Chateau Valandraud (slightly torn label) 2005
Bordeaux Red Blends from St-Emilion, Bordeaux, France
In 1989, Jean-Luc Thunevin and his wife Murielle Andraud acquire a small parcel of 0.6 hectare (1.48 acres) in the small Valley of Saint-Emilion between Pavie- Macquin and La Clotte. They produced and bottled their first vintage in 1991. Since then, they acquired other parcels and properties, in Saint-Sulpice de Faleyrens, Saint-Emilion and Saint-Etienne de Lisse.
Although the first wine critics called it a "garage wine," as Château Valandraud is not classified, it is considered by almost all wine professionals, Robert Parker included, as one of Bordeaux best wines.
Wine Spectator - "Dark 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."
The Wine Advocate - "This 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."
International Wine Cellar - "Saturated, deep ruby-red. Very complex aromas of plum, mocha, iron and minerals, lifted by a floral topnote. Wonderfully lush and smooth in the mouth, with fully ripe flavors of black raspberry, currant, licorice and mocha perfectly supported by ripe acidity. This boasts terrific balance and somehow manages to hide its 14.5% alcohol. Finishes impressively long, with big but thoroughly ripe tannins. The pH here is a very reasonable 3.6, notes Jean-Luc Thunevin. A splendid vintage for Valandraud, and likely to evolve slowly."
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Chateau Valandraud Winery
Château Valandraud is the fruit of an incredible amount of work done by a couple: Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud, passionated by the world of wines. Following the great success with their wine merchant business in Saint Emilion, they ambitioned to have their own vineyard and produce their own wine.
A combination of traditional and modern techniques are used at every step of the production: double Guyot pruning, de-suckering, thinning, green harvesting... The harvest is done manually, and lasts only a few days. A first grape sorting is done directly in the vineyard in order to pick only the ripest bunches. Once brought to the “organic” spirited cellar of Mr. Thunevin, the grapes are sorted one more time, before being de-stemmed. The following step consists in bursting the grapes. The very rich and pure must produced is run into the fermenting vats (wood, stainless steel or concrete). The winemaking of Château Valandraud takes place with regular pumping over and punching down of the cap. At the end of the alcoholic fermentation, the new Valandraud cuvee is poured into 100% new French oak. View all Chateau Valandraud Wines
About St-EmilionView a map of St-Emilion wineries (saint eh-meel-YOHN)
A region named after the charming, quaint historical town in Bordeaux, St-Émilion is situated on the right bank of Bordeaux. It's grapes of choice are Merlot and Cabernet Franc (called Bouchet on the right bank). The region has its own classification system, updated and revised every few years. Two of the hottest chateaux of the area (and the only Premier Grand Cru Classé A) are Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc.
St.-Émilion produces the most wine on the right bank of Bordeaux. As most of its wine is based primarily on Merlot, St-Emilion wines are described as having finesse and elegance. The best wine of the region can last upward of 10-20 years, like a good left-banker, but many find that the wines here matuer earlier than those based on Cabernet Sauvignon. The soils in the area differ greatly, from gravel to limestone to clay and sand. As a result, the wines of this region are diverse. Quality wines display silky tannins and ripe, soft fruit – the higher quality wine showing full-bodied texture and layers of complexity.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.