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Christmas Wine Buying Starts Here

In the run-up to Christmas, many folk will be heading for “uniquely wine” outlets rather than just to buy bottles as part of the weekly grocery run.

Here, then, are some tasty offerings from Majestic – unconstrained, in deference to the season, by the usual price limits– and be prepared to add to them after visiting the In-store Tasting Bar

The first price quoted below is the lowest available but do follow these links to see how the mixed six policy works and remember that different pricing arrangements apply in Scotland.

As usual, click on any bottle for an enlarged image to help spot the wine on a crowded display.

More stardust from the Rhone Valley

majestic-cotes-du-rhoneRegular MidWeekers will not be surprised to see me heading to the Rhone Valley for the refreshingly different whites they produce there – this time without marsanne or any oak maturation at all.

White grenache and roussanne do, however, figure in 2015 Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc, Léon Perdigal (£7.49/£8.99 and 13.5% abv) and, no doubt, help provide the savoury background that so delightfully supports the wine’s smooth greengage and quince fruit and firm acidity.

Dreaming of a classy Christmas

majestic-puligny-montrachetQuality seafood dishes grace many Christmas lunch tables and cry out for luxury white wine to support them – and where better to answer that call than Burgundy’s calcium rich Cote d’Or.

Head then for the depth and toasty richness of 2014 Puligny-Montrachet Les Charmes Alain Chavy (£30 until 28 November/£35 and 13%) with its apple and white peach fruit, spice and vanilla background and appealing hints of honey to round it all off.

…… and a sweet one too!

majestic-castelnau-de-suduiraut-sauternesBefore we move onto the reds, Christmas time also demands a “sweetie” so let’s stick with tradition and seek out a semillon dominated dessert from – where else – Bordeaux.

All the classic mellow honey touches abound in the well-priced 2010 Castelnau de Suduiraut Sauternes (£10.99/£12.99 for a half-bottle and 14%) but nicely counterbalanced by a smooth savoury edge and sufficient gentle acidity to make you doubt that there really are nearly 150 grammes of residual sugar per litre here.

Today’s home of great value red

majestic-agenda-daoFor an inexpensive red, Portugal currently offers more options than most and the granite based Dao region is a great destination given its steady recent move away from burly, tannic fare.

Enjoy then the indigenous grapes (with a dash of tempranillo) that form 2014 Agenda Manager’s Choice, Dao (£7.99/£9.99 and 13%) with its bright bramble and red currant fruit, vanilla herb and sweet spice backdrop and mercifully mild tannin.

Jingle bells – Oz excels!

majestic-mollydookerIf you plan to push the boat out with reds this Christmas here is a lovely, superpowered red that shows just how good shiraz from McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek can be.

Rounded, complex but  adeptly integrated 2015 Mollydooker The Boxer Shiraz South Australia (£22.50/£25 and 16.5%) has well defined blackberry and cherry fruit with smooth tannin that accentuates – rather then obscures – its eucalyptus touches and the sweet edges that accompany them.

 Fizz that stands the test of time

majestic-de-telmont-champagne-wine2-dec-24Finally to champagne, with a brilliantly priced blend of all three of the region’s top three grapes that has been a winner for Majestic almost since the retailer's inception over thirty years ago.

The strength, I believe, of De Telmont Grande Reserve Brut Champagne (£14.99/£19.99 and 12%) is its balance. While the lemon acidity and green apple fruit provide crispness, the wine's texture is creamy and brings a savoury depth to the flavour spectrum – that, in turn, is nicely expanded by a spicy complexity.

Best of the Rest

Ideal Party Red

We all know how sangiovese grapes give the world dense, turbo charged Chianti. Well other parts of Italy can make a good (and very sharply priced) fist of it too – albeit in their own way.

The chianti-like elements of 2014 Romagna Sangiovese (£4.25 at Morrisons and 13.5%) include smooth, clove-influenced black cherry fruit but this version is discernibly less full, its tannin is restrained and its flavours include touches of red currant too; perfect as inexpensive, party wine.

 

And an Equivalent White

asda-wine-atlas-cattaratto-wine3-nov-12For a white, look for a little known Sicilian grape variety that has primarily been used as an ingredient of marsala but here surfaces in a hugely successful but keenly priced standalone version.

There is crisp, apple fruit and a prickle of grapefruit acidity to 2015 Wine Atlas Catarratto (£4.78 at Asda and 12.5%) with hints of peach ripeness but attractive contrasting, nutty, coriander leaf components too.

 

 


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Comments

2 Comments

Dave Cronin

Hi Brian
Off to Majestic next week for their winter / Christmas tasting, have looked at the Dao before may well pick up a bottle on your recommendation. I’ve tasted the Mollydooker and as you say its a real powerhouse full of chocolate and liquorice.
The De Telmont sounds good, always like a trying a reasonably priced Champagne. surprising how many good ones are out there.
Salud !

Brian Elliott

If you get a chance, take a look at the Martinborough Escarpment Pinot Noir. At under £20 on a mixed six, it is a super star to me …… Best …… Brian


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