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Château De Valandraud is 1st Growth Classified Château in Saint Emilion. This renowned Chateau is owned by Jean Luc Thunevin.Jean Luc was labeled the "Bad Boy" of Bordeaux by Robert Parker years ago. His "garagiste" style is akin to the great technology companies of Silicon Valley that grew up in a garage and disrupted the establishment. Jean-Luc did just that by making the best wines possible and releasing the wines at affordable prices. His efforts have been rewarded with high praise and consistent top scores.
This controversial Château, which humbly started with only a little more than 1 acre, has grown to more than 21 of acres of vineyards planted with Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon, and Malbec. The estate is located on the clayey limestone terroir of Saint Etienne de Lisse, a beautiful commune in the Gironde. The vineyards are managed under sustainable practices and carefully supervised by vigneron Christophe Lardière and winemaker Rémi Dalmasso.
Virginie De Valandraud has a special place in owner Jean-Luc’s heart. This superb second wine was named in honor of Jean -Luc and his wife Murielle’s daughter, and it was first released back in 1992.
This is not your typical second label. This super second is harvested and produced according to the high standards set forth by the first label, and by the same rockstar team. It's high-quality is out of this world, and it's no surprise that some of the most important wine critics have expressed their high esteem.
Jeb Dunnuck, one of the most respected critics, said that the "2016 Virginie de Valandraud is a deep, full-bodied, opulent beauty that knocks it out of the park in 2016. It’s the equivalent of many a top wine." and described it as a " sexy, pleasure-bent style that’s already impossible to resist."
This superb wine was born in a stellar vintage for Saint Emilion. One that was awarded 98 points by Vinous Media. This is what they have to say about 2016:
"The 2016s are absolutely remarkable wines. The word that comes to mind, unfortunately so often overused, is balance. The best 2016s are absolutely harmonious, with the tannins barely perceptible at all. The 2016s also have tremendous energy and bright, acid-driven profiles, with many wines playing more in the red-fruit area of the flavor spectrum. Excellence is highly correlated with the quality of the site. The 2016 Right Bank reds are remarkably polished and sensual."
Aging: 20 months French oak new barrels.
Tasting Notes: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc.
See Critical Reviews for detailed tasting notes.
The nose is aromatic, elegant, and precise. It reveals notes of blackberry, cassis, and small notes of blue fruits, coffee associated with touches of violet, and black cherry as well as slight hints of licorice, nutmeg, and gray pepper. The palate is fruity, precise, elegant, delicate, and well-built and offers a small density, slight suavity, and tension. On the palate, this wine expresses notes of fleshy blackberry, crushed cassis, and small notes of black cherry associated with small touches of blue fruits, and crushed raspberry as well as hints of flowers, Zan, discreet hints of tobacco, and mocha/coffee. Good length. Tannins are fine and very slightly firm. The wine needs to be put in carafe. ~94-95 VertdeVin
Always seen as a second wine, but actually coming from separate terroirs from the grand vin, the 2016 Virginie de Valandraud is a deep, full-bodied, opulent beauty that knocks it out of the park in 2016. It’s the equivalent of many a top wine and has huge notes of crème de cassis, black raspberries, spicy oak, and licorice. With ripe tannins, a great texture, and a sexy, pleasure-bent style that’s already impossible to resist, drink it over the coming 10-15 years. ~94 Jeb Dunnuck.
This is ripe and attractive with beautiful plum and dark-berry aromas that follow through to a full body, firm and medium, velvety tannins and a flavorful finish. Also slightly chewy at the end. Needs four to five years to soften. Try after 2023. ~94 James Suckling.
While the tannins are firm, this wine's charm lies in its delicious black fruits and acidity, giving a streak of freshness to the solid texture and structure. This second wine of Château Valandraud is a fruity reflection of the more structured first wine. Drink from 2023. ~94 Wine Enthusiast.
High ripeness on the nose with sweet dark fruit, fine toastiness, coffee, wet earth, chalk. Dense palate with fine-grained tannin, very fresh, grip, and pure with a long intense finish. ~94 Andreas Larsson.
The 2016 Virginie de Valandraud is well-defined and focused on the nose of blackberry, raspberry, crushed stone, and rose petal aromas that burst from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, very poised and harmonious, and supremely well-assimilated oak toward the poised, persistent finish. Superb. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. ~93 Vinous Media.
Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2016 Virginie de Valandraud offers gorgeous black cherries, mulberries, and raspberry scents with hints of star anise, violets, and cumin seed. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is firmly structured with firm, velvety tannins and tons of freshness, lifting the perfumed black fruits to a long finish. ~92 Robert Parker.
Very stylish, offering warmed raspberry and blackberry confiture notes infused with anise and black tea accents, all flowing nicely through the gently toasty finish. Drink now through 2030. ~91 Wine Spectator.
This has the juicy fruit character of the vintage and is a wine that you would be very happy to drink. Loose, effortless quality to the blueberry and red cherry fruit, with some glamorous oak toasting through the mid-palate. Not exactly a second wine, as all the classified 9ha go into Valandraud, so this is drawn from plots across the appellation. ~91 Decanter.
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