Mission Codename Like a Virginie
We’re back in Bordeaux today, at Château Valandraud, the crown jewel of Jean-Luc Thunévin’s portfolio of great properties. With a tradition-defying reputation as the “Bad Boy of Saint-Émilion”, he has redefined quality, one wine at a time. This is as pure and intense as dry whites get in Bordeaux. Robert Parker is a huge fan of Thunévin and was the first to call him Bad Boy, along with the nickname “Black Sheep of Bordeaux” which really makes this white stand out even more. Add to that the fact that only 7% of all Bordeaux made is white, so here’s what we have, a unicorn under $20!
Pale gold with lemon-lime accents shimmering as the light dances through the glass. Fresh, racy and vibrant with a perfume of grapefruit, jasmine, and ample minerality. Medium-bodied on the ample palate, and viscous with exotic citrus oil, nectarine, and a hint of white pepper. Serious texture enveloped in vibrant acidity wrap this impeccably balanced beauty upon the impressive finish. This is the ultimate white for oysters, raw with mignonette, or grilled with garlic butter.
Don’t let that 2014 vintage fool you, as Jancis Robinson ranked it among the best recently for dry white Bordeaux; “Searing acidity is the hallmark of many of these wines, some of which are exceptionally pleasing.” And time did it wonders, drinking fresh as can be, Like a Virginie, 🎵 hey! Sipped for the very first time…
Here’s what the wine press says:
91 Points - Antonio Galloni, Vinous - “The 2014 Virginie de Valandraud Blanc is laced with citrus peel, crushed rocks and white flowers, all in an energetic, crystalline style best suited to drinking over the next few years.”
Neal Martin, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate - “Jean-Luc Thunévin and I share a common past life: both former DJs, masters at the wheels of steel, dance-floor in the palm of our hands, planning the next series of floor-fillers like a chess grandmaster plotting his moves. Of course, we both moved on to different things. I took the needle off the record and delved into wine writing. Jean-Luc became the eminence gris of the vin de garage movement that defined the 1990s. He became a “bad boy” that shook Bordeaux by its starched lapels, challenged preconceptions of what constitutes a great wine, gleefully upsetting the status quo. Whether or not you are a fan of “vins de garage,” the ripples of this movement continue to be felt today, even if the term now seems antiquated. It divided opinion, drawing a line between traditionalists and modernists, some might say between two different tastes in wine. There is some truth in that, but it is too simplistic, too binary. Some of my compatriots opined that Valandraud was excessive, too opulent and garish to be classed as sophisticated Bordeaux, rhetoric frequently just part of an anti-Parker agenda. However, I rarely found that to be the case. Whilst not every vintage ticked all my boxes, I tasted enough to know that whatever your opinion, this was a Saint Emilion that delivered where it mattered… in the glass. The Virginie de Valandraud Blanc 2014 has an appealing bouquet with lime, apricot blossom and citrus notes all well defined. The palate is fresh on the entry with crisp acidity..”
What the Winery Says
2014 'Virginie de Valandraud' Bordeaux Blanc AOC
- Jean-Luc Thunévin
- 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon, 15% Sauvignon Gris
- Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux Blanc AOC
- Clayey limestone and clay
- Elevation / exposure
- 119m / SW
- 12 months in 60% neutral French oak and 40% in stainless steel