Robert Parker 86
Tasted blind at the Valandraud vertical at the property, the 2003 Valandraud did nothing to dispel my doubts about the longevity of this wine. It is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc matured in new oak for 20 months, actually the shortest duration from 2000 to date. It has a light and rather ephemeral bouquet that just seems to drift away in the (non-existent) breeze. Despite coaxing, this offers little compared to the 2002 or 2004 either side. The palate is medium-bodied with a rather chewy, meaty opening. There is dry fruit here that lacks joie-de-vivre, some presence but not life, and it feels bitter on the finish. It is simply a case of the merciless heat of the growing season vanquishing longevity. As such, given how many Valandrauds from mediocre vintages are maturing so well, I would consume bottles in the near future. Tasted December 2016.
Anticipated maturity: 2017-2019
Impressive ruby-red color. Lively aromas of violet, mint and licorice, further lifted by a mineral component. Sweet, silky and nicely delineated, with little of the roasted aspect of the year. (The pH is a reasonable 3.7 without acidification, says Jean-Luc Thunevin.) Finishes with lovely sweetness and thickness (the wine is close to 15% alcohol), with a layer of sweet tannins saturating the palate. This would be better for a few years of patience and should last for a couple of decades.
Very deep crimson. Brule mulberry notes on the nose. Warm and sweet but remarkably gentle on the palate. Lively edge of leafy Cabernet notes – another wine saved by is Cabernet Franc content (60 per cent in this case). Chewy, fine and absolutely no shortage of acidity. Jean-Luc Thunevin says he picked this in October, the latest of all in St-Emilion, with a yield of 28 hl/ha (more than in 2002). This wine is 15% alcohol but you would not know it on the palate. No heat on the finish. A very good Valandraud
Anticipated maturity: 2009-2020