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Flat front label of wine

Chateau Valandraud 2001

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
  • RP94
14% ABV
  • JS98
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

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.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
As hard as it may be to believe, Valandraud’s 2001 is better than their 2000. One of the great efforts from proprietors Murielle Andraud and Jean-Luc Thunevin, the 2001 Valandraud boasts a saturated plum/purple color as well as a sumptuously sweet nose of Varhona chocolate intertwined with espresso roast, blackberries, cherry jam, and currants. Full-bodied, opulent, voluptuously textured, pure, rich, and seriously endowed, this is a brilliant effort from Bordeaux’s leading revolutionary. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2020.
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Chateau Valandraud

Chateau Valandraud

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Chateau Valandraud, St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
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Château Valandraud is represented by the passion of a couple: Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud. Following the great success with the wine merchant business in Saint Emilion, they opened their own vineyard to produce their own wine.

In 1989, they bought a small parcel of 0.6 hectare (1.48 acres) located in a small valley near Saint Emilion between Pavie-Macquin and La Clotte. The origin of the wine name is as much geographic (Val: Vallon de Fongaban), as sentimental (Andraud: Murielle’s maiden name). Thus Château Valandraud was born.

Little by little, Jean-Luc and his wife purchased several other parcels of vines, and now, the domain represents a total surface of 10 hectares (24.71 acres), located in various areas of Saint Emilion. The diversity of soils and varietals permit the production of 6 different wines: Château Valandraud, Château Valandraud Casher, Virginie de Valandraud and the 3 de Valandraud (the second wine of Château Valandraud and Virginie de Valandraud), Blanc de Valandraud N° 1 and N° 2.

The final blending of the various parcels occurs in the month of March, following a blind tasting with the help of the world famous oenologist, Michel Rolland.

St. Emilion

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vienyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

LSB107436_2001 Item# 107436