Virginie de Valandraud St-Emilion is opulent, racy, floral, mineral, elegant. Black fruits, oak, and pepper are evident. The wine is drinking from now but has the stuffing and balance to go a lot longer. Match with hare or firm cheese. I love this wine, a great value Grand Cru Classe St-Emilion from a superb vintage.
Virginie de Valandraud St-Emilion came to life in 1992. It started out as a second wine of Valandraud St-Emilion but now has it’s own vineyards and identity.
Virginie de Valandraud St-Emilion 2009 Grand Cru Classe Wine Notes
James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, April 2010
“Intense aromas of mineral, toasty oak and dried flowers, with cool and dark fruits. Full-bodied, with a lovely silky texture and a racy, fine finish. Serious for the second wine of Valandraud.”
Tim Atkin MW, April 2010
“Like its grand vin, this St Emilion has benefited from the greater involvement of Jean-Luc Thunevin’s wife, Muriel, who has brought greater elegance to the wines. This is ripe, but not over-ripe, with classy tannins and oak integration, black fruit flavours and considerable freshness. 10+ years.”
Chateau Valandraud St-Emilion is the original Garagiste of St-Emilion. Disrupting the status quo and making wine in their garage. Valandraud St-Emilion broke all the rules and has since been excepted into the fold and spawned many more Garagistes. The style is oaky, ripe, modern and powerful. From 8.88ha across multiple terroirs in St-Emilion. Valandraud St-Emilion make a handful of reds and whites.
Bordeaux sits on the Atlantic coast of France. The Gironde, Dordogne and Garonne rivers provide its shape. Cold conditions and frequent rainfall, including during harvest time, make Bordeaux quite a marginal region with vintages frequently ruined by rain or saved from the rain at the last-minute by timely sunshine.
With approximately 5400 hectares planted it is a vast appellation with a few distinct personalities. Like the famous neighbour Pomerol, the wines are Merlot dominant and offer the silk, perfume and charm that Merlot can give. The best of the wines will live as long as, if not longer than most Left Bank wines and often cost two or three times more.
It gets a tough time most of the places it is grown. But in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion Merlot not only dominates but makes some of the best wines in the world. Perfume, silky and plush. Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon season the wines with structure and acid but in some places, like Petrus, they are almost not needed.
Is one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Sauvignon Blanc (oh! The name makes sense now!). It is most famous for being the third most important grape in quality Bordeaux. But also excels in the Loire Valley (where it lived before it went to Bordeaux), especially Chinon and Saumur. The wines are bright red, highlight aromatic with raspberries, rose petals, violets along with tobacco, cassis and some herbal elements. The best examples can live as long as any great wine.
Having tasted a few vintages of Bordeaux in my time, I do not doubt that this will be one of the best in the modern era. I feel that 2010 is on par for different reasons and 2005 exceeds them both, but it is a small margin.
The land that some many New World (not European) wine producers look to emulate. To generalise about French wine, I would say it is savoury, lighter-bodied wines. They are the definition of elegant, complex. There are many styles, though. And there is a French wine for every palate. They lead the world in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in Burgundy. Sparkling Wine in Champagne. Cabernet and Merlot in Bordeaux. Syrah(Shiraz) and Grenache in the Rhone Valley. Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and Pinot Gris in Alsace. Sauvignon Blanc, and Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley. Gamay in Beaujolais.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is impressive. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins, and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.