The choice is Majestic but what should you buy? Christine Austin offers some top tipples on deals at the store chain
With a new store in Ilkley and another one opening soon in Skipton, Yorkshire is clearly a major target for the people at Majestic. There will soon be 12 stores within the county, mainly in North and West Yorkshire, although Majestic’s policy of free delivery anywhere in the UK of the minimum six-bottle purchase means that no-one need miss out on this great selection of wine.
And that is the point about Majestic, you can’t just pop in for a bottle on the way to a dinner party, you have to buy a case of six, which can be mixed. Six bottles isn’t a lot of wine to buy at any one time, but it does require a little planning, particularly if you want the best deals. Many of the special offers require you to buy two from any particular deal to get the best price so you will probably need to spend some time working out which wines to put in your case. But with summer drinking ahead and the need to have a stock of wine to cope with whatever the weather brings, here are my suggestions for a mixed case or two.
Head to the Summer Selection for some of the best deals which bring prices down by 33 per cent when you buy two bottles. Admittedly some of the “original” prices do seem somewhat fatter than I remember, but you probably can’t go wrong at a third off.
Top of the list is AS Caixas Godello 2012, down to £6.66 on multibuy until June 2, and just to make the point I have highlighted it in this week’s Off the Shelf. Godello is an aromatic Spanish white grape, in the same flavour direction as Albariño, with more juiciness, more peachiness and a touch more structure. It deserves to be served chilled, on a sunny day when lunch is set up on the lawn and it goes particularly well with lemon-zested grilled fish, or a prawn and salmon salad. Godello is a relatively rare grape variety, but if we keep on drinking it, maybe they will start to plant some more.
At the same price, Mud House Sauvignon Blanc 2013, from Marlborough, New Zealand, offers terrific value, down from £9.99 until May 31. Mud House is a new arrival at Majestic and often sells in independents at a couple of pounds per bottle more than Majestic’s price. I don’t know whether this is a permanent addition to the range or just a parcel passing through but its lively, bright, zesty flavours are a joy and stand out for value at the offer price.
Pack a couple of bottles of Con Amigos Malbec 2013 from Bío Bío in your case to keep the whites company (£9.99, down to £6.66 until May 31). Stacked with plummy, bramble fruit with enough freshness to stay alive even if the weather should turn warm, this is the wine to pour with beef and sausages. For lighter flavours Domaine Ferrandière Pinot Noir 2013 provides ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit with a distinct smoky note adding enough weight to cope with cheese and even grilled duck.
There are other wines under £7 that are not on the same deal so you need to be careful to mix and match within the right groups. Try the clean, refreshing flavours of Symbiose Piquepoul Sauvignon “Cuvée Florence” 2013, (25 per cent off, from £8.99 down to £6.74 until June 2) from the Côtes de Thau. Made from a blend of green aromatic Sauvignon and the leaner, minerally Piquepoul, it steers a balanced course between the two and will drink well all summer.
Also good are the juicy, red fruit flavours of Calima Garnacha Tinto 2013, from Catalunya, Spain (25 per cent off, down from £7.99 to £5.99). Chunky but not heavy, it has a streak of liquorice and enough weight to cope with chorizo-spiced dishes.
The first port of call in this price range is the pair of wines from Nicolas Potel. Bourgogne Chardonnay 2012 (£12.99, down to £8.66 until June 2) is a classy white with no oak influence which allows the clear citrus fruit to shine out, backed by a light streak of oatmeal adding weight and complexity. Its partner Pinot Noir 2012 (same deal as the Chardonnay) is almost as good, lightish at first but then opening up on the palate with some savoury depth adding character to the cherry fruit. Both wines have flavours well above these offer price points and will drink well all summer.
So many people tell me they no longer drink Chardonnay I am almost reluctant to point out just how good are the flavours of Chardonnay Reserve Spéciale 2013, from Gérard Bertrand in the Languedoc region of France (£9.99, down to £7.49 until June 2). He does all the right things such as harvesting at night and fermenting in stainless steel just to keep flavours fresh and crisp. Yes, there is a little oak influence during winemaking but I couldn’t find it on the palate, just bright, crisp apple and white peach fruit with a rounded, elegant style. Keep a bottle of this chilled and bring it out to accompany grilled sea bass or cold, herb-dusted chicken.
When you are in a Majestic store keep an eye out for their “Parcel Series” wines which are literally parcels of wine discovered during buying trips and bottled. There is no continuity of supply so buy them when you see them because the ones I have tried offer exceptional flavours for the money. At £7.33 on multibuy until May 31, Parcel Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 from Maipo is packed with dark cassis fruit and spice and it will be a joy every time you open a bottle.
This is the price range where Majestic does so well, bringing a fine range of wines from some excellent producers. I’ll look at these more expensive wines in a few weeks but meanwhile if you want to sneak just one or two bottles into your six-pack case, head for Pouilly Fumé 2012 from Jean Vincent (£12.74 on multibuy) for its intense aromatic style and clean, crisp minerally finish. Among the reds La Sauvageonne Grand Vin 2011 (£22, down to £17) is chunky with deep leathery, mulberry fruit. It will need a serious roast dinner to balance this wine. Less challenging, and great value, are the spice-edged black fruit flavours of Crozes Hermitage “Les Saviaux” 2012, (£15.99 down to £11.99).