Valandraud 2016

St Emilion, Grand Cru

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Tasting Notes

The 2016 Valandraud offers an exquisite bouquet of pure dark cherry and crushed strawberry scents mixed with pressed flowers and hints of spice. The medium-bodied palate is harmonious and silky-smooth, with supple tannin and just a touch of black pepper and cedar toward the persistent finish. Jean-Luc Thunevin has crafted a supremely gifted Saint-Émilion.

Score: 96

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2022-2045 01 January 2019

The 2016 Chateau Valandraud is a blend of 10% Cabernet Franc and 90% Merlot picked between 5 October to 15 October for the last Cabernet Franc, delivering 14.5% alcohol, less than in 2015. It has a very mineral-driven bouquet thanks to the limestone soils (please refer to the January 2017 issue of Wine Advocate where I examine the terroir of Valandraud). The palate is succulent on the entry with fine tannin, crisp and focused with superb definition, a little more finesse than the 2015 last year with a slightly confit-like finish that grips the mouth. It will require five or six years to really mellow and shave off those edges, but this will be a seductive 2016 from Jean-Luc Thunevin.

Score: 95 - 97

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2022-2045 28 April 2017

The 2016 Valandraud is exceptionally beautiful. Powerful and explosive in the glass, the 2016 is superb today. Dark cherry, plum, mocha, spice, espresso, leather and smoke add layers of nuance. One of the things I like most about Valandraud in 2016 is the combination of fruit richness and vibrancy. Those elements make for a stunning, punchy Saint-Émilion that hits all the right notes. This is a fabulous showing from Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud.

Score: 97

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2024-2041 01 January 2019

The 2016 Valandraud is fabulous. Rich, exotic and plush on the palate, it exudes raciness in all of its dimensions. Sweet toasted oak, crème de cassis, raspberry jam, spice and floral notes all run through the 2016. Even with all of its richness, it remains light on its feet for such a big wine, especially as it opens up in the glass. There is plenty of depth and concentration, that is for sure, but the 2016 also retains freshness as well as energy, with a good deal of tannin underpinning the fruit. Quite simply, this is a stellar Valandraud.

Score: 94 - 97

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com 25 April 2017

The deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Valandraud packs a wallop on the nose with bombastic scents of baked black plums, cherry compote, coffee beans and licorice plus hints of hoisin, cedar chest and sautéed herbs. Full-bodied, rich and decadent in the mouth, it has a firm frame of grainy tannins and a fantastically long finish.

Score: 96

Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2022-2058 30 November 2018

An estate that is fascinating to taste in this vintage. Cassis, blueberry and liquorice flavours have huge persistency, with a dense but creamy texture across the palate. For the past two years they have carried out much less green harvesting and the yield in 2016 is at 50hl/ha, the highest ever. 'Us, the big proponents of low yields', Jean Luc Thunevin tells me with a smile. He knows, as I do, that this is a big success, an extremely lovely wine that still impresses plenty. No surprise that this counts as my favourite Valandraud to date. 92 IPT. 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in 100% new oak. More than 96% of the production in this grand vin.

Score: 95

Decanter Maturity: 2027-2050 21 April 2017

Exceptionally deep purple. Real life to this with graphite and richness. Very sweet and fully ripe but with much less acid than most other wines. Tough minerally dried grape finish on which the acid shows itself. Very dry end. Dramatic. 14.5%

Score: 17

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2024-2035 13 April 2017

This has a display of drop-dead gorgeous raspberry, boysenberry and blackberry confiture flavors unfurling from its core, backed by flamboyant anise and black tea notes. It’s rich, polished and seriously long. And then there’s a light twinge of chalky finesse at the very, very end to keep it grounded.

Score: 96 - 99

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator 06 April 2017

Fantastic core of dark fruit with blackberries, blueberries, licorice and crushed stones. Full body, beautifully polished tannins and a long and energetic finish. Pinpoint. Superb.

Score: 97 - 98

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com 04 April 2017