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Bordeaux 2019: Château Valandraud et al

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

It is always a joy tasting through a range of wines that Jean-Luc Thunevin is involved with. The famous iconoclast of St Emilion has a hand in a large range of properties on both the right and left bank in Bordeaux as a consultant. His flagship wine is his own Château Valandraud and evidently Thunevin has pulled out all the stops again in 2019. This is powerful St Emilion with wonderfully lush fruit tones and extract that is simply knockout. This year I was also struck by his juicy Clos Badon which was looks fruit packed and joyful. The white Valandraud is also worth a special mention. This is usually a remarkably intense and concentrated white. It is once again bold and weighty in 2019 and also has good zap and energy.

Amongst the other wines that Jean-Luc has a hand in or is involved with in some way, Château Corbin, Château Moulin du Cadet, Château La Marzelle, Château Sansonnet and Château Soutard Cadet all look really good in 2019. Tasting these wines, overall the vintage doesn’t have the hedonism of the 2018s but the texture of the fruit and the freshness is a little similar to 2016. Château Fleur Cardinale is quite exceptional. It is incredibly seductive and reminds me of just what a great St Emilion property this is. Over in Fronsac, Château Vieille Cure is also inky and intense and has lovely length.

The following wines were tasted in London in June 2020 from samples sent from Bordeaux. As always, the notes are more important than the numbers.

Château de Valandraud, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Opaque at centre; colour tight to rim; purple edge; lovely creamy black fruits; super polished and laser focused as usual; such lovely lush fruit on the nose; super pure; terrific and so plush; despite this there is wonderful power beneath; lovely nose; lovely sweet fruit and oak so interwoven; caressing fruit on the palate; has real weight and intensity but this is so well managed in the cellar; has lots extract and matter; more menthol and spices; lovely wine; lots of extract on the finish and has a little tannin to resolve but that is the vintage. Fruit is lush. Bit of oak to integrate on the finish but overall this Valandraud is something of a transcendental experience! Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2045. 97-98+

Virginie de Valandraud, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2019

Deep and dark; intense and inky; spices; intense; deep; lots of extract and matter; little chewy in the finish. Let’s see how this develops. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2023-2028. 89-91+

Valandraud Blanc, 2019

Washed silver/gold; oyster shell; citrus; cashew; lychee hints; complex; feels fine and deep; zest and life; full and concentrated; spices; nice weight and some salinity; still has nice acidity; good length and weight on the finish. Works well as usual – weighty but with a twist at the end. Very good length. Fine. Up there with some of the best Pessac whites I reckon. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2021-2028. 93-95+

Virginie de Valandraud Blanc, 2019

Washed silver gold; quite ripe aromatics; bold; big; candy notes; apple; opens up; palate attractive weight and round qualities; good mouth feel; some melon and candy notes. Little short on the finish. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2022-2024. 89-91

Clos Badon, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2019

Deep and opaque; legs; earthy red purple at edge; glorious aromatics; ripe plum and cherry; some leafy notes; spices; really attractive and open; joyful wine; sturdy and juicy St Emilion; like the texture to the wine; it has amplitude; fresh and some grip to the tannins but plum and chocolate tones dominate the finish; gutsy with great typicity; has real zap and life. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2023-2035. 91-92+

Other properties:

Château Corbin, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Black at centre; earthy red purple at edge; plums and black cherry; plenty of inky intensity; little mineral note; cassis too; ripe and full entry; fruitcake and spice notes on the palate with good texture and savour; like this; feels positive on the palate; tannins ripe; plenty of extract; lovely fruit though. Some grip on the finish with black cherry and dark chocolate notes. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2035. 91-93+

Château Fleur Cardinale, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Deep at centre; dark; earthy purple at edge; beautifully seductive red fruits; glossy; polished; lovely unctuous fruit; really super; lovely purity; sweet ripe fruit; some new oak to integrate but the fruit seems to be soaking it up; opens up further in the glass; lush fruit here; inky; concentrated; certainly bags of extract; lots to this. Super stuff. Later on there was a satin quality here – super plush overall; evident layers and depth. Brilliant effort. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2040. 95-96+

Château La Marzelle, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Dark at centre; earthy purple edge; lovely seductive fruit; real lift to the fruit; joyful and playful; summer fruit compote notes on the nose – this is moreish St Emilion; ripe Merlot but also some leafy savoury tones; lovely texture; quite mid weight in some respects although there is plenty of extract and ripe fruit here. Really composed and polished on the finish. Caressing St Emilion with plenty of lively lift. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-3038. 93-95

Château Moulin du Cadet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Great colours again; deep; earthy purple at edge; plum and black fruits; spice; little marzipan and wet rock; lovely purity; sweet entry; oodles of soft fruit; extract is sweet and ripe; ripe tannin and sweet ripe fruit on the end. Works well in an inky 2019 way. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2035. 91-93+

Château Sansonnet, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2019

Dark and opaque at centre; legs; rich looking; ripe and saturated; creamy black fruits; some tar; real texture and chew; lots of extract; liquorice and Pontefract cakes; big; little monolithic perhaps on the palate currently; tannins ripe; lacks a bit of definition and amplitude; later the wine opened up considerably displaying more plummy briary fruit. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2037. 91-93+

Château Soutard-Cadet, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2019

Deep again if slightly brighter at the edge; spice, tar, ripe plummy Merlot fruit with some freshness lifting the nose; creamy black fruits beneath alongside black chocolate notes; sweet ripe entry on the palate; very consistent; feels a little dry at the back but the fruit covers the structure; some chew here but concentration too. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2035. 90-92

Château Trimoulet, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2019

Dark at centre; ripe aromatics; rich; black cherry and plum; lively and vibrant; sweet entry to the fruit; love the purity; lots of texture and extract; full certainly but tannin ripe; chocolate/mocha on the finish; quite positive on the end. Like the fruit. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2024-2034. 90-92

Château La Vieille Cure, Fronsac, 2019

Deep and arterial; purple at edge; jam packed with fruits; really intense; some savoury notes; leafy Cab Franc tones too; love this; full and intense on the palate; this is great stuff; really has wonderful texture on the palate; inky fruit but also life and freshness; caressing fruit; some pretty perfumed notes; quite weighty but works well in 2019. Tasted June 2020. Drink 2025-2038. 91-93+

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