a number of vintages of the recent past. Perhaps that will come in bottle.