Valandraud 2018 (750ML)
Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions
98 JS / 98 JD / 97+ VM / 97 WE / 96+ WA / 96 DE
This is really rich and intense with beautiful blackberry, violet and blueberry aromas that follow through to a full-bodied palate with extremely polished tannins that caress your palate. Love the texture and purity to the wine. Fantastic. Try after 2025. -James Suckling
Another head-turning wine from Jean-Luc is his 2018 Château Valandraud, which is mostly Merlot blended with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Its dense purple hue is followed by an incredible array of smoky black and blue fruits supported by notes of tobacco leaf, white chocolate, candied orange, and spice. This beauty has a deep, rich, powerful style yet holds onto a beautiful sense of purity and freshness, possessing ripe yet present tannins, plenty of textbook Saint-Emilion minerality, flawless balance, and a gorgeous finish. It reminds me of a slightly more approachable, elegant version of the 2016. Either way, it's rock star stuff. It can be drunk today with pleasure yet deserves 4-6 years of bottle age and will keep for 20-25+. -Jeb Dunnuck
The 2018 Valandraud is magnificent. Unctuous and super-concentrated on the palate, the 2018 possesses off the charts richness. Crème de cassis, bittersweet chocolate, hard candy, lavender, menthol, licorice, mint and dark spice all meld together. The 2018 is quite shut down at this stage, which is probably a good thing for its long term prospects. The blend is 90% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Malbec. This is the first time since the early 1990s that Malbec has appeared in the blend. Yields came in at 48 hectoliters per hectare, a touch above the 45 or so that is more customary here.
Deep purple-black in color, the 2018 Valandraud is still sporting a fair bit of oak on the nose, with the cedary notions giving way to a profound core of Black Forest cake, stewed plums and boysenberry preserves, plus suggestions of espresso, clove oil, unsmoked cigars and charcuterie with a waft of Chinese five spice. The full-bodied palate is jam-packed with rich black fruit preserves, framed by sturdy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and tinged with exotic spices. It will need a good 5-6 years for everything to marry and for the nuances to be fully expressed, then enjoy it over the next 25+ years..-Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate
Rich, deep, powerful and hugely persistent, this has tons of juicy black fruits but clearly in the more restrained frame that owner Jean Luc Thunevin has introduced over the past few vintages. It's a brilliant wine, full of personality, keeping its concentration and glamour and just easing towards balance, but still with its signature insouciance. Tasted several times and always delicious, this just pips the excellent 2016 for me. 3% Malbec completes the blend, the first time it's been included in the wine. 40hl/ha yield. 3.6pH. 100% new oak for extended ageing.-Jane Anson, Decanter