Château Valandraud | Saint Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Château Valandraud was established by Jean-Luc Thunevin and his wife Murielle Andraud. It started life in 1989 when they purchased a small 0.6 hectares plot of land in the valley of Saint-Émilion, between La Clotte and Pavie-Macquin. They named their château “Valandraud” after the valley Vallon de Fongaban (“Val”) and the last name of Murielle “Andraud”. In 1991 their debut vintage, a mere 100 cases, was released at prices that rivalled the First Growths and gave the Thunevins the publicity they needed to launch their incredible wine. Due to the tiny production they were considered as one of the original "garage" wines, which sparked a trend for thoroughly modern Bordeaux wine styles made in such tiny quantities that they could be - and sometimes were - made in a garage.
Jean-Luc Thunevin, was nicknamed the 'Bad Boy' of Saint-Émilion by Robert Parker (who scored the 1995 Valandraud vintage higher than Pétrus), for defying centuries of tradition and making a highly stylised wine: bold and rich with lavish new oak (at one point it was aged in 200% new oak).
Over the years, the estate has expanded to approximately 10 hectares of land, containing both red and white grape plants. The red vines are predominantly Merlot and a smaller percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Carmenère and Malbec. The white vines are divided by Sauvignon Gris, Semillion and Sauvignon Blanc. The fermentation process is carried out in oak barrels and the wine is matured for 18 months in new oak casks.
With his wife Murielle Andraud, who is the brains in the vineyard, the pair have made a huge impact on the Saint-Émilion wine scene. Once dubbed the "Black Sheep" of this wine village, Jean-Luc is now part of the established order, achieving Premier Grand Cru Classé status in 2012 in the appellation's official classification. This very rich and concentrated St-Emilion is now one of the most sought-after wines in Bordeaux.