Learn everything about Valandraud St. Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classe B Bordeaux with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn all the best wine vintages, a history of the property, and information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Valandraud History, Overview
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 situated close to Chateau Pavie Macquin and Chateau La Clotte in St. Emilion. This was soon followed by another purchase further east, in St. Suplice, where they obtained 1.2 additional hectares of vines.
Valandraud takes its name from a combination of its location and from something more personal. The Val comes from Vallon de Fongaban, where the vines are planted. The second part is from Andraud, the last name of Murielle. Today, all their wine 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!
Jean-Luc Thunevin earned the sobriquet of the Bad Boy of St. Emilion for doings his way, when he thought it was right. For the 2002 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 sold under the St. Emilion Grand-Cru appellation banner.
The entire harvest 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 wine of… Now, that’s a very bad boy! Of course, the wines produced from the parcels which were not covered were allowed to be sold with the Valandraud name and appellation.
Thunevin was one of the first negociants and chateau owners to recognize the growing potential of the Asian market, especially in Japan and China. A large percentage of Valandraud is exported to the Chinese marketplace and in several other, Asian countries as well today.
Valandraud started off as a small St. Emilion winery. In fact, their debut vintage produced a scant 100 cases of wine. This was the birth of the “Garage Wine” movement. Having almost no money, and not owning a cellar of their own, the wine was made in a borrowed garage. Things have changed since those early days. They own a winery, in the village of St. Emilion. Over the years, Jean Luc and Murielle have increased holdings due to continued purchases of vineyard land.
Valandraud Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
Valandraud has 10 hectares of vines planted to 70 % Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and small portions of Malbec and Carmenere. 2 of those hectares are devoted to the production of white Bordeaux wine grapes, which are planted as follows: 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon and 15% Sauvignon Gris.
The parcels are located in various areas in Saint Emilion. Valandraud produces red and white wine. For the red wine, the terroir varies, but the best soils consist of clay and limestone. At Valandraud, they are one of the few Saint Emilion estates to include some plantings of all five, Bordeaux grape varieties; Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Carmenere. For the white wines, they have plantings of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris. By 1995, Valandraud was well on its way, as they were now producing world class wine, with a price to match.
For the red wines, there are a few different wines that come from Thunevin. The red wines are; Valandraud, Virginie de Valandraud, (Which made its debut in 1992) and 3 de Valandraud. 3 de Valandraud is produced from declassified fruit from Valandraud and Virginie de Valandraud. Murielle Andraud 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 wine, they use a combination of traditional and modern techniques. In their Saint Emilion vineyards they practice double Guyot pruning, de-suckering and green harvesting. All their 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.
Valandraud is vinified in a combination of temperature controlled, wooden vats. stainless steel and concrete vats. The fermentation vessel varies, depending on the wine. Malolactic fermentation takes place in French oak barrels. The wine is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for between 18-30 months, depending on the quality and character of the vintage.
The best vintages of Valandraud: are 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2004, 2000, 1998 and 1995, 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.
Until recently, the earlier vintages of Valandraud, 2000 and older were the wineries high points of the estate, in terms of quality. . 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.
The 2010 is as good or even better! Today, Murielle Andraud is in charge of winemaking for the property. She has been fully in charge since the 2008 vintage. In 2007, she made the wines, but with help. Since that wine, as we mentioned, the wine of Valandraud has never been better.
In fact, in recognition of their incredible quality they have been producing over the years, Valandraud was upgraded in the official 2012 St. Emilion Classification to Premier Grand Cru Classe B. Starting with the 2012 vintage, Jean Luc Thunevin began producing a small amount of Valandraud in 10 cl, (Centiliters) about 3.4 ounce, test tube shaped bottles.
When to Drink Chateau Valandraud, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Valandraud is much better with at least 8-105 years of aging in good vintages. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-3 hours, or more. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Valandraud offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 10-30 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Valandraud with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Valandraud is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Valandraud is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes.
Aside from their red wine, 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. Thunevin also has property in Margaux as well as in Pomerol. Aside from being a busy wine maker and successful wine merchant, and negociant, Jean Luc Thunevin is also a well-known consultant who works with numerous estates in the Left Bank as well as in the Right Bank.
Château Valandraud Wine Tasting Notes
38 Vintages 139450 Views Sort Vintage - Rating
Inky in color, the wine shoots out of the glass with spring flowers, licorice, smoke, boysenberry and cigar box. Rich, fleshy, supple with velvet-textured tannins, the wine is long, concentrated, deep and sweet. The dark fruit, licorice and plum liqueur finish has freshness and length. Made from a blend of 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, reaching 14.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.5. The harvest took place October 8 to October 20.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 1494 Views
Freshness is right out in front, racing the ample fruit for attention on the nose and on the palate. The wine easily sells its smoky, tobacco, licorice, dark red berry and cocoa aura. Soft tannins, sweet black plum, blackberry and a fruit-a-lious finish are the name of the game.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 974 Views
Produced from a blend of 50% Sauvignon Gris, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon, honeysuckle and assorted flowers are the first thing you notice. The wine is round, with concentrated, fresh citrus and sweet pomelo, this is refreshing and fresh. The green apple in the finish adds a nice characteristic.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 736 Views
Loads of yellow citrus, honeysuckle and lemon peel. Sweet, round and open, with juicy, fresh citrus in the nose and on the palate.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 736 Views
Inky in color, with purple accents to the rim, this wine has an amazing effect on your mouth and your mind with its concentrated display of sensuously textured, ripe, dark plums, spice, smoke, licorice, incense and espresso bean. Silk, purity and freshness create the finish. Using 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5%, Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine reached a pH of 3.6. The harvest took place October 1 to October 12.
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 2039 Views
From a blend of 40% Sauvignon Gris, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon, the wine is equally rich, fresh, lively and filled with crisp, yellow citrus fruits, green apple and vanilla bean notes. The wine delivers a fresh blast of pomelo and honeysuckle in the finish.
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 920 Views
Luscious, ripe fruits, supple textures and a blast of rich, juicy, sweet plums and oak get your attention and hold it there.
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 1580 Views
Vanilla bean, coffee, licorice and black cherries on the top, with freshness to the fruit and a lingering, polished, fennel and plum finish.
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 1198 Views
With plump, luxurious, black cherries and boysenberry notes which grab you as soon as you get close to the glass, this wine is full bodied, concentrated, fleshy and there is a fresh, supple quality to the dark cocoa, licorice and ripe fruits in the finish. Valandraud has been on quite a run for the last several years. 94-95 Pts
Apr 27, 2015points - Tasted 2464 Views
Fresh, bright, crisp, and packed with just squeezed grapefruit, lemons, lime and green apples, with a bit of vanilla and honey to top things off. The wine combines freshness with ripe sweet fruits that is long and refreshing. 92 Pts
Apr 27, 2015points - Tasted 1410 Views
Juicy, forward and luscious, this wine delivers a blast of sweet, ripe, round fruit with a vanilla inflection in every sniff and sip. 89-91 Pts
Apr 27, 2015points - Tasted 1781 Views
Ready to drink, this crowd-pleaser serves up sweet, black raspberries and coffee bean charm. 87-88 Pts
Apr 27, 2015points - Tasted 1833 Views
Flashing one of the deepest colors in this vintage, the wine showcases sweet chocolate-covered black raspberry, licorice, smoke and oak. Plush, rich boysenberry, licorice and cocoa, with an exotic note of orange rind in the finish. Made from 100% Merlot, the wine reached 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.5. The wine was produced from yields of 32 hectoliters per hectare. Only 40% of the harvest was used in Valandraud. 92-94 Pts
Apr 29, 2014points - Tasted 1734 Views
Oak, licorice, chocolate and cherries are followed by a medium/full-bodied, fresh blast of plum and oak. 88-90 Pts
Apr 29, 2014points - Tasted 1606 Views
Ruby in color with coffee, light red berries and a forward, open, easy-to-like personality. 87-89 Pts
Apr 29, 2014points - Tasted 2071 Views
This beauty is pure, silky and velvet drenched. With a potent brew of espresso bean, chocolate, dark cherry liqueur, blue fruit and earthy essences. The wine is rich, deep and long. Give it some time to develop secondary notes and enjoy the ride.
Jul 2, 2015points - Tasted 3299 Views
Murielle Andraud has been in charge of the Bordeaux winemaking at the property since 2007. She is clearly on a roll! One of the deepest colored wines of the vintage, truffle, spicy oak, chocolate and black raspberry jam notes are impossible not to notice. Lush, rich and sexy with an opulent, flashy personality, this is one of the top wines from St. Emilion in 2012. 94-96 Pts
Apr 26, 2013points - Tasted 4217 Views
Oak, vanilla and red with black fruits, round textures, this wine is tannic with some dryness in the finish. 89-91 Pts
Apr 26, 2013points - Tasted 2968 Views
Light ruby in color with wine that opens with earth cherry scents, medium body and a light red berry finish. 87-89 Pts
Apr 26, 2013points - Tasted 1444 Views
Produced from an assemblage of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, the wine will be aged in 100% new oak and reached 14.5% alcohol. From yields that average of 32.5 hectoliters per hectare, the wine is deep in color with licorice, black cherry, smoke and oak scents that open to a finesse style of Valandraud. Lush in texture, the wine ends with an opulent, sweet, ripe black cherry finish. 92-94 Pts
Apr 24, 2012points - Tasted 2589 Views
An assemblage of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is aged in 100% new oak. Coffee bean, licorice and black cherry are found in this medium-bodied wine with a ripe, sweet, supple black cherry-filled finish. This will be a fun wine to drink young. 89-91 Pts
Apr 23, 2012points - Tasted 3267 Views
Valandraud 3 de Valandruad – 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon make up the blend that is aged in 50% new oak with the remainder aged in tank. This easy to like wine offers sweet cherry and earth in a forward style that is best enjoyed in its youth. 88-89 Pts
Apr 23, 2012points - Tasted 1633 Views
Valandraud Murielle Andraud has been in charge of the wine making at the property since 2007. Each vintage has shown marked improvements over the previous year. 2010 is no exception. She is clearly on a roll! With a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 14.5% alcohol. Coupled with a low pH of 3.55, the wine feels bright and fresh, with no sensation of heat. Displaying an intense, inky black, purple hue, the powerful perfume jumps from the glass with complex aromas of stone, licorice, dark berries, truffle and oak. This dense, rich, concentrated wine is filled with sexy, ripe fruit that stains your palate. Sweet boysenberry, blue fruit and licorice are sensed in the long, fresh, harmonious, sweet, ripe finish. This is most compelling wine I’ve tasted from Valandraud yet! 96-98 Pts
Apr 22, 2011points - Tasted 4858 Views
Valandraud 3 de Valandruad While the name 3 de Valandruad implies this is the third wine of Valandraud, it’s actually the second wine of Valandraud. The name comes from an inside joke of Jean Luc Thunevin. Ripe dark berries, licorice, supple textures, sweet black raspberry and an anise filled finish are the signatures of this wine. 89-91 Pts
Apr 22, 2011points - Tasted 3805 Views
This is pure bottled sex! With the texture of spun velvet, silky tannins and fruit that gushes its sweet, juicy flavors, this is not a wine of contemplation. It is a wine that offers pure, unbridled pleasure. Concentrated with perfectly, ripe, sweet, black and blue fruits, there is the right amount of vibrancy to give it lift and life, keeping it interesting.
Apr 16, 2017points - Tasted 1197 Views
This sexy wine explodes with licorice, espresso, chocolate covered boysenberries, cherry, blueberry and earthy aromas. Pure, opulent and incredibly rich, there is a not a hard edge to be found in this decadent tasting experience.
May 19, 2013points - Tasted 3726 Views
A flamboyant nose of licorice, black raspberry jam, spice, pepper, chocolate, blueberry, vanilla and cloves introduce the wine. On the palate, this sensuous wine is dense, rich, concentrated and plush in texture. The wine finishes with layers of licorice, vanilla and blackberry jam. Tasted within days of bottling, once this wine has settled in, it will probably earn a higher score.
Jul 30, 2011points - Tasted 4023 Views
2009 Valandraud is deep, dark ruby with purple tints. This pungent wine offers aromas of fresh picked flowers, jammy blackberries, licorice, black raspberries, kirsch, coffee, and black cherries. This Valandraud is a richly textured, full bodied wine concentrated with pure ripe fruit. The long, clean, powerful finish offers freshness, paired with cherry and blackberry flavors. The best Valandraud since the stellar 1995. 95-97 Pts
Jun 29, 2010points - Tasted 4069 Views
This offers an attractive, licorice, floral, blackberry jam, coffee scented perfume, round textures and a supple, chocolate covered dark jammy berry finish. This should deliver a lot of charm early.
Jul 31, 2011points - Tasted 3846 Views
Seductive notes of pineapple, spice, flowers, vanilla and citrus blend with silky, fresh fruits to create a refreshing, rich, white Bordeaux.
Jun 11, 2013points - Tasted 2418 Views
Rich, fat, juicy sweet, dark red fruits, fennel, wet earth, cocoa and smoke create the nose. Luscious textures, weight, length and complexity are found in the finish. The wine needs more time to really start showing its best, as it's still hanging on to some of its primary characteristics.
Apr 16, 2017points - Tasted 1248 Views
Licorice, jammy black fruits, coffee, truffle and roasted black cherries. This flamboyant, opulent, hedonistic wine can easily be described as licorice coated sex. This wine is already offering layers of liquid pleasure. The first vintage produced completely by Murielle Andraud is a great success.
Jun 18, 2012points - Tasted 2747 Views
08 Valandraud is deeply colored, and displays purple accents. Oak, licorice, jammy black fruit, chocolate, caramel, and floral notes pervade the nose. This ripe, lush, full bodied wine pairs opulence with finesse. 2008 marks the first vintage made exclusively by Murielle Andraud. From this vintage on, Murielle is calling all the shots at Valandraud. It will be interesting to see what changes she may or may not make in the wines there. 93-95 Pts
Aug 1, 2009points - Tasted 1981 Views
08 Virgine Valandraud, named for the daughter of Jean-Luc and Murielle Thunevin, is medium bodied with a jammy, blackberry, oak, coffee, and licorice nose. The wine has a good attack, but it trails off slightly in the finish. 90-92 Pts
Aug 1, 2009points - Tasted 3407 Views
This clearly shows what a strong vintage 2007 is for White Bordeaux. Grapefruit, lemon, lime and assorted citrus scents make up the perfume. On the palate, the wine delivers a big, juicy mouth full of bright, citrus flavors that wakes up your palate. Very refreshing, finishing with a lot of fresh lemony flavors.
Jun 13, 2009points - Tasted 2016 Views
With an hour of air, the wine started to soften and display aromas of licorice, espresso, black cherry, boysenberry and truffle. There is a polish to the fruit coupled with a sense of purity that I liked, but the wine is on the structured, beefy side of the style range, which is typical of many 2006 Bordeaux wines. More time will add complexity and softness to the wine.
Jun 12, 2013points - Tasted 3203 Views
Licorice, smoke, chocolate covered cherries, vanilla and plum create the perfume. Silky, opulent and approachable, this polished, fleshy vintage of Valandraud is already fun to drink.
Aug 5, 2012points - Tasted 2951 Views
According to the owner, Jean-Luc Thunevin, this vintage marks the return to producing a more plush, opulent style of Valandraud. Focusing no riper fruit with with lower yields, this wine opens with scents of oak, ripe black fruit and exotic citrus accents. A long, spice filled finish ends with broad shouldered, but soft tannins.
Jul 3, 2008points - Tasted 3084 Views
Lush, rich and silky, with layers of dark chocolate coated black cherry and plum, with truffle in the nose get you going. The intensity of plush, ripe fruit on the palate is even better as it coats your palate and expands.
Jun 28, 2015points - Tasted 4338 Views
This stylish Bordeaux wine kicks off with a blast of licorice, spice, and blackberry liqueur fruit accented aromas. Very plush entry with an opulent, sexy finish filled with ripe plums, berries, chocolate and dark cherry flavors. This is polished, lush and sensuous.
Jul 3, 2008points - Tasted 3886 Views
Probably past its peak, the medium bodied, soft wine seems to have lost some of its depth and fruit over the years. This requires drinking before it begins to truly fade away.
Aug 7, 2017points - Tasted 1136 Views
Licorice, bitter chocolate, boysenberry, plum and fresh herbs power the nose. Deep in color, looking younger than its true age, the wine is soft, round and silky, but the finish is clipped, cutting you off when you really want more.
Oct 22, 2016points - Tasted 1634 Views
Licorice, chocolate, black raspberries, plum and truffle on the nose. The wine is soft, lush and polished on the palate, finishing with a blast of dark chocolate covered cherries.
Nov 30, 2014points - Tasted 2505 Views
Still youthful in its color, the oak is fully integrated into the wine which kicks off with licorice, chocolate mint, truffle and smoky black raspberries. On the palate, the wine starts with rich, lush textures. The finish has some dryness, along with olive notes that take away from the overall experience and the beautiful, earthy, chocolate, black cherry flavors. Else this beautiful wine would have score higher. This is drinking great today and should improve for several more years. I'd probably drink it by the time the wine makes it to its 20th birthday.
Dec 30, 2012points - Tasted 2249 Views
This opens with coffee, jammy dark fruit, licorice, mineral and roasted berries. Already open for business, this round, supple wine delivers ample pleasure.
Jul 3, 2008points - Tasted 3247 Views
Layers of ripe, sexy, chocolate covered dark fruit caress your palate. Very silky and sexy. Licorice, jammy berry and sweet plums are found in the finish.
Oct 21, 2007points - Tasted 3015 Views
This earthy, plum and dark cherry wine is a success for the vintage. Soft on the palate and already showing well, this is a wine to drink on the young side.
Jul 3, 2008points - Tasted 2259 Views
Just like Murielle Thunevin, this sensous Bordeaux wine keeps getting better with age. Filled with a rich, chocolate, licorice and ripe black, jammy fruit explosion. this opulent textured wine is for hedonists. Still young, this wonderful wine will get better with age.
Jul 2, 2008points - Tasted 2532 Views
Fully mature, there is still ample, round textured, sweet, cherry, red and dark plum, paired with truffle and cocoa in this medium bodied wine to please the palate. But it's not a wine to keep for further development.
Apr 16, 2017points - Tasted 1422 Views
Smoke, truffle, licorice and black cherry jam scents are coupled with a medium/full bodied, soft textured St. Emilion wine. The round finish is filled with cassis and spicy black cherry with a hint of tartness. This is fully mature and will probably not improve. I’d drink this before over the next 5-8 years.
Jul 31, 2011points - Tasted 2464 Views
Big, bold, rich and opulent. Good aromatics. Ripe black fruits and licorice. The elegant textured finish was marred by a green note. (from under ripeness) in the end.
Oct 21, 2007points - Tasted 2556 Views
Coffee bean, black cherry, plum, chocolate and fennel flavors lead to a sensually textured, St. Emilion that is already close to maturity.
Jun 14, 2011points - Tasted 3071 Views
The wine opens with truffle, earth, dark plums, coffee, anise and smoke filled aromatics. This elegant, rich stylish wine fills your mouth with ripe dark berries, licorice and sweet black cherry. Fully mature, this should drink well for at least another decade.
Jul 12, 2010points - Tasted 3249 Views
The aromatics displayed chocolate covered back and red fruits with an intriguing, light citrus accent. Big, rich, fat, and thick, with a very, sexy palate presence, this wine should add complexity with more time.
Oct 15, 2008points - Tasted 3272 Views
Big, rich, fat, thick and with a sexy palate presence. This is filled with silky ripe black fruit, licorice, floral and crushed stone elements. Full bodied, balanced and very stylish.
Aug 31, 2007points - Tasted 3201 Views
Filled with smoke, spice, truffle, crushed rock, dark plum and licorice coated blackberries with Cuban cigar tobacco, this opulent, energetic, sensuous wine coats your palate with an abundance of sweet black cherry and bitter chocolate. The wine kept improving in the glass for close to 2 hours. It might have kept improving, but I could not resist and finished it all. This is one of the top wines from 1995 from either bank.
Jul 12, 2010points - Tasted 2842 Views