2014 Château Valandraud (Saint Emilion)
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
On Sale $119.94 (reg. $129.94)
Bordeaux has no shortage of iconic wine producers and Jean-Luc Thunevin is up there with the best of them, with Decanter calling him “the godfather of the garagiste movement” and Robert Parker dubbing him “the bad boy of Bordeaux”.
Today we’ve got a tiny parcel of Château Valandraud 2014, the jewel in the Thunevin crown. It’s a double 96-pointer with universal praise and is sure to tick all the boxes for Thunevin fans. Neal Martin says it’s “modern in style for sure, but there is quality and craftmanship interwoven into” it, and it’s “as sophisticated as anything you will find on the right bank.”
Thunevin and his wife Murielle Andraud effectively launched the garagiste movement back in 1991 with the first vintage of Valandraud. Barely twenty years later, the couple celebrated their property’s promotion to Premier Grand Cru Classé level in the Saint Emilion classification. This success was no accident: Through vision, experimentation and, frankly, boldness, Thunevin has positioned Valandraud at the very top.
Meticulous vineyard management, extremely low yields, generous use of new French oak and the services of Michel Rolland have all contributed to the estate’s success. The story here is still being told, however, and Parker says that the Thunevins “continue to achieve marvelous things at this estate, always pushing the envelope of quality.”
Taste the 2014 Valandraud, and you’ll see what he’s talking about. It has certainly elicited tons of praise across the board from the critics: "spellbinding" (JS96), "a major wine" (WE96 & Cellar Selection), "wonderfully complete" (AG95), "one of the few “do not miss” wines in 2014" (JD95).
Four years on from the vintage date, this one is still a baby. Nonetheless, Neal Martin calls it “a beautifully crafted Saint Emilion destined to give a lot of pleasure over the years”. Lay down some this year and come back to it over the next two decades. Cheers!