Valandraud is the home property of Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud. Before they became Bordeaux winemakers, Jean-Luc was a successful Bordeaux wine merchant. That all changed in 1989. That was the year when he and Murielle bought a small 0.6 hectare plot of vines. The vines are situated close to Chateau Pavie-Macquin and Chateau La Clotte in St. Emilion.
Valandraud takes its name from a combination of its location and from something more personal. The Val comes from Vallon de Fongaban. The second part, Andraud is Murielle’s maiden name. Today, the Bordeaux wine of Valandraud is made entirely by Murielle. If you did not know, Murielle is also one of the finest chefs in the Right Bank. I can personally vouch for that!
Valandraud increased in size due to continued purchases of vineyard land. Today, the property is 10 hectares. The vines are located in various areas in the St. Emilion. Valandraud’s variety of grapes and terroir allow for the production of several unique wines. The red wines are; Valandraud, Valandraud Casher, Virginie de Valandraud and 3 de Valandraud. 3 de Valandraud is produced from declassified fruit from Valandraud and Virginie de Valandraud. Murielle is also in charge of producing two of the top white wines from the Right Bank, Blanc de Valandraud N° 1 and N° 2.
At Valandraud, for the production of their Bordeaux wine, they blend the wines and a combination of traditional and modern techniques. In the vineyards they practice double Guyot pruning, de-suckering and green harvesting. All fruit is harvested by hand. A first sorting takes place in the vineyards. After the grapes reach the cellar, the fruit receives a second hand sorting before destemming.
Next, the must is run into the fermenting vats (wood, stainless steel or concrete, depending on the wine). The wine sees regular pumping over and punching down of the cap. After alcoholic fermentation, the wine is poured into 100% new French oak barrels for the malolactic fermentation. Racking is done every three months and ageing varies depending on the quality of the vintage, from 18 to 30 months.
The final blending of the various parcels is done in the month of March, following a blind tasting done by the owners with the help of Michel Rolland. Wines are never fined or filtered before bottling.
Jean-Luc earned the sobriquet of the Bad Boy of St. Emilion for doings his way, when he thought it was right. For the 2000 vintage, Jean-Luc covered 2 hectares of the Valandraud and Clos Badon Thunevin vineyards with plastic sheets to prevent potential water damage from the expected rain before harvest. The INAO forbade the wine to be produced under the Saint Emilion Grand-Cru appellation. It was declassified as Table Wine and the original wine name could not be used on these bottles. Jean-Luc renamed them L’Interdit de V…D and L’Interdit de B…N T…N (the forbidden of…).
Of course, wines produced from the parcels which were not covered kept their names and original appellation: Château Valandraud and Clos Badon Thunevin.
Aside from Valandraud rouge, the estate also produces an outstanding white wine, Blanc de Valandraud N° 1 and N° 2. The style of the white wines are unique. They are filled with lemon, lime, floral and minerality characteristics, along with ample freshness. But so little is made, they are is impossible to find. In addition, they also produce Valandraud Casher, Virginie de Valandraud and the 3 de Valandraud which is the third wine of Valandraud, Clos Badon Thunevin and Bad Boy.
Until recently, the earlier vintages of Valdraud were the wineries high pount. That is no longer the case. The 2008 was outstanding and the 2009 appears to be on track to be the finest wine the property has ever produced. Today, Murielle Andraud is in charge of wine making for the property.
The style of Valandraud is a wine of purity, richness, low acidity, concentration, opulent textures and silky tannins, coupled with ripe dark berries, cherries, licorice and chocolate flavors.