The 2019 Valandraud has a generous and oaky bouquet with blueberry and blackberry commingling with vanillary scents. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy red fruit, velvety smooth in texture lending it a modern sheen, overtly oaky although I feel there is sufficient fruit behind it. This is defined by the winemaking rather than the terroir at the moment but it will come through with time. Tasted blind at the Southwold annual tasting.
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2050
Robert Parker 96
Rich and dramatic, the 2019 Valandraud bursts with aromas of berry fruit, plums and licorice, framed by a lavish but far from exaggerated application of creamy new oak. Full-bodied, fleshy and sensual, it’s broad and enveloping, its lavish core of fruit framed by ripe, polished tannins and succulent balancing acids. Seamless and integrated despite its ripe, hedonistic style, this has turned out beautifully and has the balance to perform well for at least two decades, even if there’s no youthful asperity to preclude near-term enjoyment.
Anticipated maturity: 2021-2041
Jeb Dunnuck 99
The local bad boy of Bordeaux, Jean-Luc Thunevin, continues to fashion truly brilliant wines, and his 2019 is no exception. Based largely on Merlot with small amount of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2019 Château Valandraud is a deep purple-hued beauty offering up a kaleidoscope-like bouquet of black and blue fruits, scorched earth, chocolate, gravelly earth, spicy oak, and sappy flowers. Deep, rich, full-bodied, and wonderfully concentrated, it has insane purity of fruit, brilliant tannins, a stacked mid-palate, and just has everything in the right places. It’s up with the top wines of the vintage and a tour de force that readers should snatch up. It shows a very different style than the sexier 2018, but it’s every bit as good. It needs 4-5 years of bottle age and will evolve for 2-3 decades.
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2057
James Suckling 98
Vivid and focused with brightness and clarity of fruit. Dried flowers, too. Full-bodied with layers of fine, soft tannins that spread across the palate and show class and refinement. It goes on for minutes. A beautiful bottle. Try after 2027, but so attractive already.
Jane Anson 97
This is gorgeous. There is high alcohol here and you do feel a slight trace of heat, but it is met by fruit that rises to fill in every step through the palate, along with cocoa beans, chocolate shavings, plum, boysenberry, loganberry, all textured, welcoming, juicy fruits of autumn, alongside cigar box, cold ash, shot through with smoke and bitter chocolate. So good.
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2040