Press enter to see results or esc to cancel.

Definition Majestically Redefined.

After almost 10 years, Majestic has re-launched its “Definition” range.

It has also enlarged its name to “Definition by Majestic” to link it to the “Chosen by Majestic” range it sits above.

However, Definition’s objective is unaltered.

It remains an own-label range designed to demonstrate the quintessential qualities of well-known, but sometimes disparate and erratically delivered, wine styles.

Using blind tastings and collaborations with established relevant producers, parts of the former range have been re-blended or replaced.

The result, Robert Cooke (Majestic’s Chief Operating Officer) insists, is “an accessible way for our customers to explore the world of wine … with [the] assurance of a high-quality product”.

Co-incidentally, this chimes well with our “Why Should I Spend More” discussions that MidWeeker Richard has championed – and which I am going to abbreviate to WSM (Why Spend More).

That suggested a cost-neutral stance of drinking better by spending a little more per bottle but reducing quantities to compensate.

Although I have not sampled all (or even most) of the 23 “Definition by Majestic” wines released so far, here are three I feel fit the WSM bill.

In concluding that, I compared three sound, reliable and good value “Chosen by ..” versions with their new Definition partners.

In the usual way, hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible to help you locate the bottle in question.

Marlborough Sauvignon

2023 Chosen by Majestic Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough (from £8.99 at Majestic and 13% abv):

A good place to start is with this immensely popular variety where both examples are made by Brent Marris (think The Ned).

This Chosen selection is a pleasingly rounded but straight forward example with red apple, peach and green pepper flavours.

Support comes in the shape of firm lime acidity and just a hint of jalapeno to add contrast.

2023 Definition by Majestic Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough (from £11.99 at Majestic and also 13%):

Here the aromas are more extensive yet also more subtle as part of greater overall complexity.

It is significantly longer and delivers pithy grapefruit, orange and gooseberry flavours supported by vibrant tangerine acidity within a lemongrass and herb texture.

Verdict: Would I pay £3 more? Yes I would. The extended flavour range, lingering finish, sharper acidity and all-round sophistication fully justifies the higher price.

Malbec

2022 Chosen by Majestic Malbec Mendoza (from £8.99 at Majestic and 13.5%):

Again the focus is on a popular grape variety but this time with different producers and different geographic sources.

While not a big winner among ratings on the Majestic website, the “Chosen” option  is perfectly acceptable, social drinking malbec.

It has medium bodied minty, plum, baking spice and raspberry flavours with good acidity and limited tannin.

OK It may finish a little short but its overall softness is a big “plus” in today’ market place.

2022 Definition by Majestic Malbec Uco Valley (from £11.99 at Majestic and 14%):

This is a collaboration with Familia Zuccardi and is made using grapes from the Uco Valley.

The greater height but cooler temperatures there than in other parts of Mendoza often create more distinctive and fresher wines. 

In this case, the result is darker and more viscous wine with smooth loganberry and blackberry flavours.

Its acidity/tannin balance is excellent while the underlying savoury twist and minty opening aromas further enhance the quality on display.

Verdict: Again I feel that the extra freshness, texture and broader taste range easily compensates for the extra £3 that will be needed at the till.

Rioja

2020 Chosen By Majestic Rioja Crianza (from £8.99 at Majestic and 13.5%):

Rioja’s classification system makes selection a bit easier here – Crianza for the “Chosen” and Reserva for the “Definition”.

This opens with classic oak, tobacco and cigar box aromas that lead into smooth cherry and cranberry flavours.

Firm tannin accompanied by cinnamon and eucalyptus influences complete the picture.

As one review on Majestic’s website puts it “very good value entry level rioja”.

2018 Definition Rioja Reserva (from £10.99 at Majestic and 14.5%):

Full and sophisticated, this collaboration with La Rioja Alta exhibits full strawberry and damson flavours with a pine and mint nose.

A creamy, mineral edged texture adds to the pleasures, as do associated touches of chocolate and vanilla.

Verdict: Here the premium on the “mixed six” price drops to £2 and – without disparaging the sound and typical “Chosen” option – the trade up to the reserva is probably worth £4 rather than two.

Note to Sue.

In the Comments section last week, MidWeeker Sue upbraided me for not mentioning “also rans”.

So, in the spirit of balance, I did feel that the gap between the Chosen and Definition Rosé was narrower that with the others listed here.

Maybe I was unlucky with the Definition bottle, or its temperature, but I felt that the red currant and tropical fruit led Chosen from Languedoc was pretty close to its Provence partner.  


Subscribe for FREE!

Do you want every review I write, direct to your inbox, absolutely free?


Comments

7 Comments

Richard Wyndham

Hi Brian, very interesting comparisons, thanks.
Years ago, before we had a family, we would go to quite fancy tastings and dinners – which seemed relatively affordable then. I remember worrying whether I would get accustomed to really fine wines, and no longer want to drink much more modest examples! This never happened – a simple inexpensive wine can always give pleasure, and are often just right for the occasion. However what I did learn was that serving a more complex wine after a simpler wine amplified the differences between the two – and helps to identify the charms and character of each – as I think your article above demonstrated.
Incidentally, I recently listened to a discussion about what constitutes a “Fine Wine”. The best response was: ” A Fine Wine is one that prompts a discussion”. On this basis, with help from Brian and the regular contributors here, I feel fortunate in drinking Fine Wines pretty much exclusively!

Paul Davies

Majestic are making a big deal of their relaunched Definition range, so I find it odd that on a recent visit to my local store, only one Definition wine was available at the tasting desk.Perhaps they are missing a trick if they want to promote these significantly dearer wines.?
But all is not lost as there is good value-at mix six price- to be found elsewhere on the Majestic shelves.A good start would be Le Grand Retour Cahors Malbec 2021 13.5% £9.99 100% Malbec but technically I suppose it is a blend as the grapes come from four different vineyards..The name of the wine hints at the return of Malbec to favour in its origins.Blackcurrant to the fore.
Made by Betrand Vigouroux who knows a thing or two about Malbec as he has been awarded Master Wine Maker 2024 for the best Malbec by Drinks Business.

Brian Elliott

Thanks, Paul, for signalling up the quality that Cahors malbec can attain. It is fuller and denser than many Argentinian versions reflecting the different conditions that apply but there has been a lot of discussion between growers from both countries. A good thing – which we as consumers can only benefit from.

Eddie Walker

I don’t buy very much at Majestic. Closest branches to me mean round trips of 30 to 40 miles but some limited buying did include free delivery at times when I could use a deal reduction on a couple of interesting Portuguese bottles years ago.

I think my reticence for not using Majestic derived from their original selling policy of not being able to buy a single bottle at a time. I thought it very unhelpful. Then of all the retail outlets they have constantly lagged behind the others in so many respects regarding discounting and all else that TWS especially gets right and indeed the kind of offers available at Sainsbury’s, Asda, and probably the best of the supermarkets Waitrose that has a pretty developed selection across the board. Laithwaites/Times Wine Club and Averys are working harder and better at ”the sell” these days too.

Maybe their approach at offering these more select bottles will work for them in this developing style of market.

Interestingly for me Fiona Beckett in The Times does flag-up what I like most in the way of identifying, in this case Sainsbury’s, doing their ”increase in quality” range thing. Not that I think Sainsbury’s always ”gets it right” with their Discovery series but in the main it’s the offer of the unusual choices I defer to.

Perhaps their Fronton was OK when new but it didn’t stand the test of time when I recently opened the last of the bottles I had bought a year or two back. It was past its best, lifeless in the glass, and the original zip had deserted it. I didn’t persist more than with a couple of glasses before giving up. These Discoveries often come and disappear quite quickly.

I still have one bottle of the Toscana 2021 Morellino di Scansano from the house of Cecchi that was #13 in the range. This tended towards what I often refer to as an acquired taste where the Sangiovese variants are concerned. I have friends who will not allow a drop of ”chiantishire” wine past their lips. It’s as much a bête noir as South African Pinotage is to some. Everyone to their own but to my mind their loss. I like it when it’s well produced and sold as good value and authentic for washing down the right kind of food’ pappardelle with a venison mince and tomato sauce being a favourite.

Fioana Beckett is telling us about another new Italian bottle at Sainsbury’s that I hope is a beaut!

Sainsbury’s TTD Discovery Collection #35 Teroldego Rotaliano 2022 £7.75, I know we already have the Taste the Difference Marzemino Trentino but this new one excites me when it comes from small parcels from less distinct locations like the Alto-Adige. Well done Sainsbury’s.

I hope it isn’t as difficult to pin down as many of the Discovery Collection can be. Try as I might I have never found any Discovery Collection Verdeca, Puglia, Italy 2022 in my local store. I think I maybe need to be farther afield to a bigger shop.

Paul Davies

Hello Eddie,
A few months ago I opened a bottle of the Fronton to share with my 30 year old son.I told him it could be rather special.It ended up down the sink.Fortunately I had a reliable Rioja to substitute.

Eddie Walker

Ah well Paul … I plainly am not getting it right when I’m hanging on to stuff longer than it says on the tin … we have been warned and I think they know best when it disappoints on opening!! Last week I opened a bottle of the Zana Romanian Pinot Noir I got months ago at Sainsbury ‘s . Same story … very poor when 9 months ago it was
excellent. So even the enthusiasts are getting it wrong.

It shouldn’t be the case with “finer wine” of course and as we know the advice is usually there. But in slowing down on intake I just can’t shift stuff I feel should be gone . .. yet
It is not in my nature to stop purchasing some attractive stuff as it turns up. Sainsburys”s here I come for the Rotaliano!!!!

Best now …

Paul Davies

Hello Eddie,
That Sainsbury’s TTD Fronton had a drinking window of 2023-2029, but my experience was the same as yours.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.