Appellation : Pomerol
Owner : EARL Château Certan de May
Vineyard size : 5.5 hectares (13.5 acres)
Vineyard grape varietals : 70% Merlot – 25% Cabernet Franc – 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
Soil types : Clay and deep gravel
The wines owe their complexity to the vineyard’s soil composition, a combination of clay and gravel that bring together power and elegance, structure and freshness. The balance of the wines from Château Certan de May illustrates the unique complementarity of these terroirs.
In the vineyards, the Director of Properties and his large team of permanent vineyard workers tend each vine with care, monitoring each by hand throughout the year. There is a considerable focus on soil health and maintenance using precise plowing methods. During growing season, the desire to achieve the highest quality can entail reducing the size of the crop through de-budding, canopy management, green harvests (practiced by Christian Moueix for the first time in 1973), and other meticulous selection processes.
The terroir can be divided into approximately 70% deep clay and 30% gravel. The vines are on average, close to 40 years of age. But they have old vines that with some vines being much older, having survived the frost of 1956.
Most of their vineyard is just behind the small chateau and due west of the chateau, which is only a long, stones throw from Petrus and not too far from Lafleur.
At harvest time, two troops of seasoned harvesters provide the manpower and flexibility to handpick the grapes at optimal ripeness.
At this critical time of the year, a family spirit reigns. Nearly half of the harvesters have picked grapes in Ets. Jean-Pierre Moueix vineyards for many years, some for over twenty vintages. They are chosen for the quality of their work and are embraced as members of the Moueix family as they pick, eat, sing, dance and celebrate each day of the harvest. More than a handful of parents have brought along their younger generation, making the harvest a family affair in more ways than one.
Technical Director and his team of experienced cellar workers follow a time-honored approach. As the quality of the grapes is established in the vineyard and during the harvest, the objective in the cellars is to produce wines that express a sense of place, that are pure, honest, balanced, complex and, above all, pleasurable to drink.
Vinification and aging are deftly tailored to the specific characteristics of each parcel in order to best preserve the character of the fruit and the nuances of each block. The cellar master manages the aging to harmoniously integrate the characteristics of each barrel with every individual lot.
The grapes are vinified in temperature regulated, stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel. On average, the wines are aged in between 60% new, French oak barrels to as much as 80%, new, French oak barrels.
The wine of Chateau Certan de May is aged in between 60% and 80% new, French oak barrels for 12 to 14 months before bottling. The amount of new oak used depends on the character and quality of the vintage. On average, the estate produces 2000 cases of Chateau Certan de May per year.