It had been quite a number of years since I last had a bottle of the 1979 Certan de May, and I made up for it well in 2005 and 2006 with four or five opportunities to taste the wine. The 1979 Certan de May has not lost a step as it passed its twentieth-fifth birthday, and is clearly a candidate for wine of the vintage. The nose is deep and beautifully pure, offering up notes of red and black plums, a bit of black raspberries, chocolate, tobacco, delicate hints of game and summer truffle, woodsmoke, a whisper of spicy wood and crushed violets. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep and resolved, with a lovely core of black raspberry fruit, outstanding complexity, impeccable balance, tangy acidity, and a very long, polished and refined finish of excellent intensity. This is a beautiful bottle of claret at its absolute apogee, and though the reputation of the ’79 vintage is rather moderate, this is a great bottle of wine that would put to shame many châteaux in more fashionable vintages. (Drink between 2005-2020)
A brilliant wine from this generally unappreciated vintage, Certan de May’s 1979 remains relatively youthful in its appearance (a dense, saturated, dark plum/ruby with only a bit of lightening at the rim). The wine has a sweet nose of truffle, barbecue spice, earth, and black cherry/currant fruit. Medium to full-bodied, with good acidity, moderate tannin, and a surprisingly long, layered finish, it is a very strong, vigorous, muscular wine that has many years ahead of it. Last tasted, 5/02. (RP)
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