Chateau Valandraud Saint-Émilion 2005
'Valandraud is one of the most interesting stories in Bordeaux. The wine is made from an unheralded terroir owned by the young, obsessive/compulsive, exuberantly passionate Monsieur Thunevin. He produces a Bordeaux from tiny yields and ripe fruit, ages it in 100% new oak, and refuses to fine or filter prior to bottling. Valandraud has become the darling of speculators, largely because of (1) its fabulous quality, and (2) its limited production.' - Robert Parker
Valandraud is the home property of Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud. Before they became Bordeaux winemakers, Jean-Luc was a successful Bordeaux wine merchan t. That all changed in 1989. That was the year when he and Murielle bought a small, 0.6 hectare plot of vines situated close to Chateau Pavie Macquin and Chateau La Clotte in St. Emilion. This was soon followed by another purchase further east, in St. Suplice, where they obtained 1.2 additional hectares of vines.
Valandraud takes its name from a combination of its location and from something more personal. The Val comes from Vallon de Fongaban, where the vines are planted. The second part is from Andraud, the last name of Murielle. Today, all their wine is made entirely by Murielle, who is also one of the finest chefs in the Right Bank. Jean-Luc Thunevin earned the reputation of the Bad Boy of St. Emilion for doing things his way, what he thought was right. For the 2002 vintage, Jean-Luc covered 2 hectares of the Valandraud and Clos Badon Thunevin vineyards with plastic sheets to prevent potential water damage from the expected rain before harvest. IN return, the INAO forbade the wine to be sold under the St. Emilion Grand-Cru appellation banner. The entire harvest was declassified as Table Wine and the original wine name could not be used on these bottles. Jean-Luc renamed them L’Interdit de V…D and L’Interdit de B…N T…N. The forbidden wine of… Of course, the wines produced from the parcels which were not covered were allowed to be sold with the Valandraud name and appellation.
Valandraud started off as a small St. Emilion winery. In fact, their debut vintage produced only 100 cases of wine. This was the birth of the “Garage Wine” movement. Having almost no money, and not owning a cellar of their own, the wine was made in a borrowed garage. Things have changed since those early days. They own a winery, in the village of St. Emilion. Over the years, Jean Luc and Murielle have increased holdings due to continued purchases of vineyard land.
Valandraud has 10 hectares of vines planted to 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and small portions of Malbec and Carmenere. 2 of those hectares are devoted to the production of white Bordeaux wine grapes, which are planted as follows: 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon and 15% Sauvignon Gris. The parcels are located in various areas in Saint Emilion. Valandraud produces red and white wine. For the red wine, the terroir varies, but the best soils consist of clay and limestone.
At Valandraud, they are one of the few Saint Emilion estates to include some plantings of all five, Bordeaux grape varieties; Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Carmenere. By 1995, Valandraud was well on its way, as they were now producing world class wine, with a price to match. For the red wines, there are a few different wines that come from Thunevin. The red wines are; Valandraud, Virginie de Valandraud, (which made its debut in 1992) and 3 de Valandraud. 3 de Valandraud is produced from declassified fruit from Valandraud and Virginie de Valandraud.
|Region||France, Bordeaux, St. Emilion|
Wine AdvocateThis is one of the most riveting examples of Valandraud Jean-Luc Thunevin has made over the last fifteen years. Thunevin and his partner, Murielle Andraud (who has much of the responsibility for their brilliant Margaux, Marojallia), exhibit impeccable attention to detail, resulting in an inky/blue/purple-colored 2005 Valandraud boasting a sweet nose of melted chocolate, licorice, graphite, espresso roast, and copious quantities of black cherries and blackberries. Pure, layered, and full-bodied, with gorgeous integration of acidity, tannin, alcohol, and wood, this stunning effort will be drinkable in 7-8 years, and should keep for three decades. Slightly more than 16,000 bottles were produced.
Wine SpectatorDark ruby in color, with intense aromas of blackberry, mineral and dried lavender. Full-bodied, very dense and layered, with powerful tannins. This is big and very rich. A bodybuilder. Needs time. Best after 2016.