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Château Valandraud

The vineyard is located in Saint-Émilion in the area of the same name (Bordeaux). In 1989, Jean-Luc Thunevin and his wife Murielle Andraud bought a small plot of 0.6 hectares between Château Pavie-Macquin and Château La Clotte. They were advised by the well-known star oenologist Michel Rolland. The first vintage produced was 1991 and the vineyards were subsequently greatly expanded; in 1998, the former Château Bel-Air Ouy in Saint-Etienne de Lisse was purchased. One of the most famous garage wines is produced on the estate. Thunevin is regarded as the inventor of these extreme specifications and thus perfectionistically produced wines, as well as his winery as an absolute top address. A special feature is that in 2012 the classification from "Grand Cru" to "Premier Grand Cru Classé B" has been successfully achieved.

The vineyards cover a total of 15 hectares. Nine hectares are planted with the red wine varieties Merlot (66%), Cabernet Franc (33%) and Malbec = Cot (1%). But only a part of them from the best sites is used for the first wine. The 2000 vintage came from only 3.5 hectares and was assembled from Merlot (70%) and Cabernet Franc (30%). The first secret of the high quality is an extreme yield limitation, only six grapes grow on one vine. There is systematic defoliation and rigorous thinning out. Any berry that is not 100% correct is removed. We wait for the grapes to reach optimal physiological ripeness.

For the first wine, only the first must is used (no pressing), and there is no fining and no filtration. Then the wine is aged for 18 to 22 months in 100% new barriques. For the 1995 and 1996 vintages, the wine was even aged in 200% new oak. First the malolactic fermentation was carried out in 100% new barriques, then the Soutirage (separation from the lees) and finally a decanting into again 100% new barriques. The wine, which can be stored for decades, has an extremely dark colour, incredibly dense extracts and pronounced tannins. The wine is sold exclusively by subscription. A bottle costs at least € 300, older vintages are among the most expensive wines in the world.

The second wine is called "Virginie de Valandraud" and is named after the daughter. It is vinified in a similar way, but with press wine. Other wines are called "Clos Baron Thunevin" (from 6.5 hectares of own vineyards, 50% each of Merlot and Cabernet Franc) and "L'Interdit de Valandraud" (like the first and second wine). The latter is produced from two hectares, the vineyards are covered with plastic sheeting to protect the roots from rain. However, the INAO has declassified it as a table wine. With "L'Interdit" (in German "Der Verbotene"), Thunevin obviously made a humorous reference to the INAO decision or rather "protested" against it in a very pointed way. Since the 2001 vintage, a kosher red wine has also been produced from Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

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