Thursday, November 24, 2016
Tasting were it all Started: At the "Garage" of Jean-Luc Thunevin, Owner and Winermaker of Château Valandraud, Premier Grand Cru Classé since 2012 - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Jean Luc Thunevin became a well known figure in the wine world in less than a decade, thanks to its successful garage wine, Château Valandraud. As part of the Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France we went to the place in Saint Emilion, where it all started and had a tasting of his wines, including a Château Valandraud.
Nicolas Seveno was our host.
Jean-Luc Thunevin: Jean Luc Thunevin became a well known figure in the wine world in less than a decade, thanks to its successful garage wine, Château Valandraud.
It’s probabaly when tasting Le Pin, a Pomerol wine produced from a very small vineyard, that the desire to make a great wine by himself started. Obsessed by wine, opiniated and determined, he finally realized his dream in 1991, first vintage of Château Valandraud. This was the start of a fantastic adventure leading to a quick success.
From then on, he became the inspiration and kind of a leader for other garagistes. All thess micro cuvées coming from low yield to become concentrated wines. The vineyard work is under the strict supervision of Murielle, Jean Luc’s wife, who leads her team to respect each vine and adapt the pruning individually, systematic deleafing campaigns and of course green harvesting are on the menu.
Jean Luc aims to harvest at full maturity, he also copied the Burgundy vinification ways (pigeage…) to reach an optimum concentration. The wine is produced with a constant research of excellency.
Throughout his years of passionate work, Jean Luc Thunevin has mastered a know how that is now beneficial to other chateaux, such as Fleur Cardinale (Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé), Château Sansonnet (Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé), Château La Vieille Cure (Fronsac). He has previrously worked for Château Marojallia (Margaux), Branon (Graves) or Château La Dominique (Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé). Murielle Andraud and Jean Luc Thunevin are owners and producers in Pomerol too with Clos du Beau Père and Domaine des Sabines (Lalande de Pomerol) and are also the co owners of Domaine Thunevin–Calvet in Roussillon.
All Thunevin produced wines are sold via the Thunevin wine merchant company.
The Wines we Tasted
2014 Bad Boy Bordeaux
wine-searcher average price: US$14
Jean Luc Thunevin has repeatedly been called « Saint Emilion’s bad boy » or « Bordeaux’s black sheep » by Robert Parker, and it has given him the idea to create a cuvée called Bad Boy (Mauvais Garçon).
In 2007, Bad Boy 2005 has been released, under the regular Bordeaux appellation, as the regulations did not authorize then new blendings. It was just a matter of time to see the family grow with a Baby Bad Boy (Petit Garçon) when the Vin de France regulation authorized unseen blendings (Merlot/Grenache for us), it then quickly became mandatory to have a bubbly Crémant de Bordeaux Bad Girl (dry white and rosé) ….
And the family still grows with the 2 newest Bad Boys : 100 % Chardonnay and 100 % Syrah, both « Vin de France », even if they are produced in Saint Genes de Castillon , near Château Valandraud’s vineyard.
The bottling of the cuvee BAD BOY 2014 produced 85 000 bottles. 80% merlot 10% cabernet Franc 5% cabernet sauvignon, 5% petit verdot with vines at least 50 years old in a great terroir of clayey limestone mainly.
Jean Luc Thunevin: I was able to create this 2014 cuvée, as one would say during the Academy Awards, thanks to my parents without who this would have been impossible; my wife and my daughter who accept my crazy ideas, my bank manager who keeps on backing me, hoping that it will work, my past and future customers who always trust me, wine merchants from Bordeaux and brokers (who for this time are not the reason for this cuvee!), and especially, I thank: Robert Parker who gave me the idea to call this cuvée Bad Boy with one of his comments on Valandraud: “A terrific effort from bad boy.
and leading garagiste, Jean-Luc Thunevin, and his sidekick, Murielle Andraud, the inky/blue/purple-tinged 2005 Valandraud exhibits superb aromas of graphite, black currants, blackberries, violets, white chocolate, sweet licorice, and espresso roast. Boasting great intensity, full-bodied power, beautiful purity, and layers of complexity, this stunning wine should be unusually long-lived. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025+.
2014 Moulin du Cadet Saint Emilion Grand Cru
wine-searcher average price: US$24
2014 Clos Badon Saint Emilion Grand Cru
wine-searcher average price: US$40
Clos Badon Thunevin is located between the vines of Pavie and Larcis Ducasse, on the same level as Canon la Gaffelière.
Surface : 6.5 ha
Soils : sands and gravels
Grape varieties planted : Merlot 70%, Cabernet Franc 30%
Average age of the vines : 30 years
Ageing : 18 months in new barrels
Production : 12 000 bottles
The 2014 Clos Badon is a dark, voluptuous beauty endowed with considerable richness and raciness. Super-ripe black cherries, mocha, bittersweet chocolate, new oak and spices flesh out in an inky, intense wine. The style is decidedly ripe, plush and opulent, with all the elements in place . Still, Clos Badon is quite extroverted. Antonio Galloni
2011 Virginie de Valandraud Saint Emilion Grand Cru
wine-searcher average price: US$58
Established in 1992 as a second wine, Virginie de Valandraud (Virginie is the name of Jean-Luc Thunevin’s daughter ), is grown and vinified in the same way as Château Valandraud by the same teams with the same care and the same methods, under the direction of Jean-Luc Thunevin, the chef de culture Christophe Lardière and the cellar master Rémi Dalmasso.
Surface : 8,88 ha vineyards in Saint Emilion Grand Cru
Soils : clayey limestone
Grape varieties planted on the property : 65 % Merlot, Cabernet Franc 25 %, Cabernet Sauvignon 5 %, Malbec 4 % and Carmenère1%
Vinification with temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, manual punching of the cap, pumping-over, maceration about three weeks.
Average age of the vines : 30 years old
Ageing : 18 to 20 months in 100 % new oak barrels
Production : 15,000 bottles (average)
An attractive, richly fruity, spicy wine, the 2011 Virginie de Valandraud reveals hints of Christmas baking spices, mocha and black cherries along with supple tannins, decent acidity and a round, corpulent mouthfeel. Drink it over the next 10-12 years. RP
2012 Clos Romanile Saint-Emilion Grand Cru
wine-searcher average price: US$26
2013 Valandraud Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
wine-searcher average price: US$121
Château Valandraud is the achievement reached by a wine obsessed couple, Jean Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud. Once having succeeded in establishing a wine merchant company in Saint Emilion( still up and running), their wish was to own a vineyard and make their own wine.
In 1989 they turned their dream into reality by buying a small plot in the Fongaban central area of Saint Emilion, between Pavie-Maquin and La Clotte. The name Valandraud is a pure creation mixing Val (as the 1st plot is based in the Fongaban Valley) and Andraud (family name of Murielle that can be traced back to 1459 in the Saint Emilion registry)
Little by little, they bought several plots and now Château Valandraud’s 8.88 ha vineyard is fully based in Saint Etienne de Lisse.
Our technical team is constantly seeking technical improvements and all processes combine tradition and modernity, from the care of the vineyard to the harvest done by hand, first sorting being done during the hand picking of the ripe grapes.
The harvest is then carried to our organic inspired cellar, and the grapes are once more sorted by a Tribaie. The fermentation takes place in different tanks : stainless steel, concrete and wood. Once the alcoholic fermentation is done, the newly born Valandraud goes in oak barrels ( 100% new for each vintage) to start the malolactic fermentation. The ageing is from then on a game of « wait and see taste » and lasts from 18 to 30 months. The bottling of the wine (non filtreted, non fined) is handled by our team and own bottling group.
The success of Valandraud was an inspiration for many and created the infamous appellation known as «garage wines » !
Château Valandraud has been promoted to 1st classified growth of Saint Emilion since vintage 2012, 21 years after its creation.
Surface: 8.88 hectares
Soils : clayey limestone and quartz-gravel
Grape varieties-planted : 65 % Merlot, Cabernet Franc, 25 %, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%, Malbec 4%, Carmenère 1%
Average age of vines : 30 years
Vinification with temperature controlled in stainless steel tanks, manual punching of the cap, pumping-over, maceration about three weeks.
Ageing : 18 to 30 months in 100 % new oak barrels
Average Production: 15000 bottles
Postings on the Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France (Posted and Forthcoming)
Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy
Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics
Bordeaux - En Primeur, Negociants, Courtiers, the Quai de Chartons and the Place de Bordeaux – A Short Introduction
How Does the Negociant System in Bordeaux Work? Tour and Tasting at Millésima - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting from Barrel at Domaine de Chevalier, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Adrien Bernard - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Dinner with a View: At Restaurant L’Estacade in Bordeaux City - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux City, France
Schiller's Favorite Seafood Places in Bordeaux City, France
Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification, Bordeaux, France
Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France
The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany
Tour and Tasting at Château Canon La Gaffelière, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Wine Pairing Lunch at Château Beauséjour, Appellation Puisseguin Saint-Emilion, with Owner/ Winemaker Gérard Dupuis - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting at Château Figeac, Premier Grand Cru Classé B, in Saint-Émilion – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour and Tasting at Château Beauregard, Appellation Pomerol – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tour with Dany Rolland: Château Le Bon Pasteur in Pomerol – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Wine-pairing Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Pomerol, with Dany Rolland – Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Tasting were it all Started: At the "Garage" of Jean-Luc Thunevin, Owner and Winermaker of Château Valandraud, Premier Grand Cru Classé since 2012
Charcuterie and Cheese at Chez Pascal
Tour and Tasting at Château de Fargues, Sauternes, with Prince Eudes d’Orléans
Wine Pairing Lunch at the 1-star Michelin Restaurant Claude Darozze, with Marie-Hélène Lévêque, Owner of Châteaux Chantegrive
Tour of Château de Chantegrive, Appellation Grave
Tour and Tasting at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé.
Wine Pairing Lunch at the 2-star Michelin Restaurant La Grande Vigne (at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte)
Tour of the new Musee du Vin in Bordeaux City
Seafood lunch at Pinasse Cafe in Cap Ferret
Tour of the Earl Ostrea Chanca Oyster Farm and Oyster Tasting in Grand-Piquey, with Oyster Farmer Ralph Doerfler
The 5 Premiers Grands Crus Chateaux en 1855 of Bordeaux, France
What is a Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois? France
Tourt and tasting at Château Palmer, Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, Pauillac, 2ième Grand Cru Classé
Wine Lunch at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, Pauillac, 2ième Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Michel Tesseron
At the Invitation of Owner Michel Tesseron: Private Dinner at Château Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Sociando Mallet, Appellation Haut-Médoc
How a Barrel is Made: Visit of the Cooperage Berger & Fils in Vertheuil
Lunch were the Locals eat: At Le Peyrat in Saint-Estèphe in Saint Estephe
Tour and Tasting at Château Léoville Poyferré, Saint-Julien, 2ième Grand Cru Classé, with Anne Cuvelier
Tour and Tasting at Château Margaux, Appellation Margaux, 1ière Grand Cru Classé
Tour and Tasting at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Nathalie Schyler
Picnic Lunch at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé, with Owner Nathalie Schyler
Tour and Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé, with Daina Paulin