CHÂTEAU VALANDRAUD, SAINT-ÉMILION
BORDEAUX, FRANCE 2017
Here's the great thing about a bottle of Château Valandraud: It always tastes like the work of a passionate and hungry upstart. The spirit of the garagiste lives on, in every vivid, energetic sip.
This one, the '17, was just as thrilling for me as the very first Valandraud I tasted, almost 10 years ago, and the critical consensus on it is just as giddy. Antonio Galloni declared it "one of the stars of the vintage," awarding 98 points and writing: "There are only a few wines in 2017 that are truly exciting and viscerally thrilling. Valandraud is one of them."
We couldn't be prouder to be able to share it with our Concierge Family — and to know that, together, we are supporting the exquisite craft of one of the great wineries in the world.
I was tempted to write, "one of the great small wineries in the world," but by now, that, ahem, tiny detail has become almost beside the point.
Valandraud began life a little over three decades ago when wine merchants (and husband-and-wife) Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud purchased a .6 hectare plot of vines in Saint-Émilion, on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. They were among the first of a group of tiny wineries that the press derisively termed garagistes, and that soon grew into a movement. Producing small lots of limited-production wines, they mounted a spirited push-back against the creeping commercialization and growing internalization of the wine trade. Success came almost overnight, and in stunning fashion. In 1995, when the couple had been producing wine for just four years, Robert Parker awarded that year's vintage of Valandraud a higher score than Château Pétrus. With that, a legend was born, and in relatively short order its cohort — including La Mondotte, Le Dôme and Quinault l'Enclos — went from cult wines to major players.
The ultimate validation of Valandraud's evolution from plucky nobody to establishment titan came with the 2012 Classification of Saint-Emilion wine, when it was promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classé.
At a time when so many wines are becoming bigger and bigger, I think it's worth pointing out that Thunevin doesn't simply make big wine. He makes wines that wallop. That impose themselves upon you.
Galloni was on the money when he described the '17 as possessing "off-the-charts intensity and power."
A blend of 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon brought up in new barrels, it is a wine to sit and linger with over the hours, from the savor of the gorgeous nose (creme de cassis, violets, white flowers, and graphite) to the slow, sensual opening up of flavors to the long, satiny finish.
Collectors, this is simply a must-have. Act now and secure yours!
*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Spring/Summer 2022. With the supply chain issues that we are seeing globally, there may be some unforeseen delays which could affect the ETA. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in MI, NY or TN. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Thursday, March 24, 2022.