Wine Advocate 91 points - This 1996 Valandraud has firmed up significantly since bottling. Unfined and unfiltered, this viscous wine displays the tell-tale thickness of color (saturated dark ruby/plum/purple). The wine’s exotic bouquet is just beginning to form, offering up notes of iodine, roasted coffee, jammy black fruits, and pain grille. In the mouth, it is medium to full-bodied, with sweet tannin, terrific texture, and outstanding purity and length. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2018. (Apr 1999)
Château Valandraud is the final achievement of an enormous sum of extremely hard, meticulous work on the part of a couple with a passion for wine, Jean-Luc Thunevin and his wife Murielle Andraud. Having become highly successful wine merchants in the Saint-Emilion area, their burning ambition was to own their own vineyard and make their own wine.
Little by little, they bought up several parcels of vines. The name of the growth is both geographical (Val for Vale of Fongaban) and sentimental (Andraud being Murielle's name). That was how Château Valandraud came on being.
|Wine maker notes
|The harvest is picked in only two days but it is done "in the family" using some thirty people who are friends as well as employees, even customers with a passion for wine lend a hand. A first selection is done in the vineyard to make sure only fully ripe grapes are picked.
Once they arrive at M Thunevin's minute winemaking facilities, the bunches are again selected on a sorting table before being stemmed manually. The next stage consists of bursting the grapes in a hand-crusher. The must obtained, which is very rich and pure, is then run off by "muscular" gravity into the oak fermentation vasts.
Once the alcoholic fermentation is over, the "nouvelle cuvée" of Valandraud is drained into new oak barrels for the malolactic fermentation. Although this rare way of working is expensive and also rather a dangerous exercice, M Thunevin does not hesitate to take the risk in order to perfect his wine.