Ch. Valandraud

Château Valandraud started life in 1991, as one of the original "garage" wines, which sparked a trend for thoroughly modern Bordeaux wine styles made in such tiny quantities that they could be - and sometimes were - made in a garage.

Château Valandraud

About the producer

The man behind the wine, Jean-Luc Thunevin, was called the "Bad Boy" of Saint-Émilion by Robert Parker for defying centuries of tradition and making a highly stylised wine: bold and rich with lavish new oak (at one point it was aged in 200% new oak). Prices were as outrageous as the first wines, exceeding the First Growths on a number of occasions.

Having poured their life savings into a 0.6 hectare plot in 1991, Valandraud now counts almost 9 hectares of land in the village of Saint-Étienne de Lisse, a 10 minute drive east from central Saint-Émilion.

The Bordeaux five are all represented on its clay-limestone slopes but Merlot and Cabernet Franc account for 90% of all plantings.

There's certainly more winemaking wizardry at Château Valandraud now than there was in the low-tech inaugural vintage: there was no de-stemmer and no pump to do pump-overs so it was a case of getting one's hands dirty. 

Jean-Luc's cellar now has all the tools to maximise ripeness, extraction and quality: the grapes are sorted in the vineyard and then by a modern sorting machine which analyses grapes according to their sugar level and rejects those that don't reach the required level.

He was one of the first to practice the malolactic conversion in barrel, a method that has since been widely adopted across the region, and it's 100% new wood for a length of 18-30 months. The result is a lavish and luxurious Merlot-dominant blend. 


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