Château Valandraud 1er Grand Cru Classé B is a wine from vintners Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud. Upon his transition from wine merchant to winemaker in 1989 (when the pair purchased a small patch of vines in St-Émilion), Thunevin became known as a ‘bad boy’ of Bordeaux, creating boutique styles in boutique quantities.
This wine is powerful and juicy, rich in black fruit with inky concentration and an esoteric swagger. It is classic, but with attitude. Aged in 100% new oak, with plenty of potential for extended aging.
"Lots of beautiful blueberry and blackberry fruits here. Medium to full body, round and very polished tannins and a flavorful finish. Wet-earth undertones. Velvety mouthfeel at the end."
94-95 points, James Suckling
"Very dark, black core. Sweet and perfumed, rich in black fruit and a hint of violets supported by oak's sweet spice. Full in the mouth, compact tannins but lots of fruit at the core. Dense and generous at the same time. Needs plenty of time.Drink 2024-2035"
17+ points, Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson
"The deep garnet-purple coloured 2017 Valandraud gives up crushed blackcurrants, chocolate-covered cherries and espresso on the nose with hints of licorice, tar and smoked meats. The palate is medium-bodied with a solid frame of ripe, sweet tannins and just enough freshness to contain the bombastic fruit, finishing long and berry-laced."
93-95 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker Wine Advocate
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.