Late last month, the “Chosen by Majestic” range emerged – a new, eleven wine, own-label selection.
Reflecting current pressures on purse strings, the range’s “Majestic mixed six” prices (applicable outside Scotland) occupy that sweet spot just below £10.
Most cost £7.99 or £8.99 but – in two instances – hit £9.99.
This places them on a rung between the retailer’s entry point wines and the average price of their Definition range.
In the usual collaboration with suppliers, Majestic’s quest has been for examples that embody the elusive trio of reliable quality, good value and a sprinkling of innovation.
Consistent with that latter aspect, the range includes UNusual suspects such as Austrian and Greek whites.
All this initial batch is from Europe and, in many cases, secure the latest vintage early while everything remains nicely fresh.
New World participation will come later, but Majestic’s Rob Cooke maintains that the new range already allows customers to enjoy new wines “at incredible prices, without compromising on Majestic quality.”
I tried out a number of these wines and here are details of ones I especially enjoyed.
The images and hyperlinks provided should help you to find them in crowded displays.
Starting near the Atlantic coast
2022 Chosen by Majestic Muscadet (from £7.99 at Majestic and 11.5% abv):
One upside of climate change seems to be an improvement in wines at the northern extremity of Europe’s wine production areas.
Obviously English sparkling wine is one beneficiary but so are several recent vintage Loire wines including chenin blanc and, in this case, muscadet.
Delicate with fresh aromas, this example delivers soft apple and greengage flavours with citrus peel acidity.
It concludes with well above average length and a saline finish that incorporates hints of cumin.
Next that Austrian representative
2022 Chosen by Majestic Grüner Veltliner Kremstal (from £8.99 at Majestic and 12.5%):
When talk turns to Austrian whites, the craggy Wachau region steals most headlines but never overlook its easterly neighbour of Kremstal.
It sits on both sides of the Danube and produces slightly more restrained gruner that can be brilliant when from loess based vineyards (scroll down this post on soil types for more on loess).
Bright and aromatic, this Kremstal gruner is centred around ripe pear, red apple and fresh pineapple flavours.
Clean lime and grapefruit acidity add an attractive prickle to its herbal components and the long finish that they lead into.
Now for a Red
2022 Chosen by Majestic Beaujolais Villages (from £9.99 at Majestic): France: 13%
Full marks to Majestic for including a Beaujolais in this selection – and one that is good enough to justify hitting the top price point of this range.
This nicely illustrates why Oz Clarke’s Grapes & Wines book describes gamay as “never blockbusting but [with] character, balanced acidity, lightness and freshness”.
Bold but still nicely juicy, this example brings us soft plum and raspberry favours with a gentle edge of sweetness to add complexity.
Despite a predictable lightness in its body, the wine also has cocoa, clove and blackcurrant hints, all enlivened by energetic acidity.
My top choice from the range
2020 Chosen by Majestic Rioja Crianza (from £7.99 at Majestic and 13.5%):
It’s inevitable perhaps that any range like this would include a Rioja, but the quality on display here reflects a place earned on merit.
Meeting the £8 price point probably rules out Reservas and Gran Reservas but maturation is also regulated in the next level down (Crianza) – aging for 1 year, with at least 6 months in oak.
Dark with characteristic Rioja aromas, this result contains smooth cherry and mint flavours with pleasingly soft tannin.
All this is combined with lively acidity, chocolate, rosemary and cinnamon touches and a range of other oak influences.
Finally, some bubbles
Chosen by Majestic Prosecco DOC (from £8.99 at Majestic and 11%):
While innovation is important, clearly a range like this cannot miss out on staples like Prosecco.
Good to see that this one is from Treviso – a small segment within the enormous Prosecco DOC production area often responsible for above average versions.
While not truly exceptional, it is softer and more complex than many similarly priced rivals and a good candidate if you need another bottle to secure the “mixed six discount”.
Light with a controlled trace of sweetness, it features soft melon, red apple and ripe pear flavours.
Within its creamy texture, there are also suggestions of tropical fruit and cream soda, all given a measure of verve by gentle acidity.
My next post (on Monday) contains terrific recommendations of Top Tips for you in the weekly feature of the same name.
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