Vieux Château Certan
The name of Vieux Château Certan hardly needs an explanation. The house is located on the Pomerol plateau, right next to Certa de May, Petrus, Lafleur and Le Pin, which belongs to the same family. The winery was founded by the Scottish-born Jean Demay de Certa back in 1745, after which the reputation of the winery has spread widely from Bordeaux to the whole world, and its centuries-old history is as strong as the supporting leg of the stone house in the center of the winery. In the 18th century, the Demayts were known as wine merchants who, along with other wines, sold wines produced on their farm under the name Sertani. In that case, the farms on the farm covered a considerably larger area than the current rows of vines. Most of the current 14 hectares are surrounded by the tilus themselves, making VCC one of the largest producers on the right bank of Bordeaux, owning the most unified vineyard area.
The orchards grow 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. On average, the vines in the orchards are 50 years old, although one of the farm's Merlot plots was planted as early as 1932, making it one of the oldest orchards in Pomerol. The grapes used to make the premium wine come from vines that are at least 20 years old. The nursery areas can be divided into three parts based on their soils: 30% of the nurseries grow in deep clay soil, while 70% of the nurseries grow in gravelly clay soil or barren gravel land. The vineyards can be divided into a total of 23 separate plots, which are also generally vinified separately. Typically for Bordeaux, Merlot grows in clay, Cabernet Franc in clay and gravel areas, and Cabernet Sauvignon on pure gravel. The clay layer below the surface contains a lot of iron, which, together with all three soil types and different grapes, gives the house wines diversity and the famous magic of Vieux Château Certan! Although Bordeaux's height differences hardly make wine lovers dizzy, the highest vineyards reach a height of 37.5 meters near the middle of the plateau.
After the French Revolution and in connection with several transactions, the tilas were divided several times, which led to the birth of, among others, Certan de May and many other wineries using the Certan name. In 1924, a new page was turned in the history of Vieux Château Certan, when the estate was sold to Georges Thienpont of Belgian origin, who in addition to Pomerol already owned land in Saint-Émilion, including Château Troplong-Mondot in his portfolio. However, Vieux Château Certan felt special to Georges, and he wanted to know how successful the wine was in the wine market of the time. To make his investigation easier, Georges decided to pack his bottles in pink capsules, which were easily distinguished from other wines in collectors' cellars. The color of the capsule was determined according to the trendy shade favored by Parisian designers, which made the appearance of the bottle even more attractive. Due to the depression of the 1930s and consecutive bad years, no wine was produced at all between 1931 and 1933, which caused Château Troplong-Mondot to be sold due to the tight economy. However, this was VCC's salvation, and the vintages 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949 as well as 1950 can be counted as legendary vintages of the wine.
After Georges passed away in 1962, his family took over the running of the estate, and since the 1986 vintage, Alexandre Thienpont has been known as the face of the estate, today increasingly with his son Guillaume. Georges' initial decision to sell wine only through his own merchant room limited VCC's popularity until the 1980s, when its sale was also released to other Bordeaux merchants and it began to be sold en primeur. Since then, the wine's popularity has grown year by year, and today it is known as the absolute gem of Pomerol wines.
During Alexandre's time, the entire cellar and production facilities have been modernized twice, first in 1988 and then in 2003. The farm's second wine, La Gravette de Certan, is also the result of Alexandre's inspiration. He started doing green harvest, i.e. cutting down the number of ripening bunches of grapes, late harvesting allowing the grapes to reach a better maturity than before, and he made limiting the amount of harvest the core idea of his vineyard work. The planting density of vines has been condensed from the previous 5,500 vines to 6,600 vines per hectare. In the nurseries, the principles of sustainable development are followed and extremely precise work in harvesting is carried out with the help of infrared technology that measures the yield of the vines. The wine from each plot ages separately in temperature-controlled containers. The grapes from the oldest vines and thus 2/3 of the wine are vinified in old 80-120hl oak barrels and the rest in steel tanks. Merlot is allowed to go through malolactic fermentation in barrels, just as Cabernet Franc goes through steel tanks. About 70% of the oak barrels used to mature the premium wine are new, and depending on the vintage, the wine matures for about 20 months before it is stabilized and bottled.
When Alexandre eventually decides to step aside from the operational management of the farm, the farm will be in very capable hands with Guillaume, who has helped his father in the wine production of the farm for years, and also gained experience by participating in several other wine projects in the Bordeaux region.
About 48,000-60,000 bottles of the estate's top wine are made each year.