2013 Vieux-Château-Certan, Pomerol (Pre-Arrival)
Barrel Sample. This is a wonderfully perfumed wine, with fine tannins and delicious juicy fruit on the palate. Low yields have produced a complex and fine wine, with concentrated, spiced black-fruit notes.
The 2013 Vieux Chateau Certan is a wine of extraordinary finesse and elegance. Blue and purplish-toned fruits, violets, lavender, sweet spices and mint are woven together in a fabric of stunning beauty. The 2013 is translucent, weightless and simply impeccable throughout. Clearly, the structure is that of an average year, but the sheer beauty is that of a superb site. There is so much to like here.
Shows lovely blue and purple fruit, with a decidedly floral feel. Very expressive in terms of aroma. Long and refined through the finish, delivering polish and a lingering tobacco profile, echoing gently. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Tasted non-blind.
92% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc. Highest proportion of Merlot in memory -- because it is earlier ripening, it performed better. Sumptuous and luxurious on the nose, very open and sweet fruited. Fine, floury tannins. Beautifully formed flavours -- no mean feat in this vintage. The oak is very complementary too. It’s a light iteration of the style, but this is a fair and successful reflection of 2013. 17.5/20 points. Drink 2017 to 2027.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Approximately 1,000 cases of the 2013 Vieux Chateau Certan (versus the normal 4,000 cases) were produced. Alexandre Thienpont told me that yields were 22 hectoliters per hectare, and the final blend was unusual in that it was 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc. The alcohol was a surprisingly lofty 13%. While charming, tasty and elegant, this wine does not possess the depth, fat or texture of a great vintage. The tropical September that spawned botrytis throughout Bordeaux vineyards had to be cut out, and the result was a ridiculously small crop that cost a fortune to produce, but will never sell for a high price since it is a good rather than exceptional wine. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(92% merlot and 8% cabernet franc): Bright ruby. Perfumed, very pure aromas of raspberry, blackcurrant and violet. Enters the mouth bright and fresh, with juicy small red and dark berry flavors complicated by hints of iron and cedar. The finish is long and a little austere. Another solid 2013 wine that is only missing the fruit and charm of the better vintages. Interestingly, while many in Bordeaux (Medoc estates included) are starting to increase their use of cabernet franc, even if only by small amounts, at VCC the percentage of this variety seems to be decreasing almost every year.
***½ to ****