After writing this TN, I noticed this wasn't the first time I'd tasted this wine. The original note is shown below tonight's note and I'll have to say I suspect I was somewhat off the mark with my earlier note. Bottle variation might be a mitigating factor, but I suspect not. More likely I didn't see the tobacco integrating as it has over the last 3 years, together with a slight softening of the wine which seems to have brought it all together nicely. Also the finish in this wine was certainly not abrupt and had reasonable but not huge length.
1996 Château Deyrem Valentin - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux (11/2/2009)
Still healthy, yet medium/light colour with a band of brown at the rim showing maturity.
On the nose, tobacco, blackcurrant and some green pepper, with just a whisper of volatile acidity. Also a slightly surprising plummy richness on swirling.
Lovely poise to the palate. Light to medium in body, with fruit light yet persistant and green pepper a pleasant accent to the fruit. Discreet tannins combine with the fruit/green pepper on the finish to give the impression of a wine primly keeping itself under control.
Near the opposite end of the scale to the 'big is better, and biggest is best' school of thought (whose advocates would see this wine very differently I'm sure). Maybe a lean 'lunchtime claret' style, but a fine example of it IMO. In this context, lean has positive connotations.
(from a half bottle) Certainly ready, yet it should hold well for a few more years.
£9.80 for a half bottle
1996 Château Deyrem Valentin - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux (12/5/2006)
Light (12% alc) but nicely balanced with good depth of colour. The tobacco notes were just a touch strong for such a light wine, but acidity was well judged and tannins had softened. No signs of obvious greenness, thought the finish was quite abrupt. All in all a very pleasant midweek wine, which I'm sure has reached it's peak. Would buy again if priced well.