x
  • Country ranking ?

    196
  • Producer ranking ?

    4
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    from 2020
  • Food Pairing

    roast Leg of Lamb with Mint Pesto & Mustard Crumbs

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The 2015 Vieux Château Certan is a blend of 80% Merlot,, 19% Cabernet Franc and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, cropped between September 17 and October 2 at 42 hectoliters per hectare. The IPT is healthy 83 and the pH is 3.72, the alcohol 14.6%. Enough statistics. What you need to know is that it is a beguiling Pomerol that will set hearts aflutter. It is bridled with a heavenly bouquet with intense red and black fruit, black truffle and a touch of smoke, opening wonderfully in the glass; the Cabernet Franc is very expressive and imparting a licorice note after ten minutes. The palate is medium-bodied with intensity, with a killer line of acidity that imparts freshness from the very start. There is life-affirming tension interwoven throughout this extremely complex wine from Alexandre and Guillaume Thienpont. There are layers, more like a mille-feuille of blackberry, boysenberry, mineral, truffle and a touch of spice towards the finish, just a touch of warmth from the alcohol that merely complements an extraordinary and profound Pomerol. Drink 2025-2060.

Score: 98/100

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (224), April 2016

A powerful and rich wine with super concentration and length. Deep and very rich. Glorious blackberry and black chocolate. Full and super velvety. A creamy texture of stone, chalk and lemon rind from the tannins and acidity. Wow. Loving it. The caressing character is so memorable. 80% merlot and 20% cabernet franc.

Score: 98/99

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2016

One of the most exotic, flamboyant wines of the year, the 2015 Vieux Château Certan is rich, unctuous and seamless, with stunning depth and exceptional textural richness. In 2015, VCC is unusually deep and powerful. A host of rose petal, lavender, mint, spice and plum notes meld together, but it is the wine's overall intensity and spherical structure that stand out most. The 2015 is freakishly rich and likely to require at least 15 years to lose some of its baby fat. It was absolutely stellar on both occasions I tasted it.

Score: 97/100

Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, April 2016

Sweet and ripe on the nose the start of the palate is rich with fleshy black plum. Lighter in the middle bramble and bilberry and although there is more depth at the back the finish has a light flowing elegance. 2027-40

Score: 91/94

Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2016

“Like 2010, but with better Cabernet Franc” is how Alexandre Thienpoint describes his wine. It’s certainly an impressive Pomerol, but I preferred the former vintage. This is flirting with over-ripeness at 14.6% alcohol, but has the richness, fine tannins and fruit weight to cope. Sweet, dense and a little figgy with the Cabernet Franc providing an undertone of leafy freshness. Drink: 2022-35

Score: 94

Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2016

Very intense nose with strong mineral notes - lots of Cabernet Franc influence. Massive impact with really luscious ripe fruit but massive tannins too. Very satiny initially but underneath there is massive tannin. Lovely fragrant top note. Beautifully married. Very sophisticated and with many layers. All vineyard not winemaking. Very savoury - very unlike Merlot stereotype. Drink 2025-2045

Score: 18.5

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2016

Guillaume Thienpont describes this wine as ‘La Force Tranquille’. There is no doubt one millisecond after raising the glass to my nose that this is an incredible wine. The depth of fruit on the nose is extraordinary. It is close to perfection when both grapes ripen optimally and this doesn’t always happen at Vieux Château Certan. Clearly, they manage to make fascinating wine year in year out at this property, but in the vintages when both grapes perform, the Thienponts make a ‘true’ Vieux Château Certan and this is as clear and sonorous as any young vintage I have ever tasted. The palate is complete and it expands as it travels across the taste buds into a larger, more intense beast. Bigger and more expansive than the 2014 this is an indulgent wine and it never relents in its desire to inform you of its pedigree. Cabernet Franc kept everything in check and this is what has brought the freshness to the Merlot. This is a very structured, powerful Vieux Château Certan with magnificent control and a deep, dense register. 2010 was all about Merlot - this vintage is all about Vieux Château Certan. Thrilling and magnificent, rich and luxurious this is a near perfect VCC.

Score: 19.5+

Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2016

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The Story

Vieux Chateau Certan is one of Pomerol's oldest and most exalted estates, having produced wine since at least the mid 1740s. On the Belleyme Map, published in 1785, the property was listed as "Sertan" and was owned by the Demays, a family of established Bordeaux negociants. A century later, ownership passed to a banker, Charles de Bousquet, who sold it to George Thienpont in 1924.

The family diversified in 1979 when Marcel and Gérard Thienpont founded nearby microcuvée estate Château Le Pin. In 1985, management of Vieux Château Certan came to Alexandre Thienpont.

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Vintage 2015

Complete 2015 Bordeaux report by Andrew Caillard MW “Next in line of a great series of vintages; 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010 & 2015.”

 

2015 is a wonderful Bordeaux vintage without the hype or hysteria associated with 2009 and 2010. The wines are generally expressive and generous with marvellous concentration and structure. Give another year in barrel, the wines should gain more fruit complexity and volume. The Châteaux, across all sub-regions, are excited by the beautiful fragrance, clear fruit flavours and brisk energy of the wines, and believe the vintage to be the best since 2010. More than a few times the phrase “a vintage of the decade” has been mentioned. I have tasted through most of the top wines, some on more than a few occasions, and feel confident that this is a vintage worth supporting. It is a very successful vintage.

 

Weather conditions were generally ideal with perfect flowering and set during Spring. A hot dry and sunny spell during June and July kept the vines in balance; the near-drought conditions resulted in excellent cluster development. Veraison (in which the grape berries turn from green and hard to coloured and fleshy) began towards the end of July. Light rains refreshed the canopies and hydrated the clusters. Cooler weather arrived in August with above average rainfall. The northern Medoc was exposed to heavy rains, but no berry splitting or significant disease pressure was reported. The cooler conditions running up to harvest in September allowed the grapes to conserve their aromatic potential and ripen relatively evenly.

 

The red wines across the right bank and the left bank are generally impressive in concentration, vigour and freshness. While all the wines are tasted extremely young, it is easy to see the quality and dimension of the vintage. Merlot performed particularly well, with many Châteaux picking intermittently over a three-week window to achieve optimal freshness, fleshiness and ripeness. Cabernet Franc, its companion in many of the wines, gives an attractive “tannin seam” and structural vigour. Already observers are calling it a right bank (St Emilion & Pomerol) year. Ch Vieux Château Certan, described as “La Force Tranquille,”and Château Petrus were my top two right bank wines followed by Château Ausone. All have a buoyancy and precision that augers well for the future.

 

The southern left bank (Margaux and Pessac-Leognan) also stumped up some beautiful concentrated wines. The alcoholic strength and tannin ripeness seem to correlate with this impression.  Cabernet Sauvignon, typically ”needing to takes its time”, brought wines of lovely aromaticity, concentration and vitality. The success of this variety has been dependent on the sophistication of harvesting and selection at blending. Château Margaux and Château Palmer are amazing wines. Château Haut Brion and Château La Mission Haut Brion made dense chocolaty styles. Château Haut Bailly is particularly refined and beautifully balanced.

 

At Château Batailley, the introduction of a second wine and closer attention to differentiation, led to one of the best vintages in its history. Many of the small refinements and decisions in the vineyard and winery allowed several top Châteaux in St Julien, Pauillac and St Estephe to make beautiful wines too. The hard selection process is particularly evident on the left bank. Château Margaux and Château Cos d’Estournel chose to rigorously defend their first wines by very detailed picking and selection. Only 35% and 39% (respectively) of the harvest went into their Grand Vin. St Emilion’s Ch Cheval Blanc on the other hand comprised 95.1% of the harvest, leaving no reason to make Petit Cheval in 2015.

 

Attention to detail in the vineyard, especially after the August rains, and huge investment in optical sorting machines (at a cost of around 200,000 Euros each) at harvest ensured the grapes were in good condition before vinification. It is quite incredible how the fruit arrives into the winery these days. Meticulous attention to detail has become the norm within the Grand Cru Classé community. The First Growth Estates with their huge financial investments in vineyard and cellar practices, all made impressive wines this year. Perhaps the most evocative of all is Château Margaux. The death of the estate’s longstanding winemaker Paul Pontallier, on Easter Sunday from cancer, rocked Bordeaux’s wine community. He was a man for all seasons. He brought the best out of his people and his wines, whatever the vintage offered. 2015 Château Margaux, in all likelihood, will be the greatest vintage of its modern history.

 

Despite the sombre mood at this year’s 2015 En Primeurs tastings, the energy of Spring brought a sense of renewal. Budburst in the vineyards, white and pink blossom in full bloom, the pure chirrup of fledglings and the vibrant new wines of the vintage promised the animation and maturation of life. The colours, densities, flavours and tannin quality of the young red wines all suggest a great vintage in the making. It is one of the wine trade’s most curious practices to make comment on unfinished wine, yet somehow the predictions become more or less right. Over the next year the wines will develop more fruit complexity, richness and volume in barrel. The tannins, oak and fruit will further integrate.

 

The sweet aperitif/ dessert wines of Sauternes and Barsac have also fared extremely well. The combination of even ripening and optimum outbreaks of botrytis cinerea has brought some magnificent wines. Some are calling it the best vintage since 2001, arguably the greatest vintage in recent memory. While Ch d’Yquem looked gorgeous, the elegantly styled Ch Climens, still in many parts, will be wonderful. Typically this wine is tasted out of several barrels, and my notes are a composite of eight different elements. The fragrance, vibrancy, freshness, and line are amazing. The dry whites, mainly Sauvignon Blanc or Gris dominant are refreshing styles with attractive freshness and drive. Ch Haut Brion Blanc is an amazing wine, but its release price will reflect its rarity.

 

The Châteaux will likely bring out the vintage in two tranches to capture the appetite of the world’s wine trade. The first offers will probably be a touch higher than last years opening prices. This will be against the advice of the negociants who have been running on very low margins for many years now. The weakening of the British Pound and the Australian Dollar against the euro may be a stumbling block for some buyers, but there will be value and opportunity in this forthcoming primeur campaign. For Australian buyers, this is absolutely the best way to buy Bordeaux. Provenance is guaranteed, allocations confirmed and the price will still be less than future imports, by virtue of the structure of the Place de Bordeaux.

Better market conditions in China and the US, together with a significant vintage in both quantity and quality, will see momentum return to Bordeaux after a four-year period of stagnation and uncertainty. The cat and mouse game between the Châteaux, the negociants and wine trade now begins. Regardless of the outcome, Bordeaux will continue to be the fine wine reference for many decades. There is something utterly unique, invigorating and evocative about mature Bordeaux wines. The best of the 2015 will be transformative and delicious to drink. All you need is patience, moderately deep pockets and the will to buy!

 

Margaux / Beautiful wines with gorgeous fruit density and fine sinuous tannins. Its is some years since Margaux shone so brightly. Ch Margaux, Ch Palmer, Ch Rauzan Segla, Ch Rauzan Gassies, Alter Ego de Cg Palmer. Ch Pavillon Rouge, Ch Malescot de St Exupery, Ch D’Angludet, Ch Kirwan, Ch Cantenac Brown and Ch Brand Cantenac are highlights.

 

St Julien / Fragrant and well concentrated with slinky textures and inky length. Ch Leoville Lascases, Ch Ducru Beaucaillou and Ch Leoville Barton were top performers. But I also liked Ch Beychevelle, Ch Branaire Ducru and Ch Lagrange, Croix de Beaucaillou and Ch Lalande Borie, both connected to Ch Ducru Beaucaillou, are beneficiaries of meticulous selection.

 

Pauillac / The very top estates made great wine. The First Growths all made very fine wines. There is a debate about which is best. I like Ch Mouton Rothschild the best and admired Ch Latour for its precision and potential for longevity. The latter won’t be released en-primeur so ist academic. Ch Lafite is excellent too. Ch Pontet Canet is outstanding, as you would expect from such an enlightened and eccentric estate.  I was also immensely impressed with Ch Batailley and Ch Lynch Bages. Ch Clerc Milon, Ch Grand Puy Lacoste, Ch Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande and its opposite neighbour Ch Pichon Longueville Baron.

 

St Estephe / Classic wines with aromatic complexity and muscular drive. A little more variable than other sub-regions, probably because of its exposure to heavy rains and Atlantic weather. Ch Montrose and Ch Cos’ d’Estournel made beautiful wines, by very careful selection of the crop. Their associate wines were very good too; La Dame de Montrose, Ch Tronquoy-Lalande and Pagodes de Cos.

 

Pessac Leognan & Graves / Powerful wines with density and strength. Both Ch La Mission Haut Brion and Ch Haut Brion are standouts with amazing concentration and vigour, accompanied by relatively high alcohols. The superb Ch Haut Bailly, Ch Smith Haut Lafitte, and Domaine de Chevalier are my personal favourites.

 

Pomerol / Wonderful fleshy wines with superb concentration and chocolaty textures. It is one of the most impressive Pomerol vintages of the last twenty years with "lots of shoulder and length." Vieux Chateau Certan and Ch Petrus were profound standouts. The list is long but Ch Latour-à-Pomerol, Ch La Fleur, Ch Lafleur Petrus, Ch Trontanoy, Ch Hosanna and Ch Bon Pasteur were also highlights.

 

St Emilion /A very strong year, many wines having superb fruit generosity, freshness and line. Ch Angelus, Ch Ausone, Ch Canon, Ch Cheval Blanc, Ch Figeac, Ch Trottevielle, and Ch Troplong Mondot are very top performers. Highlights also include Ch Beauséjour, Ch Canon La-Gaffelliere. Ch Gracia, Ch La Couspaude, Ch La Dominique, Ch Larmande, Ch Pavie Macquin, Quinault L'Enclos, Clos Fourtet, La Chapelle d’Ausone and Clos Cantenac. Ch Chantecaille Clauzel, lying like a shag on an encrusted diamond rock, is not particularly well known, but its story is remarkable and the wine worth buying for the conversation alone.

 

Sauternes Barsac /A very strong year. The wines possess beautiful fragrance, clarity, viscosity, richness and acid line. Ch Climens, Ch Coutet and Ch Guiraud are wonderful standouts. Ch de Rayne Vigneau, Ch Doisy Daene, Ch Doisy Vedrines. Clos Haut Peyraguey, Ch La Tour Blanche, Ch Rabaud Promis, Ch Rieussec and Suduiraut all produced fine examples too. The lesser known Ch Broustet, Ch Caillou, Ch de Myrat and Ch Suau were exemplary. Ch d’Yquem is of course impressive, but next door neighbour Ch Guiraud, offers a very similar quality and style.

 

 

 

 

 

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

13 tasting notes

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Written Notes

Rich, concentrated ripened red berries, red plum and dry fruit, very charming in structure and complexity, long finish. Compare to 2014, 2015 vintage showed more power for ageing but still in fine acidity, freshness and silky tannin. Just simply love it! 96-98
  • 97p
Dark purple red colour with violet hue and almost black core. Pure fruit, elegant style with discreet spiciness and hints of minerality. Opening up very slowly, blackcurrants and dark berries, vanilla and hints of toasted gingerbread. Perfect maturity, excellent tannins and marvellous length. Great purity of fruit in the nose and on the palate. A great wine in its classic splendour with elegance, freshness and great aromatic depth.
  • 98p
Deep colour. Fresh aromatic musky dark plum aromas with praline, fine espresso, vanilla oak. Sweet dark cherry, musky plum praline violet flavours, beautiful long fine chalky silky tannins, superb savoury oak complexity and mid palate viscosity.  Fine dry grainy finish with beautiful flavour length. A very sophisticated wine with lovely freshness and line. Finesse and elegance. 100 points 
  • 100p
Vieux Chateau Certan Pomerol - 80% Merlot 19% Cabernet Franc 1% Cabernet Sauvignon- 42 hl/ha Intense inky nose, meaty, this rolls on the tongue, very good mid-palate, round, soft, gentle, spicy, this has the acidity of the 2010. Really fine here, this has the extra dimension of the finest wines in this vintage, as per the estates own media this has ‘gentle strength’ a great VCC 96-99/100 2030-2060
  • 97p
Ruby. Fresh nose, delicate, detailed, floral, scented, dark fruits and red berries, faint touch of chocolate. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, delicate, red berries, blackberries, nuanced and detailed, playfyl, refined and nuanced, linnear, precise, long, stunning. Still quite firm. 2030-2070 97-99
  • 98p
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Information

Origin

Pomerol, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Highlights

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