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2010 Chateau Valandraud, Saint-Emilion (750ml)

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Country: France
Region: Bordeaux
Sub-Region: Saint-Emilion
Grape Varietal: Merlot
Review Score: 96WA, 96WS, 95IWC, 95JS
Alcohol By Volume: 15.0%

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Tasted blind at the Valandraud vertical at the property, the 2010 Valandraud is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc matured for 22 months in new oak (a little less than subsequent vintages). Initially it felt a little volatile on the nose at first and took time to calm down. This is very heady and raucous, lacking the refinement of the brilliant and superior 2010 Lafleur poured alongside. The palate is very concentrated with blackcurrant pastille and blueberry, veins of cassis emerging towards the finish. Almost viscous in texture, it has immense volume and persistence. It just needs a lot more time to temper its fieriness but that will surely come in time. This is a Valandraud for those with patience. Tasted December 2016.

96 points, Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (Issue # 229 - Feb 2017)

This is gorgeous, with ample mocha and licorice notes that are well-embedded into the core of lushly ripe and beguiling boysenberry, blackberry and loganberry fruit. The long finish is filled with black tea, singed spice and fruitcake, with captivating mouthfeel and superb length, as a singed apple wood note echoes at the very end. Displays the fruit and power of the vintage, but harnesses it at the same time. Best from 2015 through 2030.

96 points, Wine Spectator (Mar 2013)

Good deep medium ruby. Slightly high-toned, kaleidoscopic nose combines crushed blueberry, black raspberry, graphite, violet and sexy oak notes of mocha and espresso. Superripe and wonderfully sweet but with harmonious acidity leavening the wine's almost viscous ripeness. Plush, silky and utterly seamless wine with an impressively broad, slowly building finish featuring suave tannins, lingering notes of minerals and smoke and outstanding palate-saturating persistence. A great vintage for Jean-Luc Thunevin's flagship wine. Drink now or over the next 20 years.

95 points, Stephen Tanzer's Int'l Wine Cellar (Jul/Aug 2013)

Complex aromas of licorice, plums, incense, and tar follow through to a full body, with velvety tannins and a ultra-fine tannic finish. Hints of toasted oak and cedar with chocolate. Not quite the 2009 but very close. Try in 2017.

95 points, James Suckling (Feb 2013)