Château Valandraud 2016

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• Domaine: Château Valandraud
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Premier Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar

In Bordeaux, there was one man who broke all the rules and created wines that kept industry giants on their toes.  His name was Jean-Luc Thunevin.  His wine? Château Valandraud.  Though an undeniably excellent wine, Château Valandraud is important because not simply because of the contents in the bottle, but because of the story behind it.  It was a wine that changed a lot of established traditions in Bordeaux -- a wine for oenophiles and renegades alike.

Château Valandraud is the home property of dynamic husband and wife duo, Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud.  Prior to becoming a vigneron Jean-Luc was a successful négociant.  In 1989, Jean-Luc and Murielle purchased a small 0.6 hectare plot close to Château Pavie Macquin.  They purchased an additional 1.2 hectares of vines a bit further east in Saint Sulpice.  The name, “Valandraud,” is an interesting one.  The “Val,” portion comes from the location where the grapes are planted, a place called Vallon de Fongaban.  The latter portion of the name, “Andraud,” is the last name of Jean-Luc’s wife, Murielle.  Murielle is currently the gifted individual who makes all the wine for Château Valandraud and Jean-Luc runs the business and is the face of the operation.

Château Valandraud was the property that started the garagiste movement in modern winemaking.  Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle started their winemaking operation with virtually no money, so they made their first few vintages in a garage, hence the name garagiste.  Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud started breaking the rules fairly early on.  In the 2002 vintage, Jean-Luc covered his vines with plastic tarping to protect them from potential water damage during the rainy season before harvest.  The French National Institute of Appellations forbade this practice and declassified his wine as table wine in retaliation.  They also forbade Jean-Luc and Murielle from putting their name on the bottles.  No matter for the plucky power couple, as they simply sold their wines as, "L’Interdit de V…D."  The label literally translates as "The Forbidden of V & D".  Its use was pinoneered by the fashion house Givenchy as a brand for a new perfume launched in 1957.  Who is to be fooled?  Everybody who knew Château Valandraud knew this clever labeling hack would be their way of skirting around the rules and regulations.  This earned Jean-Luc the title of the Bad Boy, of Saint-Émilion.

The plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Carmenere thrive in clay and limestone terroir.  Château Valandraud also produces a white wine, which comes from a 2 hectare plot planted with Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris.  The wine is vinified depending on the needs of each varietal and the materials vary from temperature controlled wooden vats, stainless steel, or concrete fermenters.  Everything at Château Valandraud is specialized in order to create the best wine possible, and the techniques are working – Château Valandraud was classified as a Premiere Grand Cru Classé Class B estate in 2012, joining the ranks of Château Figeac and Château Troplong Mondot.  Without a doubt, Château Valandraud produces not one, but a series of world-class wines that cater to the oenophile and rule breaker in all of us.  

Tasting Notes

"The 2016 Château Valandraud is a blend of 10% Cabernet Franc and 90% Merlot picked between 5 October to 15 October for the last Cabernet Franc, delivering 14.5% alcohol, less than in 2015. It has a very mineral-driven bouquet thanks to the limestone soils (please refer to the January 2017 issue of Wine Advocate where I examine the terroir of Valandraud). The palate is succulent on the entry with fine tannin, crisp and focused with superb definition, a little more finesse than the 2015 last year with a slightly confit-like finish that grips the mouth. It will require five or six years to really mellow and shave off those edges, but this will be a seductive 2016 from Jean-Luc Thunevin." - Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate, Ratings: 95-97, Drink: 2022-2045


More Information
Brand Château Valandraud
Shipping Weight 3.000000
Appellation Saint-Emilion
Stock Status In Stock
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