A few words from Jean-Luc Thunevin, owner of Château Valandraud, on the 2019 vintage.
The 2019 growing season was incredibly dry and hot. How did you cope with the drought and heat spikes and other climatic pressures during the growing season?
With Valandraud being on a clayey limestone terroir, there was no hydric stress and above all we harvested after a rainy episode which allowed the grapes to reach perfect maturity and create more volume from perfect grapes.
Rainfall was quite localised during veraison in Bordeaux in 2019. Were there any specific climatic episodes that affected veraison and/or harvest and how did you cope with these?
With our clayey limestone terroir, we experienced no real water shortage, as our terroir is the quintessential top vineyard terroir. We undertook double guyot pruning, deleafing, green harvest, good sanitary conditions. Let’s keep in mind that Valandraud’s location is called “Bel Air”because of the windy conditions that keep the grapes dry.
How would you define the 2019 growing season in a few words?
Perfect timing of the pre-havest rain!
Were there any events (or unusual timings) this season that were of particular note: budburst, early growth, flowering, veraison, harvest?
This year was a very late harvest: 20 days later than the estimated dates we had during the spring.
Can you tell us about the specific blend you used for the 2019 vintage?
It should be 95% Merlot / 10% Cabernet Franc / 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
How did you work up to final blend? Can you share your process this year?
We use the “Rolland method” (in honour of their oenologist Michel Rolland) of separate lots using 100% new oak for 1st and 2nd wines.
What has been the reaction so far to the final blend? And can you describe it for us?
Really good vibes, same as 2018.
What do you feel has had the biggest effect on the final taste profile of the 2019 vintage?
Our choice to adapt the harvest dates.
How does 2019 compare to other vintages?
A mix of 2000 and 2018; freshness, maturity and a more rare occurrence of density.
Would you kindly share a personal memory about the 2019 vintage?
I just had half of bottle of a 2019 sample with my wife Murielle at dinner, shame it wasn’t a full bottle… An incredible nose of rose and a mouth full or cherries like a great Musigny, This is the first time we reach this level in April.
Read the full report: Bordeaux 2019 A Vintage Preview