Valandraud 2018

SubregionSt Emilion

Valandraud is painstakingly hand made in new, mainly Seguin Moreau, oak barrels by the guru of the garagistes Jean-Luc Thunevin and his wife Murielle. First produced in 1991 (just 1900 bottles) with the help of Ausone's Alain Vauthier, this was the first of the "Garage Wines" of Saint Emilion and is still the benchmark by which all others are judged. Previously seen as an "outsider", Valandraud was awarded Premier Grand Cru Classé status in the 2012 classification of the wines of Saint Emilion. To our palate Valandraud has become more sophisticated in recent vintages.


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Tasting Notes

Deep purple in colour. This has an exotic nose of liquorice, damson and ripe blackberry. Still sweet and bold on the palate, there is a toning down of the most extreme elements to this year's Valandraud, and it is all for the better. The tannins are rich but in balance with the fruit, complementing rather than dominating the sweetness. The opulent ripeness is on the right side of jammy, and there is enough acidity to retain the freshness. The result is a powerful, exuberant and impressive wine with a long and heady finish.

Score: 16.5+Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, April 2019

The 2018 Valandraud was picked "un peu tard" according to Jean-Luc Thunevin. It has a gorgeous, very pure and intense bouquet with black cherries, cassis and raspberry coulis fruit, floral scents that emerge with time. The palate is silky smooth with beautifully integrated new oak, a fine bead of acidity thanks to the cold clayey soils and northerly exposure. The finish is opulent but very controlled and persistent. If you love Valandraud, you will hold this up as one of the best Jean-Luc Thunevin has crafted.

Score: 94/96Neal Martin,, November 2019

Deep purple-black in color, the 2018 Valandraud develops slowly from a base of warm black cherries, blackberry compote and preserved plums with a perfume of sandalwood, Indian spices, lavender, wilted roses, mocha and fruitcake plus wafts of woodsmoke and camphor. Full-bodied, the palate is rich, ripe and flamboyant with tons of opulent black and blue fruit layers, wonderfully curtailed by a firm frame of velvety tannins and fantastic freshness, finishing very long and very seductive.

Score: 95/97+Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019

This is a fantastic young Bordeaux with superb depth of fruit and complex tannin structure. Hints of smoke, spice and toasted oak. Full body and firm, dusty tannins. Very long finish.

Score: 97/98James Suckling,, April 2019

The 2018 Valandraud is magnificent. Unctuous and super-concentrated on the palate, the 2018 possesses off the charts richness. Crème de cassis, bittersweet chocolate, hard candy, lavender, menthol, licorice, mint and dark spice all meld together. The 2018 is quite shut down at this stage, which is probably a good thing for its long term prospects. The blend is 90% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Malbec. This is the first time since the early 1990s that Malbec has appeared in the blend. Yields came in at 48 hectoliters per hectare, a touch above the 45 or so that is more customary here.

Score: 94/97Antonio Galloni,, May 2019

Black with barely a rim. Very archetypal New World on the nose: sweet, ripe fruit and toasty oak. Barossa Shiraz? Thick, chewy, rich and sweet. Nothing in moderation but it is all in harmony. A hard wine for the table – at least for the next 10 years. Will give pleasure but not classic Bordeaux pleasure. Impressive rather than enjoyable. There is some freshness on the finish, just.
Drink 2025-2035

Score: 16.5+Julia Harding MW,, April 2019

Another great vintage for Jean-Luc Thunevin’s flagship wine, the 2018 Château Valandraud sports a glass-staining purple color as well as a mammoth-sized personality in its blue and black fruits, liquid violets, and graphite aromas and flavors. Possessing incredible depth and richness, full body, sweet tannins, and a finish that won’t quit, it’s one of the most hedonistic wines in the vintage, yet also possesses purity, balance, and elegance. It’s a thrilling, blockbuster to drink over the coming two decades or more.

Score: 96/98Jeb Dunnuck,, May 2019

This is richly fruited, with waves of fleshy raspberry, boysenberry and red currant cruising through, inlaid with singed vanilla and apple wood notes along the way. Shows density and cut through the finish, with a tug of tobacco at the end. This is dialed up to 11.

Score: 96/99James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, March 2019

Rich, deep, powerful and hugely persistent, this has tons of juicy black fruits but clearly in the more restrained frame that owner Jean Luc Thunevin has introduced over the past few vintages. It's a brilliant wine, full of personality, keeping its concentration and glamour and just easing towards balance, but still with its signature insouciance. Tasted several times and always delicious, this just pips the excellent 2016 for me. 3% Malbec completes the blend, the first time it's been included in the wine. 40hl/ha yield. 3.6pH. 100% new oak for extended ageing.

Drinking Window 2027 - 2042

Score: 96Jane Anson,, April 2019

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.