Majestic Definition range definitely delicious

We have previously tasted and reviewed see of the wines on the Majestic 'Definition' range within our wine reviews section.  

We felt that they represented good value for money with a nice range of grape varietals and regions to suit most shoppers.

Turns out we were not alone. Since the launch of the range in Autumn 2015, Majestic have seen sales top the £5m mark with their Prosecco, Sauvignon Blanc and Rioja Reserva being the most popular.

At the recent International Wine Challenge and Decanter World Wine Awards the range came away with 24 medals including 2 gold medals at the IWC for their Chardonnay and Rioja Reserva (both reviewed here). 

Recently the range has grown from 12 to 14 wines with the addition of a Pouilly Fume and a Chianti Classico. 

Pricing is between £8 and £14 and are available in-store and online.

For more details visit Majestic Wine.

Musings from Majestic trade tasting

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.

White wines

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.

Red wines

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.

Major changes at Majestic

Majestic Wine has today announced a new pricing proposition following feedback from customers who wanted 'simpler, clearer pricing and an end to the six bottle minimum' purchase. 

This is a significant and welcome shift in strategy for a retailer that has sold wine 'by the case' since its inception in 1980. This allows them to compete more directly with the supermarkets for those who tend to buy a bottle at a time.

We can also breath a sigh of relief that their discounting schemes no longer need a Carol Vorderman-esque mathematical mindset; discounts marked against that wine are offered on that bottle when 6 or more wines (of any mix) are purchased.  We are genuinely delighted to see this change as it was one of the biggest turn-offs when shopping there.

Finally, if you don't like the wines you buy, there's a hassle free money back guarantee.

All in all this is a very welcome change of focus for one of our favourite wine retailers. However, it's worth noting that Majestic talk about these changes (excluding the 6 bottle minimum) being 'for Christmas' so whether the model is tweaked further in 2016 remains to be seen.

Celebrate international Grenache day!

Today, Friday the 18th September, is International Grenache day. While it's unlikely that you need an excuse to drink wine on a Friday, here's some good reasons for making it a glass of Grenache.

Why should you drink it? Chester Osborn of d'Arenberg wines in Australia said; "Once people taste a good Grenache they are converted, but the challenge lies in getting them to try it. As a variety, it has wonderfully fresh, sweet red fruits, beautiful spices and lively tannins. It's a great blending tool, but also makes brilliant single variety wines." Master of Wine Jancis Robinson states that "Grenache is an unlikely hero of a grape". 

You may have been drinking Grenache without even realising it; it's one of the most widely planted varietals, being particularly popular in Spain (as Garnacha) and France where it is dominant in many Southern Rhone wines including the delicious (and often expensive) Chateauneuf-du-Pape. 

In isolation, Grenache exhibits red fruit flavours of strawberry and raspberry with a spicy / peppery edge. This flavour profile makes it a good blending candidate and is commonly added to Shiraz / Mourvedre often labelled by Australia producers as 'GSM'.

Grenache wines to try:

La Garnacha 2014 Salvaje del Moncayo, Majestic, £7.49 (on offer)

"Powerful aromas of wild berries and tobacco leaf are tempered by a sense of freshness and floral edges. The middleweight palate has ripe red fruit, minerality and subtle French oak."

Blason des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Waitrose, £14.49 (on offer)

Finding decent Châteauneuf-du-Pape at sub £20 is difficult but this is good value for money (it's currently discounted from £22). "Rich texture and spicy red fruit flavours, bursting with heady redcurrant fruit followed by a smooth layer of cherry liqueur and a spicy finish. Best enjoyed with grilled lamb or pork."

Rioja Reserva 2010 CVNE, Majestic, £7.99 (on offer)

This award winning wine is described as "a soft luxurious wine, mid garnet in colour with a lovely brambly nose and a hint of spice. Nuances of warm leather, caramel and coffee over rich autumn fruit. Excellent balance and a lingering finish".