Robert Parker 96
Deep purple-black in color, the 2018 Valandraud is still sporting a fair bit of oak on the nose, with the cedary notions giving way to a profound core of Black Forest cake, stewed plums and boysenberry preserves, plus suggestions of espresso, clove oil, unsmoked cigars and charcuterie with a waft of Chinese five spice. The full-bodied palate is jam-packed with rich black fruit preserves, framed by sturdy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and tinged with exotic spices. It will need a good 5-6 years for everything to marry and for the nuances to be fully expressed, then enjoy it over the next 25+ years.
Anticipated maturity: 2026-2051
The 2018 Valandraud is every bit as compelling as it was from barrel, maybe more. Power and vertical, with tons of explosive energy, the 2018 dazzles right out of the gate. Inky dark cherry, plum, chocolate, spice, new leather, licorice and chocolate all race across the palate. The 2018 is a wine of tremendous stature that distinguishes itself in a vintage peppered with stunning wines. I would allow for a few years in bottle to help the tannins soften. I loved it.
Anticipated maturity: 2028-2043