2018 Château Deyrem Valentin, Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, Margaux, Bordeaux, France
£31.99, available at 218 Waitrose stores and at waitrosecellar.com
It’s funny how my drinking habits have remained relatively constant over the years, even though my palate veers all over the place on account of the tens of thousands of wines that I taste. I don’t think I have dipped into a single claret since writing my Bordeaux En Primeur Report back in May, but I have been quietly willing September to arrive. Each year this glorious month signals to me, at least, that the Bordeaux season is back on, and it will stay with me for the next eight months. While it is always amusing to pluck bottles from the cellar, it is very rare to find top-flight, reasonably priced bottles of claret on the high street, and it is rarer still when they happen to be drinking rather well.
I have long been a fan of Deyrem Valentin, a hidden jewel in the Margaux crown. Made from 50% merlot, 49% cabernet sauvignon and 1% petit verdot, and spending 15 months in 50% new French oak, this classic recipe could result in any manner of flavour, but at Deyrem you can always rely on subtlety, balance, silkiness and style.
My mother told me some 50 years ago that her favourite style of red wine was Margaux. The wines these days are, on the whole, a lot more extracted and powerful than they were a couple of generations ago, but this is the sort of wine she would have adored. Deyrem has never altered its style – honed, engaging, polished and in perfect equilibrium; this is fabulous for autumnal drinking.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)