A real classic from Thunevin's 20 acres of vineyards is the 2010 Valandraud, a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. A powerful wine showing even better from bottle than it did from barrel. The classic graphite nose intermixed with some licorice, sweet black cherries and black currants, forest floor and incense is on display in this powerful, super-concentrated, well-delineated wine, which is full-bodied, dense and moderately tannic. Unlike most Valandrauds, this wine will benefit from 4-5 years of cellaring and keep for 20-25 years.
|Score: 97+||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (205), March 2013|
2010: A brilliant effort from Jean-Luc Thunevin (Bordeaux's so-called "bad boy" or bete noire), the dense purple-colored 2010 Valandraud exhibits notes of black currants, sweet cherries, licorice, incense and hints of forest floor and oak. This complex, full-bodied, powerful St.-Emilion oozes with extract and sweet, well-integrated tannins. It should drink well for 20+ years
|Score: 94/96+||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (194), May 2011|
Tasted blind at the Southwold Bordeaux 2010 tasting. Jean-Luc Thunevin has hit the ball out of the park with the 2010 Valandraud. It has an alluring, beautifully defined bouquet with mineral rich black and red fruit,: great tension, poise and focus. The palate is well balanced and succulent in the mouth with extremely well judged acidity. Somehow understated at first, but complex and sophisticated, the Valandraud is beautifully focused with a long tender finish with perfect equilibrium between dryness and sweetness. Tasted January 2014.
|Score: 96||Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, February 2014|
Whereas the Virginie has a classic style, the Grand Vin is far more decadent with super-ripe dark cherry fruits, crème de cassis, vanilla extract and macerated dark cherries. The palate is medium-bodied with a velvety-smooth entry, notes of black cherries, boysenberry jam, crème de cassis and vanilla, weighty on the finish with good persistency. You know, for the first time ever, I might prefer the Second wine to the Grand Vin...whatever swings your boat! Tasted April 2011.
|Score: 91/93||Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, April 2011|
Complex aromas of licorice, plums, incense, and tar follow through to a full body, with velvety tannins and a ultra-fine tannic finish. Hints of toasted oak and cedar with chocolate. Not quite the 2009 but very close. Try in 2017.
|Score: 95||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2013|
Wow. What beautiful fruit here. It's intense, but balanced with fine and silky tannins and a caressing texture. I love the layers of everything here from sliced plums to bright cherries. So long and interesting. Best ever?
|Score: 95/96||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2011|
Dark purple. Very rich and perfumed. Heady. Taken to the limit of concentration. Very polished and sweet. Then lots of dry minerals on the finish. Drying finish. Some freshness. Pavie Lite? Rich, dried currants. Fine for concentration fetishists.
|Score: 17||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2011|
65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, Valandraud is painstakingly hand made in 100% new Seguin Moreau oak barrels by the guru of the garagistes Jean-Luc Thunevin and his wife Murielle. First produced in 1991 this was the first of the "Garage Wines" of Saint Emilion and is still the benchmark by which all others are judged. Absolutely black. This is a huge, dense wine that packs a powerful punch. You cannot fail to be impressed by the sheer weight and density here. A brooding monster.
|Score: 17-||Farr Vintners, April 2011|
Fresh red fruits are backed by sweeter black on both nose and palate. The sweetness of the fruit gives depth on the nose and flesh on the palate. The tannins are firm but not aggressive and although they hold back the fruit at this stage they do not over dominate. Black fruited richness packs out the back palate.
|Score: 91/94||Derek Smedley MW, April 2011|
|Score: 96||Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2011|
Undoubtedly a top wine but I prefer the slightly more understated and elegant '09. This is really full throttle with a huge concentration of dense fruit and big, powerful tannic structure. Will need time in the bottle and can certainly age. Drink 2018-2035.
|Score: 18||James Lawther MW, Decanter.com, April 2011|