Vieux Chateau Certan
Classification: Grand Cru
Vieux Château Certan is the oldest estate in Pomerol and lies only a few rows of vines away from the famous church tower. Vines grow all around the château, whose oldest part dates back to the 12th century. In the early 1500's the Demay family, from Scottish roots, came to live on the property and it's thought that the vineyards were first planted some time around this date. Demay was a nobleman and his descendant had the property confiscated at the time of the French Revolution and had to emigrate to save his head from the guillotine.
The estate was originally known as Sertant after the hamlet which lay at the exact spot where the Château stands today. There is also another theory as to how the château came by its name. Certan might come from the Portuguese “sertâo” – a desert, indicating that the land was harsh and dry. Vieux Château Certan was once much bigger than it is now; covering what is today both Certan De May and Certan Giraud. In the 18th century, some time before the Revolution, Saint Emilion became a completely separate entity from Pomerol. Certan Giraud recently ceased to exist, having been bought and divided up between Moueix, who renamed his greater half Hosanna, and Delon, who took his lesser part into Nenin.
In 1858 the château was bought by Charles de Bousquet, a banker, who created some of the buildings that still stand today. The château remained in the Bousquet family right through the second half of the 19th century and into the 20th, until 1924, when the Belgian wine merchant Georges Thienpont acquired Vieux Château Certan. The Theinpont family diversified in 1979 when Marcel and Gérard Thienpont founded nearby microcuvée estate Chateau Le Pin. In 1985, management of the chateau came to Alexandre Thienpont who has invested heavily in the estate, and extensively renovated the cellars which was completed in 2002.
The château neighbours Chateau Pétrus and the the two châteaux have the highest proportion of `buttonhole' clay on the high terrace of Pomerol. Chateaux La Conseillante, Petit Village and Certan de May also neighbour Vieux Chateau Certan. The terroir is exceptional and is made up of Gunzian gravel, which consists of deposits from the glacial erosion of the Massif Central, and a rich iron sub soil. This Gunzian terrace forms the central plateau of Pomerol and the Chateaux Pétrus, Petit Village, L’Evangile and La Fleur also lie upon it. Altogether there are 35 acres of vines planted in a single block and the varieties planted are 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The average age of the vines is 35 years.
The wines of the chateau are often compared to those of Chateau Pétrus and have a deep colour, are graceful, perfumed, complex and have a velvety texture. They have aromas of coffee, black fruits, coconut and spice.
Owner: The Theinpont Family
Chateau Website: www.vieux-chateau-certan.com
Oenologist: M Chaine