About Château Valandraud
The current succession of exceptional wines produced by this Premier Grand Cru Classé B is the result of something of a career pivot. Owner Jean-Luc Thunevin was a highly successful négociant in the most important fine wine region on Earth until 1989, when he purchased a small 0.6-hectare plot of land close to Château Pavie Macquin with his wife Murielle Andraud. This was followed by another 1.6-hectare plot further East to forge Château Valandraud - a contraction of “Val”, from Vallon de Fongaban where the vines are planted, and of course Murielle’s surname “Andraud”.
Valandraud is an estate that has had to work very hard indeed for its fabulous success. With almost no capital to spend on facilities in the early vintages, Murielle crafted barely 100 cases of wine from their 2.2 hectares in a borrowed garage – this was the original “garagiste” wine!
Things have changed dramatically over the past decades, and Château Valandraud has expanded in both its vineyard holdings and winemaking facilities. Today, 9 hectares are planted with 65% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec. With no imperious castle designating their base of operations on their behalf, Jean-Luc and Murielle were free to purchase only the best, wherever that may have been dotted across the appellation. As a result, the estate encompasses a huge variety of Right-Bank terroirs, from thick clay to hard limestone.
Branded by the powers that be in the 1990s as something of an enfant terrible, Jean-Luc retains an air of rebellion that pervades the style of his and his wife’s wines to this day. Rallying against the monolithic, austere wines of Bordeaux which, one assumes, he had himself been finding hard to sell as a négociant, from the very first vintage it was clear that Valandraud would be in the vanguard of fresher, riper and more approachable Bordeaux full of life and character. As certain as night follows day, style changes and this deeply concentrated yet the generous style is the norm and Valandraud has ascended to its rightful place in the official St-Émilion classification system.