New cellar at Certan de May - as seen in April 2023
Château Certan de May (this property's full name is Certan de May de Certan) is situated in the middle of the so-called "Le Plateau Argileux", a 900 m wide and circle-shaped high-plateau with large content of clay and iron oxide in the subsoil, right next to Vieux Château Certan, Hosanna, and Petrus a bit away down the road. It's the best part of Pomerol, and here you find all the best vineyards!
The vineyard here is only 5 hectares of vines and is planted with 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. The average age of vines is 35 years, and the yield per hectare is not exceeding 31 hl. The wine ferments and macerates in stainless-steel vats for 4-5 weeks and is kept in 30-50% new oak for 16-18 months.
My first encounter with Certan de May was in 1987 when with the help of the wife of Jean-Pierre Estager (La Cabanne), a good friend of the owner of Certan de May (Mme Odette Barreau-Badar), I was granted access to this property. At that time, it wasn't easy to visit Certan de May, and you had to have good connections.
Mme Odette Barreau-Badar wanted to take care of her children, so she asked Bruno Prats from neighboring Petit Village to take care of harvest and vinification at Certan de May between 1968 and 1974. He accepted. Her son, Jean Luc Barreau, joined her mother in winemaking duties in 1975. Both are responsible for the fantastic effort in the 1982 vintage, and Jean-Luc Barreau has run the property since 1998.
As my profile title implies, this property is highly regarded in Pomerol. The wine from this property is a traditional style with some small inputs of modern techniques. Still, it's 100% true Pomerol, which reflects remarkably the excellent soil conditions of the property. I don't understand the negative reviews of recent vintages from some English wine critics.
In April 2022, a brand new vinification cellar with modern facilities was inaugurated.
Certan de May 2022 (barrel sample) 96p
Tasted on two occasions (at the property and Ets. Jean-Pierre Moueix offices) in April 2023. Consistent notes. 60% Merlot, 30% C. Franc and 10% C. Sauvignon. Floral, potent, crunchy black cherries, violets, vibrant, splendid structure and complexity, fine midpalate, and persistent finish. A bit old-school Pomerol style, but who is complaining? Not me, for sure!
Certan de May 2021 (barrel sample) 93p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2023. Consistent notes. 60% Merlot, 30% C. Franc and 10% C. Sauvignon. Fresh, potent, crunchy morello cherries, violets, vibrant, quite complex, fine midpalate, and persistent finish. Fine effort.
Certan de May 2020 96p
Tasted in April 2023 together with 2022 from the barrel and 2021 from the barrel as well, and 2019. It was very similar to 2020. More concentrated and longer finish than in 2019. Superb wine as well.
Certan de May 2019 95-96p
Tasted in April 2023. Intense nose of black cherries, blackberries, and plums with spiciness and truffles on the palate, silky texture, fine acidity, vibrancy, splendid mid-palate and complexity, and intense aftertaste. Superb effort.
Certan de May 2018 (barrel sample) 96p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2019. Consistent notes. Intense blueberry nose, strong and tight structure, concentrated and opulent, great complexity, long finish. Excellent effort.
Certan de May 2017 (barrel sample) 95-96p
Tasted in April 2018. 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon) is just delicious stuff with sweet fruit, truffles, power and elegance, great complexity, great density and depth, and a long finish. Impressive.
Certan de May 2016 (barrel sample) 96p
Tasted twice - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. 65% Merlot, 31% CF, and 5% CS. Beautiful and aromatic nose of blueberries and wild cherries, compact and tight, dense, very complex, silky tannin, and long finish. Very impressive.
Certan de May 2015 96p
Tasted three times - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. 70% Merlot, 25% CF, and 5% CS. Delicious stuff, so silky, refined and complex, lively and well-constructed, almost seamless, great length. Every bit is as excellent as 2016!
Certan de May 2014 94+p
Tasted three times - last time in April 2017. Consistent notes. 80% Merlot and 20% CF. Consistent notes. A captivating nose of black cherries and blueberries, splendid acidity, strong structure, and great length. Very classic Pomerol, beautifully reflecting its soil.
Certan de May 2012 92p
Tasted in April 2013. This wine had ripe fruit, a nice structure, and a strong backbone. Fine effort.
Certan de May 2011 93p
Tasted in April 2013. This wine was more aromatic on the nose, tighter and longer on the palate, and with better structure than the 2012 vintage.
Certan de May 2010 95+p
Tasted three times - last time in April 2017. Consistent notes. 85% Merlot +15% CF. This wine's blossomed since I tasted it 1.5 years ago. It had a stunning nose of red berries, tremendous intensity on the palate, a strong backbone, and a long persistent aftertaste. As impressive as 2016 and 2015, both are silkier in texture than in 2010.
Certan de May 2009 (barrel sample) 95p
Tasted twice - last time in March 2011. Consistent notes, and it had lots of ripe black fruit + cocoa, fleshy, complex, outstanding balance, and an excellent finish. Delightful experience.
Certan de May 2008 94p
Tasted twice - last time in March 2011. Consistent notes. This wine oozed truffles, a pleasing aroma of black cherries, and fine complexity/length. It will keep for a long time. Very seductive and stylish.
Certan de May 2000 94p
Tasted in May 2001. Dark, dense, and aromatic with coffee, chocolate, blackberries, and wild cherries. Complex nose, long taste with loads of ripe tannin Super wine with an excellent future ahead.
Certan de May 1998 92p
Tasted in March 2001. Finesse, spicy fruit with delicious sweetness, truffles, complex and long.
Certan de May 1988 93p
Tasted in October 2017 together with Certan de May 1964 and Petit Village 1964. Same dark Pomerol style as in CdM 1964, and you can recognize the soil flavors noticed in 1964. A significant freshness here, dark chocolate, truffles, youthful tones, and strong structure. Big and tightly styled. This vintage has been successful in Pomerol.
Certan de May 1985 ?? p
Tasted in November 2018. Disappointing bottle. Getting the cork up from the bottle was tough, and it broke up in the middle because of porosity. The wine tasted tired, closed, and showed little fruit. Indeed an off-bottle.
Certan de May 1982 98p
Tasted twice - last time in July 2016. Consistent notes. The first time tasted it at the property was in April 1996, and the second time tasted it 20 years later in Copenhagen (bought at the property and stored in my wine refrigerator). In April 1996 - Very dark, tight, and dense. Great intensity of perfectly ripe raspberries/blackberries/blackcurrants, rare complexity, depth, lots of super-concentrated fruit with sweetness, truffle, incredibly sophisticated and long. Wow! What a blast! In July 2016 - superb nose of blackberries. Intense, distinguished, and powerful on the palate with astonishing richness, complexity, and length. Thirty-four years old wine and only its color can show you a bit of age. An incredibly youthful wine, a not significant development for 20 years. There's plenty of life left in it. Fantastic stuff!
Certan de May 1979 92p
Tasted in March 2001. Elegant on the nose with finesse. Remarkable complexity, very truffy and fruity finish. A seductive and elegant wine from the property.
Certan de May 1971 94p
Tasted in January 1999. Excellent wine with a lot of style and personality. Pretty, well-shaped, with great complexity and stuff to keep this wine alive for the next 15-20 years!
Certan de May 1964 88p
Tasted in October 2017. Better on the nose than on the palate. Truffles, oily and fishy nose/palate indicating secondary flavors. Good balance. It's a dark, traditional style of Pomerol.
Certan de May 1918 94p
Tasted in November 2018. Dark and meaty with some truffy scent, fine acidity and depth, complexity and length. Impressive wine for a 100-year-old one!
Great, great bottle to taste!