Wine Advocate 93 points - A terrific effort from bad boy and leading garagiste, Jean-Luc Thunevin, and his sidekick, Murielle Andraud, the inky/blue/purple-tinged 2005 Valandraud exhibits superb aromas of graphite, black currants, blackberries, violets, white chocolate, sweet licorice, and espresso roast. Boasting great intensity, full-bodied power, beautiful purity, and layers of complexity, this stunning wine should be unusually long-lived. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025+. (93-96) points. (Apr 2006)
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.