Saint Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France
The 2018 Valandraud is magnificent. Unctuous and super-concentrated on the palate, the 2018 possesses off the charts richness. Crème de cassis, bittersweet chocolate, hard candy, lavender, menthol, licorice, mint and dark spice all meld together. The 2018 is quite shut down at this stage, which is probably a good thing for its long term prospects. The blend is 90% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Malbec. This is the first time since the early 1990s that Malbec has appeared in the blend. Yields came in at 48 hectoliters per hectare, a touch above the 45 or so that is more customary here.