People may think that running a wine website is all fun and glamour and parties and Pinot. Well it's not. Recently we had to trek all the way into Central London and work our way through 140 of the wines on Majestic's list for the good of our readers. You're welcome...
In summary, it was a very good tasting with lots of quality wines at good price points. Some highlights include the introduction of their first own-label range 'Definition' which is a selection of 12 wines with a good spread of regions and grapes. These wines were pretty solid (though one or two on the pricey side) with a couple of stand outs.
As we've come to expect from Majestic, there were some wines of fantastic character over-delivering in the £10 and below price point. Here's what to watch out for:
Majestic own label - Definition range
As mentioned above the Definition range is a welcome addition to their excellent line up. the Definition Chardonnay £12.99 (multi-buy £9.74) will turn the head of the most adamant Chardonnay avoider; rich with apple, toast and pear this is quite delicious. Also within this range their Definition Marlborough Pinot Noir at £15.99 (multi-buy £11.99) was rich and savoury with raspberry and dark cherry fruits, silky smooth. Finally in this range the Definition Rioja Reserva at £12.99 (multi-buy £9.74) was our Autumnal pick of the evening. Lovely heady aromas of black fruits with a smidgen of vanilla, this was rich and tasty with a hint of leather and smoke.
From France, their Symbioses Piquepoul Sauvignon Blanc Cuvee Florence at £9 (£6 on multi buy) was excellent value for anyone liking the fresh acidity of 100% sauvignon blanc but looking for something a little different. This was softer with hints of pear and made an interesting change from the fashionable Kiwi Savvy Blancs. If you fancy something a little sweeter, their Mas Neuf Muscat Sec at £10 (multi-buy £7.49) was floral and rich with some honey and pear, dangerously drinkable.
New Zealand whites are a customer favourite at the moment and Tu Meke have 2 excellent value examples with their solid middle of the road style Sauvignon Blanc (£6 multi-buy) and tasty Chardonnay (£6 on multi-buy) that taste like it should cost more. A major surprise was Graham Norton's Own Sauvignon Blanc £11.99 (£8.99 multi-buy) which was surprisingly interesting with blackcurrant leaf aromas and a hint of pear.
As a treat, the Saintsbury Chardonnay from Carneros at £20 (£14.99 multi-buy) was excellent with fresh green apple, minerality and wonderful length.
Going a little off piste, the Bellingham 'The Bernard Series' Viognier from South Africa £12.49 (£9.99 multi-buy) was rich and slightly sweet with lovely pear flavours and a hint of vanilla.
I'm always very suspicious of Pinot Noir at sub £10 but the Romanians have done pretty well here. Their Incanta Pinot Noir at £8.99 (multi buy £5.99) is surprisingly drinkable. Soft red fruit flavours with a smidgen of spice, very good value at £6 and would keep a pizza in very good company. Similarly the Parcel Series from New Zealand is great value of £9 multi-buy price; dark cherry aromas with soft dark fruit flavours and a hint of pepper, nice length. As a treat (and a bargain) the Roaring Meg Pinot from New Zealand at its current multi-price of £15 is a steal for pinot of this quality; brooding dark fruit aromas this is rich and complex with slightly sweet black fruit; totally gorgeous.
Portugal is a region that regularly over delivers at the sub £10 price point and the Ramos Reserva is a cracking example of this, dark and savoury aromas with rich red fruit flavours and some vanilla on the finish, this wine is dangerously drinkable. For a few quid more, you can get the Quinta de Quercus also from Portugal which has those big dark fruit aromas with a hint of eucalyptus and rich blackcurrant flavours, it's knock your socks off stuff.
All in all a very solid range of wines were on show with wines in the £8-£15 price range performing best. While Majestic have recently removed their 6 bottle minimum buy, the discounts when you buy 6 or more are pretty hefty going all the way up to 33%. Wines at their full price typically represented reasonably good value with the real bargains when you took advantage of the discount so plan ahead and buy by the case.