Jean-Luc Thunevin is known for having revolutionised the Bordeaux region, starting with the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru wines, home to the highly acclaimed and famed Château Cheval Blanc and Château Angélus, to mention just a couple of names, and afterwards in the Margaux, Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol appellations, after acquiring new vineyards in these areas.
Jean-Luc Thunevin is passionate about wines, with no previous experience in Bordeaux country, whose initial link with the wine world developed from managing a wine merchant's, that later expanded into distribution and direct sales. In 1989, he and his wife Murielle Andraud bought a few hectares in Saint-Émilion, in the Fongaban Valley, and began to make their own wines, tending the vineyards as though they were looking after gardens (Murielle is the daughter of gardeners), and using techniques considered new at the time, and more usually associated with Burgundy, which enabled them to obtain more concentrated musts.
Château Valandraud was their first project, launched in 1991, and Clos Badon their second. There are more in the pipeline, and all are characterised by low production numbers, new-style wines that are concentrated and generous.
The revolution began when Robert Parker unexpectedly awarded their first wine a high rating. It was a totally unknown “garage wine”, yet it was ranked on a par with the great Bordeaux. Then it happened again, when they were trying to protect the harvest from bad weather conditions in 2000, and covered over a small part of the vineyards, which was not allowed under appellation regulations. This resulted in some bottles from both their first and second wines being released as non-vintage and labelled “Table wine”.
In 2001, Jean-Luc Thunevin and Jean-Roger Calvet started a venture called Domaine-Thunevin Calvet, in the Roussillon AOC.