Brilliantly situated in Pomerol between Vieux Château Certan and Château Petrus and opposite Le Pin, Certan de May's relatively small 4.95ha is planted to 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon that have an average age of 45 years. A superstar of the appellation since the Barreau family took over production in the mid-1970s (having owned the property since 1925) both the varietal mix and combination of clay and gravel produces a wine that has superb depth and concentration.
"A deeply intense and plush Pomerol with immaculately ripe fruit and tannins. So well executed with aromas of truffle, dark stones, coal smoke and intense dark plums and cocoa powder. The palate has an immaculate texture with very bright, velvety tannins, carrying rich dark plums. Plum pudding and Christmas cake to close. Try from 2025."
98 Points, JamesSuckling.com
'The 2016 Certan de May is a powerful, dense wine, just as it was en primeur. A blast of grilled herbs, leather, smoke, tobacco, licorice and dark-fleshed fruits makes a strong opening statement. Potent and strap in feel, Certan de May shows the more virile side of Pomerol. The profile is decidedly sepia-toned. Readers should plan on being patient with the 2016. It is a jewel of a wine that just needs bottle age to be at its best. 2026-2046'
95 Points, Antonio Galloni
"The 2016 Certan de May was disappointingly skinny when I tasted it from barrel. It has put on weight during its élevage, as one expects, but trust me, this is not up there with the greatest wines from Certan de May. The bouquet is pleasant but does not go that extra mile, coming across a little green around the edges and missing some vigor. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite supple tannins and well-judged acidity. I appreciate the freshness here, but this does not deliver the complexity or terroir expression of the best vintages, or even some of its great successes in the 2000s. I know this Pomerol can do better. 2021-2035"
88 Points, Vinous
Pomerol, on the Right Bank of Bordeaux’s Gironde River, produces some of the world’s most sought-after wines, including those from such storied properties as Chateau Petrus. Yet Pomerol, the smallest of the fine-wine-producing districts of Bordeaux, offers no Grand Cru or Premier Cru wines: It’s the most significant Bordeaux appellation not included in any quality ranking. At the time of the historic 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, Right Bank chateaux were considered remote and difficult to travel to, and so were ignored by the merchants who created the classification. (St. Émilion, a notable neighbour on the Right Bank, created its own classification system in 1954.)
Pomerol has managed to do quite well without this form of validation. Pomerol’s predominantly clay soil is ideally suited for Merlot, the primary grape used in the appellation. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also included in Pomerol’s blended red wines. The wines of Pomerol are lush and rich, and generally not as tannic as the Cabernet-based wines of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Although Pomerol’s very best wines are capable of aging for decades, most are made for immediate consumption. These Merlot-based wines are known for their lush texture, elegance and grace, as well as the softer tannins they offer in comparison to the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines made elsewhere in Bordeaux.