An exploration of wine

340. Château Valandraud, Virginie de Valandraud Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, 2000

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Book 2 Wine 340

£38; 13.5%

My first Bordeaux from the lauded 2000 vintage. Jean-Luc Thunevin’s wines have recently been criticised for being “too short-lived” for ‘proper’ Bordeaux. Well, I’d say that this is quite early maturing, but then again is a 2nd wine. This was definitely an evolutionary experience, as it integrated and improved over 2-3 days. Initially, I preferred La Chapelle de la Mission ’01 but I think after all that this is slightly better. Semi-opaque (unfiltered?) black-garnet core. Svelte, but masculine. A steak wine? Some early leather or cigar notes. Not overt fruit, but then over 1-2 days black cherry and blackcurrant emerges, with pencil lead and cocoa. Smooth palate with freshness at the attack (good acidity), despite full texture. Quite ‘angular’ fruit smooths over 1-2 days, integrating into a savoury, smoky palate with some dark fruit, but a spice-dominated finish. Tannin bite suggests 3-5 years more life, but not sure about improvement? Pretty nice. Expensive.

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