In 1989, Jean-Luc Thunevin and Murielle Andraud acquired 0.6 hectares of vines in the small Fongaban valley, next to Pavie-Macquin. They gradually added other plots from within the appellation, most of which are located on a beautiful terroir in Saint-Etienne-de-Lisse not far from the Côtes de Castillon.
The estate currently has a total of 7 hectares under vine (70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc).
The average age of the vines is 35-40 years and the subsoil is predominantly clay-limestone with red ferruginous clay.
The vines are tended traditionally with green cover between the rows and plowing as necessary.
Valandraud tries to keep yields as low as possible (approximately 30-35 hectoliters/hectare) and to achieve optimum phenolic maturity.
The grapes are hand picked and sorted in the vineyard on vibrating tables. Grapes from each plot are separately fermented in small stainless steel and wooden vats adapted to manual pigeage (punching down the cap) and pumping over. After staying on the skins for twenty days, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and aging in new oak barrels. Racking takes place about every 3 months for 18-24 months, sometimes more. The wine is neither fined nor filtered before bottling.
Four different wines are made at Valandraud in light of the great diversity of soils and grape varieties: Château Valandraud, Château Valandraud Casher, Virginie de Valandraud, and "Le 3 de Valandraud".
The assemblage, or final blend, is made in March after a series of blind tastings. Valandraud is responsible for creating an "uncontrolled" appellation: vin de garage!
The reputation for quality – and the price – of Valandraud are now on a par with the greatest wines of the Right Bank.
Château Valandraud, the first ever "garage wine" has since become one of the leading estates in Saint Emilion.
Thanks to the meticulous care taken in both the vineyard and cellars, as well as newly acquired plots that give the wine another dimension, Valandraud is currently easily on a par with a Premier Cru Classé B.
Extremely dependable over the past decade, recent vintages of Valandraud are truly excellent, with the possible exception of 2002 (which was challenging for the entire Saint-Emilion appellation and slightly under the estate's usual standard). The 2005 Valandraud was a benchmark for the château.
Sought out by numerous wine lovers, Valandraud is quite rare due to its annual production of less than 15,000 bottles. As a result, it has been the object of much speculation.
Valandraud, Blanc de Valandraud, Virginie de Valandraud, 3 de Valandraud (second wine)