1. Home >
  2. Store finder
  3. >Aberdeen
Welcome to Majestic

Aberdeen

Contact Information
T: 01224 684 487
F: 01224 684 487
E: abe@majestic.co.uk
Opening Hours
Monday 10am - 7pm
Tuesday 10am - 7pm
Wednesday 10am - 7pm
Thursday 10am - 8pm
Friday 10am - 8pm
Saturday 10am - 7pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm
Bank Hol 10am - 5pm
Store Address
Unit A
876 Great Northern Road
Aberdeen
AB24 2BP
United Kingdom

Store facilities

  • Fine wine available
  • Free chiller bin loan
  • Free Wine Courses
  • Free local delivery
  • Free glass loan
  • Free parking
  • Free tasting every day
Store News(117)

Fine Wine of the Month: The Chocolate Block 2012, BoekenhoutskloofDate published: 06/09/14

Fine Wine of the Month: The Chocolate Block 2012, Boekenhoutskloof

As its name would suggest, there is an intoxicating richness to the nose of this wine, with aromas of black forest gateau, espresso, blackberry and  creme de cassis to name but a few! A wonderfully textured wine, the Chocolate Block is full bodied and velvety and flavours of morello cherry, liquorice and clove building to a sumptuous, mocha-infused finish which goes on and on.

It may be more appropriate to call this one our Fine Wine of the Fortnight because whenever we get the Chocolate Block in, we usually sell through our allocation in a matter of days! A unique blend of five grape varieties; Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Viognier which is fast becoming a New World icon with a legion of devoted fans.

The combination of cocoa and dark berry fruit flavours works really well with the earthy, gamey quality of venison, one of the few meats capable of standing up to the concentration of the wine. Roast haunch with seasonal  veggies makes for a perfect partner.

Wine of the Week: Medalla Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 - £7.99Date published: 04/09/14

Wine of the Week: Medalla Real Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 - £7.99

Vibrant blackcurrant, mint and spice aromas emanate from the glass. Incredibly powerful on the palate, this is a wine of great scale with bright acidity, full body and firm yet juicy tannins. Flavours of blackcurrant, bell pepper and menthol persist for the better part of a minute. An absolute monster!

This is a wine that I always like to see arrive in stock, it's really rare to see a wine of the quality for less than £15, let lone a tenner! Santa Rita, founded in 1880, has long been lauded as one of Chile's finest producers with the reputation being made by their range of potent, full bodied reds.

Fruit for the Medalla Real is sourced from the Maipo Valley, Chile's viticultrual heartland. A number of producers have been releasing outstanding Cabernet based wines from Maipo for some time now and it surely ranks alongside Coonawarra, Napa and Stellenbosch as one of the finest sources of New World Cabernet.

Given the immensity of the wine and the potency of it's fruit, this wine is best suited to hearty meat dishes or hard cheeses. I have enjoyed it Irish Beef Stew on several occasions but will always make sure that there's enough to go with some mature Orkney Cheddar.

A New Addition to the Parcel Series: Clare Valley Shiraz 2012Date published: 04/09/14

A New Addition to the Parcel Series: Clare Valley Shiraz 2012 - £6.66

The Parcel Series is one of Majestic's finest traditions, a group of wines that are selected in bulk by our buyers and sold under our own label at a significant discount. These are often 'declassified' wines from some of our most prestigious producers and represent outstanding value for money.

This most recent addition to the Parcel Series hails from the Clare Valley in South Australia, an area famed for producers such as Henschke. Cooler than the nearby regions of Barossa and McLaren Vale, Clare Valley Shiraz typically displays a greater degree of freshness and elegance than the archetype of Australian Shiraz.

Powerfully fruit driven, with notes of dark cherry and blackberry. Good acidity, ripe tannins and a lifted, spicy finish that adds intrigue. This is a potent wine which punches well above its price point! Try it out with Char-grilled lamb rump.

New Wine Course DatesDate published: 24/08/14

New Wine Course Dates

We're hosting three free Wine Courses – a 90 minute introduction to wine tasting & food pairing (with lots of free samples!) - at the Aberdeen store during September and October on the following dates:

Thursday 4th September 6:30pm

Thursday 25th September 6:30pm

Thursday 16th October 6:30pm

Due to limited places on each course, booking is required. Give us a call on 01224 684 487, send us an email at abe@majestic.co.uk or tweet us @majesticabe to reserve a spot!


Producer Focus: Bodega Catena ZapataDate published: 23/08/14

Producer Focus: Bodega Catena Zapata

There are a handful of producers worldwide who can truly be considered to have pioneered a wine style. Think Mondavi in California, Gaja in Piedmont and Guigal in Cote Rotie. Bodega Catena Zapata surely belongs on this list.

Founded by Italian immigrant Nicolas Catena in 1902 it was his grandson, Nicolas Catena Zapata whose vision catapulted the winery to global fame and established Mendoza in Argentina as the preeminent region for growing Malbec. Taking inspiration from the Californian wines he enjoyed as a professor of Economics at Berkeley near San Francisco, Nicolas set about an intensive program of modernisation at the Bodega, with extensive research in to clonal selection with Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec, the grape that would become Argentina's signature.

Nicolas' daughter followed in his academic footsteps, graduating from Harvard and practicing medicine before assuming a role at the winery. Their wines have long been held in the highest esteem, with wines across their whole range enjoying plaudits from many of the worlds most respected critics. They certainly made an impression on our Manager, Robbie, who visited the winery (and it's famous pyramid, pictured below) during a 2013 study trip. Here is team Aberdeen's pick of the bunch:

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Mendoza - £9.74

Site selection is key for this wine, with the Cabernet reaching perfect levels of ripeness whilst not seeming overblown or showy. Fresh picked blackcurrant, concentrated cassis and pungent spice highlight the palate of this robust and complex Cab. Outstanding value, an American or Australian Cab of this quality would undoubtedly set you back considerably more than a tenner. With the weather taking a decidedly cooler turn, I'd recommend trying this out with haggis, neeps and tatties!

Catena Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2013, Mendoza - £9.74

Another Estate Selection that offers stupendous value, this is a Chardonnay that marries the vivacious tropical fruit associated with New World Chardonnay with the elegance of a White Burgundy. Ripe mango and peach, butterscotch and vanilla give the wine a lovely, indulgent feel, whilst well-judged acidity and a refreshing balance and length.

Catena Alta Chardonnay 2011, Mendoza - £18

From a select rows of the Adrianna Vineyard, located 1.5km above sea level, the Catena Alta Chardonnay is a truly miraculous wine. Generally speaking, I steer well clear of Chardonnay's with 14%+ abv for fear of their tasting too much like milkshake. The Catena Alta has shown me the error of my ways; richly full bodied with cascades of tropical fruit whilst retaining mineral complexity, it packs a serious punch whilst being remarkably light on its feet. Think Mike Tyson crossed with Darcey Bussell!

Nicolas Catena Zapata 2009, Mendoza - £60

The icon wine that put Catena, and Argentina on the map, the Nicolas Catena Zapata is the greatest example of a Cabernet/Malbec blend on earth! The power, depth and complexity are off the charts. A myriad of flavours are evident - every black fruit you can think of with toasty, smoky, resinous spice notes and hints of fresh ground coffee to boot - this wine is spectacular now and will continue to improve for at least a decade. Whilst £60 may seem steep for a South American wine, bear in mind that with 4 scores of 98/100 in the last 5 Wine Advocate reviews, the Zapata has gone toe-to-toe with Chateaux Lafite and Mouton Rothschild (release prices usually well north of £500)!

[The Catena Zapata and Catena Alta are both stored in our temperature controlled warehouse in London. If you would like to order these or any other fine wines, please call us on 01224 684 487 and we can make suitable arrangements]

Fine Wine of the Month: Domaine Chante-Perdrix Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011Date published: 21/08/14

Fine Wine of the Month: Domaine Chante-Perdrix Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011

Heady blackberry and garrigue herb characters leap out of the glass, an intoxicating perfume. The palate is rich and sumptuous with dense, jammy cherry fruit, luxurious full body and a lifted, spicy finish. An indulgent and fruit forward style, the Chante-Perdrix handles its high levels of alcohol with grace and poise; the sign of a top drawer wine. Having been served it blind, I was stunned to hear that it was 15.5% abv!

The consensus here at Majestic Wine Aberdeen is that summer is over. Get ready for brown leaves, harvest festivals and interminable drizzle. It's not all bad though, as the weather gets increasingly lousy and the nights draw in, we're presented with ample opportunity to guzzle on gutsy, warming full-bodied reds. So long Sauvignon Blanc, hello Chateauneuf-du-Pape!

Chateauneuf is a town in the sun drenched Southern Rhone Valley and the wines that hail from their are frequently the richest and fullest wines in France. Predominantly Grenache, Chateauneuf can be made from up to 13 varieties (15 if you count different colours) which explains the broad range of styles available.

A wine as potent as this merits hearty warming fair. Try with Toulouse Sausage Cassoulet; the spiciness of the sausage and the wine compliment each other perfectly!

£22.00

Wine of the Week: The Ned Pinot GrigioDate published: 21/08/14

Wine of the Week: The Ned Pinot Grigio - £9.34

A delicate copper hue to the wine alludes to the pink/grey colour of the Pinot Grigio grape skins. The nose is a beguiling mix of orange blossom, white peach and Iberian pear with a hint of ginger spice adding complexity. A richly textured wine, the fruit lead character helps the wine remain refreshing whilst a moderate level of residual sugar adds a sense of lushness.

If you shop at Majestic on a regular basis, it's pretty likely that you've come in to contact with the Ned Sauvignon Blanc, our reigning top seller. Under the same brand, Marisco also produce a Pinot Grigio, which is rapidly catching its sibling in our sales figures and there's no mystery as to why; it's a vibrant, characterful and food friendly wine available for a reasonable price!

The Ned is made in a style more commonly associated with Alsace Pinot Gris (Gris is French for Grey, as Grigio is in Italian) with a slightly richer texture and generous, rounded fruit.

The viscosity of the wine makes it an ideal pair for lightly spiced dishes and it's floral character very nicely mirrors the flavours commonly associated with Thai cuisine. To my mind, there isn't a better wine pair to Shrimp Pad Thai in all the land!

Southern Burgundy Focus: Montagny and BeaujolaisDate published: 18/08/14

Burgundy is, in the eyes of many, the source of the worlds finest wines. It is certainly home to its most expensive, with many wines from the famed Cote d'Or region easily fetching four figures. For those of us without a sovereign wealth fund to tap in to, there are still areas of Burgundy where outstanding wines can be found at a reasonable price. Generally speaking, the best value resides in the southern regions of Beaujolais, the Maconnais and the Cote Chalonaise with several producers producing wines that, from another village may cost twice as much.


Montagny Premier Cru 'Les Millieres' 2009 - Cave de Vignernons de Buxy - £9.74

Produced by a cave cooperative (a group of grape growers who share a winery) this wine is made from grapes taken from the most favourable slopes in Montagny in the Cote Chalonnaise. A delicious, fresh Chardonnay which has been fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks to preserve the pure peach, pear and acacia aromas. Soft and rich on the palate. Enjoy with cold cuts of ham, this is a genuine bargain not to be missed!

Brouilly 2012 Domaine des Maisons Neuves - £9.99

People often dismiss Beaujolais wine as light and tasting of bubblegum; a challenge that can be leveled at the Nouveau styles that were ubiquitous in the 1980s (now only really popular in Japan)  but which does the more serious wines eerging from the region today a real disservice. To pick out a superior Beaujolais, look out for village names like Julienas, Morgon, Fleurie or, as we have here, Brouilly. These villages are recognised as superior regions for the Gamay grape, from which Beaujolais is made. A deep coloured wine, showing great finesse and fruit intensity. The nose gives powerful aromas of ripe berry and currant notes. The palate shows soft tannins and a balanced acidity on the finish. Perfect with Tuna Carpaccio.

Wine of the Week: Amalya de Colome 2013, Argentina - £7.99Date published: 18/08/14

Wine of the Week:

Amalaya de Colomé Malbec Blend 2013 Salta


This luscious Malbec blend has a rich ruby colour and typical dark fruit characteristics . On the nose there is a burst of spice, oak and red currant, and on the palate there is a more sweeter spice such as vanilla and dark cherries. Although predominately Malbec, the addition of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Tannat produce an exciting wine which has balance, acidity, medium tannins and an intense flavour. This intense flavour comes from the extreme conditions such as high altitude (up to 3,000 metres high) , which produces above average acidity creating a well balanced and interesting wine.


Amalaya de Colomé is one of the oldest wineries in Argentina, celebrating its 180th anniversary this year. It produces over half a million litres of wine a year and it exports to over 25 countries. It is home to some of the highest vineyards sitting between 2300-3111 meters above sea level and is located in the Upper Calchaqui Valleys in Salta.


This wine is a perfect BBQ wine and goes great with some char grilled lamb.


£7.99


Wine Course Dates Summer 2014Date published: 11/07/14

Wine Course Dates Summer 2014

We're hosting three free Wine Courses – a 90 minute introduction to wine tasting & food pairing (with lots of tasting samples!)- at the Aberdeen store on Great Northern Road  during July, August & September. The dates are as follows:

Thursday 31st July 6:30pm

Thursday 7th August 6:30pm

Thursday 21st August 6:30pm

Monday 4th August 6:00pm


Due to limited spaces on each course, we require an RSVP. To book please call 01224 684 487, drop us an email at abe@majestic.co.uk, tweet us at @majesticabe and let us know next time you're in store. 


Producer Focus - Marisco: Beyond 'The NedDate published: 18/06/14

Producer Focus

Marisco: Beyond 'The Ned'

Majestic Wine and Brent Marris have had a long and fruitful relationship. Before founding Marisco, Marris was winemaker at Oyster Bay and Wither Hills, two standout brands from Majestic's past and present. It is since establishing Marisco however, that things have really taken off, with The Ned Sauvignon Blanc reaching unprecedented levels of popularity. With its vibrant gooseberry fruit, bright acidity and heady tropical aromas it typifies what the British consumer loves about Kiwi Savvy and its popularity comes as no surprise.

With that said, the strengths of Marisco do extend beyond Sauvignon and their exciting range of Wines reflect the exciting diversity of styles emerging from New Zealand. Here is out pick of the bunch:

The King's Thorn Pinot Gris 2013 - £9.99

'The King's' series of wines allude to the de Marisco (Marris' ancestors) often tempestuous relationship to the English monarchy in the 12th and 13th centuries. The King's Thorn is a superb example of Kiwi Pinot Gris, with great texture, orchard and stone fruit flavours and lovely delicate floral aromas. It's viscosity and perfume makes it an ideal partner for lightly spiced Thai and Indonesian dishes.

The King's Favour Sauvignon Blanc 2012 - £9.99

The pre-eminent grape of Marlborough (hence the Favour) this is a wine I generally refer to as 'The Ned's big brother' and offers outstanding value. With the potency that one would associate with Marlborough but the finesse of Sancerre, this is a really classy wine. Citrus and gooseberry fruits are given focus by precise and linear acidity. Half the price of Cloudy Bay, it can easily hold it's own against that New Zealand icon.

The Ned Pinot Noir 2013 - £9.99

Pinot is on the rise in Marlborough with cooler sites away from the coast offering ideal growing conditions. The 'Red Ned' sees 9 months ageing in French oak barrels which imparts a smoky, savoury dimension to it's generous red berry fruit. At its best with chicken.


Wine of the Week: The King's Legacy Chardonnay 2011Date published: 06/06/14

Wine of the Week

The King's Legacy Chardonnay 2011, Marlborough - £9.99

Bright with golden glints, aromas of toffee apple, vanilla spice and peach leap out of the glass. The palate is smooth and full with acidity providing freshness. Nectarine fruit and buttered toast emerge on the finish, which is long and lingering.

Marisco has long been one of our favourite producers, with the Ned Sauvignon Blanc being our long standing best seller. The King's series represents a step up from the estate level wines, with The King's Favour (Sauvignon Blanc), King's Thorn (Pinot Gris) and King's Legacy (Chardonnay) each receiving international acclaim. The Legacy is sourced from old vines in Marlborough's Wairau valley which provide fruit with remarkable potency. Ageing in large oak casks allows for a subtler wood profile, leading to a classy and balanced wine.

Fresh but with full texture, try alongside duck and ham hock terrine and pickled mushrooms!


Champagne Deals!Date published: 06/06/14

Champagne Deals!

With June being our busiest non-festive month, it's typically a time of year when we see the greatest degree of strong deals. This is rarely more true than it is with Champagne, with some absolutely sensational prices being introduced across our range of the world's most glamorous wine!

Heidseick & Co. Monopole Brut NV - £14.99

Getting a grand marque Champagne for under £15 seemed like a thing of the past, so this deal is really impressive. Heidsieck, founded in 1785, has long been associated with a heavier style of non vintage champagne due to a high proportion of pinot noir in the blend. As such, the fruit, notably russet apples, manages to be both full textured and refreshing.

Taittinger Brut Nv - £25.00

One of Champagne's most recognisable labels, Taittinger has long beguiled drinkers with its poise, elegance and the floral depth to it's fruit. Hints of white fruits and citrus meld seamlessly with and vibrant yet retrained mousse. A slight honeyed quality on the finish adds depth but is subtle enough for the wine to retain its trademark finesse.

Ruinart Blanc de Blanc NV £41.66

The oldest Champagne house still in existence, Ruinart has long held an outstanding reputation for its Chardonnay dominated wines. A Champagne made exclusively from Chardonnay is referred to as blanc de blancs, and these are often the most elegant in style. A ceeamy vibrant texture, pure acidity and delicate floral aromas make for an incredibly satisfying and fresh wine, perfect to pair with oyster whilst enjoying a long summer evening!


Sensational Summer Deals!Date published: 02/06/14

Sensational Summer Deals!

With June now upon us, Summer has officially started. That mean we can look forward to a month of Sun (in theory), Wimbledon and the World Cup as well as some outstanding deals from Majestic. We've arranged our pick of the 40 or so of the best deals right by our front door so that you're figuratively hit in the face by value as soon as you walk in. Pop by or have a browse on majestic.co.uk (free delivery, of course) and load up for what will hopefully be a long, hot summer!

Wine of the Week: Vina Ardanza Rioja Reserva 2005 - £19Date published: 01/06/14

Wine of the Week: Vina Ardanza Rioja Reserva 2005 - £19

We've got a pretty special Fine Wine as our wine of the week this week, the Ardanza Reserva 2005. It is produced by Bodega la Rioja Alta, one of Rioja's most respected properties. As they own the majority of the vineyards used for production (which is unusual for Rioja) the Bodega can have a greater degree of quality control. Vina Ardanza is produced in only the finest vintages, with 2005 being regareded alongside 2004 and 2001 as the greatest in the last 20 years. The wine is produced very traditionally, with over three years barrel ageing for the 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha that constitute the blend. The excellent vintage has provided sufficient power of fruit to balance the intense sweet spice character that result from ageing in American Oak.

Dark ruby red with an orange tint on the rim. Intense and lively on the nose, with spicy and balsamic aromas, scents of vanilla, coconut shells and black pepper with undertones of blackberries. Well-structured on the palate, perfectly balanced in acidity and alcohol content, with soft and silky tannins. The long aftertaste displays flavours of fresh blackberries along with spicy woody notes.

Potent yet elegant, the Ardanza makes a perfect partner for barbequed lamb.

Sparkling Saturday: Berlucchi Cuvée Imperiale NV, Franciacorta - £14.99Date published: 24/05/14

Sparkling Saturday: Berlucchi Cuvée Imperiale NV, Franciacorta - £14.99

Berlucchi is the leading producer in Franciacorta, the region of Lombardy famed for its sparkling wine. In contrast to the now more famous Prosecco, Franciacorta is made using the traditional method of sparkling wine production used in Champagne. As a result, it bears far greater similarity to Champagne, elegant in texture with great depth and complexity. The grape blend is lead by Chardonnay, which brings a delicate orchard fruit profile with hints of lemon.

A great value alternative to Champagne and a sophisticated alternative to Prosecco, Franciacorta is a superb option for any celebration. It really shows well with fresh shellfish.

Wine of the Week: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2013, Monte Schiavo - £6.74Date published: 22/05/14

Wine of the Week: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2013, Monte Schiavo - £6.74

Plae and elegant, the wine displays a broad array of fruity aromas, with both citrus and orchard fruit prominent. The palate manages to be bright and refreshing whilst retaining a rounded, smooth texture. Lemon and pineapple fruit carry the day, softened by a floral, blossom component.

Verdicchio, often lost in the shuffle of the myriad of indigenous Italian varieties is capable of producing wines in a wide array of styles, from sparkling to sweet passito styles. in my opinion however, it is at it's best when crafted in to light, fresh and elegant dry whites as we see here from Monte Schiavo. Produced from a cooperative of some 35 local growers based in Castelli on the Adriatic coast, this wine is a prime example in the meteoric rise in quality of Italian wine from some of the country's less heralded spots.

Given the soft, delicate nature of this wine, it makes a perfect summer aperitif. For those of you who enjioy raw fish, try with Tilapia Carpaccio!

Sparkling Saturday: l'Extra par Langlois Brut NVDate published: 17/05/14

Sparkling Saturday: l'Extra par Langlois Brut NV

An offering from the Bollinger Family Group, arguably the most prestigious Champagne House, this is a cremant de Loire. Using the classic Loire variety of Chenin Blanc blended with Chardonnay for a light, elegant style similar to Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Made to the exacting standards of the Bollinger family, the wine undergoes lengthy aging which imbues a rich buscuity quality to the wine. Lead by light orchard and citrus fruit and a hint of shortbread on the close.

Mud House Sauvignon Blanc: The New Ned?Date published: 14/05/14

Mud House Sauvignon Blanc: The New Ned?

Today marks the arrival in to Majestic Wine Aberdeen of the Mud House Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 amid murmurs that this could be the wine to go toe to toe with the legendary Ned Sauvignon Blanc for the title of Majestic's top seller. Now this is a very bold claim, the Ned has become iconic at Majestic thanks to its outrageously vibrant fruit and is in no small part responsible for keeping yours truly gainfully employed.

Rather than seeing it as a rival to the Ned, I'd say that the Mud House is the perfect complement; a cracking drop at a cracking price - £6.66 (I'm resisting the temptation to crack any 'dirt cheap' gags) which offers yet more choice to our fantastic range of Kiwi wines.

We popped a bottle straight in to the freezer and have it chilled and open to try on our in store tasting counter. Initial reactions have been overwhelmingly positive and it's no mystery as to why. Bearing all of the hallmarks of high end Marlborough Savvy, lively citrus and tropical fruit, hints of green herbs and a liberal splash of gooseberry, the Mud House should be a staple of everybody's fridge this summer!

Wine of the Week : La Chapelle Rose 2013, Chateau PigoudetDate published: 13/05/14

Wine of the Week : La Chapelle Rose 2013, Chateau Pigoudet

Displaying all the characteristics that have made Provencal rose so popular, the latest release from Chateau Pigoudet is the perfect summer drink. A pale, elegant salmon-pink, notes of (appropriately) Pink-Lady apples, strawberries and nectarines are evident on the nose. Bright acidity, vibrant fruit and a surprisingly creamy texture combine seamlessly on the palate to provide a wine that is both mellow and refreshing. Perfect for lazy summer afternoons!

Chateau Pigoudet is one of the leading producers in the Coteaux d'Aix-en Provence, in the far South East of the Provence department. Cooling ocean breezes help grapes retain their acidity, fruit and perfume.


Producer Focus – ViñalbaDate published: 12/05/14

Producer Focus – Viñalba

Producer Information

Vinalba's eclectic range of wines showcase the depth and elegance that Argentina offers. Launched in 2008, Viñalba has already won 117 medals, including 11 trophies in the industry's top competitions, e.g. International Wines and Spirits Quality Award 2010. Made by one of Argentina's most respected winemakers, Bordeaux born Hervé J. Fabre, Viñalba offers a range of beautifully crafted wines, combining Argentina's purity of fruit and clear varietal expression with the elegance and complexity that expresses the local terroir.


Viñalba Selección Torrontés 2012 Lujan de Cuyo £8.24

The aromatic Torrontes grape is Argentina's signature white variety, as it produces bright and perfumed white wines. Bursting with ripeness, the nose is a cascade of tropical fruit and blossom aromas. Lively flavours of white peach, melon, pear and pineapple provide a refreshing and involving palate sensation.


Viñalba Fifty 50 2012 Uco Valley £7.99

Hervé made his name from Malbec, having been the first to make a single-varietal Malbec in Argentina, but his Bordeaux roots have influenced this wine with the addition of the Bordeaux-sourced Cabernet Sauvignon. Full-bodied, intense and vibrant with a juicy damson and blackcurrant backbone characterising both the nose and palate. The toasty oak influence adds complexity. A perfect match for a juicy stake or hearty casserole.


Viñalba Gran Reservado Malbec 2011 Mendoza £13.59

The flagship wine in the Viñalba range, with a plethora of awards recognising its excellence. Hand-picked grapes from old vines ensure stunning quality. A generous nose of warm plum-pudding-like fruit, lifted by soft vanilla and flower petal notes. The tannins are muscular, yet smooth and voluptuous, providing a blockbusting mouthfeel and long finish.


Fine Wine of the Month: Brunello di Montalcino 2009, Gianni BrunelliDate published: 10/05/14

Fine Wine of the Month: Brunello di Montalcino 2009, Gianni Brunelli - £30

Brunello di Montalcino is arguably Italy's most celebrated wine and certainly the source of Tuscany's most enduring reds. Made from 100% Sangiovese (also notable as the dominant variety in Chianti), Brunello's are famed for their their depth, power and acidity and can be formidable in their youth. Montalcino has the warmest and driest climate in Tuscany, and the Sangiovese grapes ripen the most consistently here.

Gianni Brunelli passed away in 2008 and the estate is now run by his wife Laura. The 2009 vintage, the first without Gianni's involvement has proven to a great success receiving strong reviews from critics including 91/100 from the Wine Advocate.

Built to last, the 2009 possesses ample body, tannin and acidity. Still in its youth, the nose is dominated by red and black fruit with hints of cinnamon and orange peel. With time, mature, savoury flavours of herbs and tobacco well emerge as the tannins soften. A bold an powerful wine, try with robust foods like oven roasted shoulder of wild boar.

The Parcel SeriesDate published: 09/05/14

The Parcel Series

This is a collection of wines acquired in bulk by Majestic and from various producers and marketed under the 'Parcel Series' label. Many of the wines are 'declassified' wine from some of the most prestigious producers in their respective regions and represent excellent value, often being priced at a fraction of what they would be under their original label. Here are three current standouts from the current crop:

The Parcel Series Shiraz Reserve 2012, Western Cape South Africa - £5.99

Sourced from the preeminent winery in Stellenbosch, the heart of South African wine country, this wine represents incredible value. A deep, dense and powerful Shiraz with cascades of black fruit and a spicy, peppery finish this should be a fixture for all summer barbeques as it is the perfect partner for char-grilled meats.

The Parcel Series Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc - Western Cape South Africa £6.66

This Bordeaux blend from South Africa is a real find for Majestic. From a celebrated estate in Stellenbosh, no expense is spared in production, with new and seasoned barrels used for aging and all fruit being hand harvested. The warm, dry climate moderated by ocean breezes helps minimize vine diseases and the estate is farmed organically. A plush array of blackcurrant fruit is supported by ripe acidity and smooth, earthy tannins. An ideal partner for Sunday roast lamb.

The Parcel Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Maipo Valley, Chile - £7.33

The Maipo Valley in Chile is arguably the most celebrated region for red wine in all of South America with its producers earning renown for the powerful, rich Cabernet Sauvignon based wines. A brooding wine with full body and pure black fruit, elegantly counterbalanced with oak notes of smoke and spice this can stand up to as robust a food as one can conceive. Try with Roasted saddle of Venison.

Weekly Wine Showdown Round 3 UpdateDate published: 06/05/14

Weekly Wine Showdown Round 3 Update

What a difference two days makes. At the close of play on Saturday, my pick Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (£8.99) was sitting pretty, having built a 6-3 lead over Mark's choice Undurraga Terroir Hunter Pinot Noir 2011 (£15.99). I enjoyed my days off happy in the knowledge that I would be returning to claim the series lead and bragging rights.

A pair of smug texts from Mark should have warned me of what was coming, but returning to see the quite staggering comeback - Undurraga 14 Los Vascos 8 completely blindsided me!

Upon reflection, this comeback is altogether a surprise. The Undurraga, whose palate was dominated by oak notes when freshly opened on Saturday, has benefited from some breathing time. It has opened up magnificently, with slightly smoky spicy notes melding wonderfully with the fresh raspberry fruit, all buoyed by refreshing acidity. On the other hand, the characteristics that that made the Los Vascos so attractive upon initial tasting - vibrant blackberry and blueberry fruit have begun to fade.

Congratulations to Mark, roll on Round 4!

Weekly Wine Showdown Round 3: 'It's Getting Chile in Here!Date published: 02/05/14

Weekly Wine Showdown Round 3: 'It's Getting Chile in Here!'

In honour of the Chilean Tasting Week (and Saturday's 3pm Spotlight Tasting Tutorial) we've themed our choices around the wines of Chile. Here are our picks:


James' Pick - Los Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 - £8.99

I'm not going to deny the importance of this round. After a long layoff (It's taken Mark a couple of months of therapy and girlish crying to recover from his annihilation at the St Valentwine's Day Massacre)  and with our big showdown less than a week away (see last post), I could really use some momentum. As such, when in doubt, go with familiarity and pedigree. I'm an unabashed Cabernet lover and believe that it form the backbone of many of the World's greatest reds in the form of claret. Throw in that the producer, Domaine Barons de Rothschild are behind arguably the most prestigious Bordeaux of all: Chateau Lafite and you've got a strong start. The wine is made to the highest standards and it really shows: Ripe Blackberry and Blueberry aromas on the nose with a juicy and tight-knit palate, fantastic length and a pleasant warmth to the finish. This a sleek and elegant wine and perfectly crafted. Beat that Mark

#teamjames

Mark's Pick - Undurraga Terroir Hunter Pinot Noir 2011 £15.99

At a score of 1-1, all is to play for.  I'm not going to lie that tears were shed after my last defeat.  It's not how hard you get hit, it's how you pick yourself up after being hit, and this round is for the taking by the underdog #teammark.  Instead of picking a bold, aggressive wine, I have opted for my all time favourite red grape, the sensual, seductive Pinot Noir.  Bursting aromas of mouthwatering, fresh red fruit balanced with woodsmoke from time maturing in oak barrels.  The grapes are hand picked, ensuring optimal physiological ripeness and excellent quality fruit.  The wine has been minimally treated to retain optimum quality.  Instead of being full-bodied and overpowering, this wine offers smooth, velvety tannins, bracing acidity and a tight structure, making it elegant, sophisticated and a definite winner.

#teammark

The Return of the Weekly Wine Showdown!Date published: 01/05/14

The Return of the Weekly Wine Showdown!

After a holiday and rota induced hiatus for the James vs Mark Weekly Wine Showdown, we're returning in style with the arrival of a Chilean tasting week. To correspond to this we're officially going with 'It's getting Chile in Here' as our theme for choosing the wines and make no apologies for our cringe-worthy wordplay.

Following this, we'll be conducting a one-night spectacular at the Majestic Wine Aberdeen Summer Tasting Evening to decide the Champion! It's being held at the store on Great Northern Road at 6:30pm on Thursday 8th May. Give us a call (01224 684 487) or drop us an email (abe@majestic.co.uk) to reserve a spot and enjoy the show!

Wine of the Week - Clos du Bois Pinot Noir 2011Date published: 23/04/14

Wine of the Week

Clos du Bois Pinot Noir 2011


A lush, fruit-driven Pinot Noir, made in California's trademark style. Strawberry and cherry fruit are accompanied by hints of lavender and forest floor, supported by silky tannins. The careful oak maturation gives the wine excellent body with the medium acidity carrying through to the long, elegant finish.


If you've ever chatted with me you will know how much I love Pinot Noir and in my opinion this wine offers an excellent value alternative to similarly priced wines from Burgundy. Sometimes it's difficult to appreciate just how young the wine industry in California is, with the explosion of growth in quality and quantity happening as late as the 1960s. Clos du Bois have almost 800 acres of vineyards throughout Sonoma County and the coastal regions of California, where the wines have a high and growing reputation. The cool ocean breezes and morning fog ensure excellent conditions for Pinot Noir to ripen and produce quality fruit. Drink with slow-roasted pork shoulder or goose and you won't be disappointed.


Mark

Only £9.74


Last Day of Deals!Date published: 21/04/14

Last Day of Deals!

Today marks the last day for several cracking short term deals. Make the most of them whilst you can!

Rioja Resrva 2009, CVNE - Was £13.99, now £9.33

Balance and precision are the hallmarks of this Rioja Reserva from CVNE (pronounced coo-nay as a result of an early mispelling cune), a venerable winery based in Haro. The vibrant bramble fruit is perfectly complemented by notes of vanilla, nutmeg and hints of woodsmoke from barrel ageing. A classic partner to spring lamb.

LFE Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2013 - Was £8.99, now £7.33

Another outstanding wine from Luis Felipe Edwards, Chile's preeminent family-owned winery. Lovely orchard and stone fruit flavours combine with a rich texture for a remarkably versatile wine, as at home as a pre-dinner aperitif as it is with oven roasted salmon. Judicious use of oak has added a creamy, butterscotch character to the finish.

Montagny Vielles Vignes 2010, Buxy - Was £9.99, now £7.49

Recently lauded on Saturday kitchen, the 2010 Montagny is an elegant and versatile white wine. A riper alternative to Chablis, delicate lemon crud aromas mingle with beguiling hints of white flowers on the nose. The palate is soft yet refreshing, with a pleasing roundness married to steely acidity. Perfect with smoked salmon and dill rillette.

Prosecco Corte Alta NV, Was £8.49, Now £6.66

A refreshing and fruit-driven sparkler, with a vibrant mousse, lively pear and apple notes and a lingering finish. A lovely aperitif on its own, combine with Aperol or Creme de Cassis for a simple and delicious cocktail.


Sparkling Saturday: Bouvet Ladubay Saumur BrutDate published: 19/04/14

Sparkling Saturday: Bouvet Ladubay Saumur Brut - £8.99

Fruity notes and floral aromatics on the nose. Fine and persistent bubbles form a delicate mousse. Honeysuckle, acacia and bruised apples on the palate with the slightest biscuity hint. Very elegant, the characteristic acidity of Chenin Blanc adds freshness and length.

The second oldest sparkling wine producer from Saumur in the Loire, Bouvet Ladubay is made by the traditional Champagne method, but from Chenin Blanc grapes. Of excellent quality, the lack of brand recognition for the region has ensured excellent value for its wines.

The crisp acidity and fine bubbles make an excellent textural partner for cod and chips, with the wine cutting through the rich, indulgent batter.

Web Exclusive Parcel: Gerard Bertrand Cigalus Case £96Date published: 16/04/14

Web Exclusive Parcel: Gerard Bertrand Cigalus Case £96

Today marks the release of a limited edition web exclusive parcel. From one of Majestic's old friends (also proprietor of his eponymous European Winery of the Year, former star international rugby player and all-round good guy), Gerard Bertrand, the Cigalus estate is the jewel in his portfolio of vineyards spread across the Languedoc Roussillon.

The unusual white blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier is 70% oak-fermented before reblending and oak ageing to create a complex wine with a delicious honeyed character - perfect with soft cheeses. 

The red, is the second red wine from the 'indomitable' Cigalus estate. The six varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon & Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache and Carignan) are vinified separately before being blended and matured in new oak. Complement the wine's spicy notes and hints of truffle with roast lamb. 

The wines will be delivered to us direct from the winery at the beginning of May, so you can expect them to arrive with you mid-May.

Available as a mixed case of three reds and three whites for £96 this is one not to be missed!

Wine of the Week: Tournelles VoluptabilisDate published: 16/04/14

Wine of the Week

Tournelles Voluptabilis 2010, Buzet

A deep, brick hue indicates this wine is reaching peak maturity. A faint whiff of cocoa accompanies the smoky blackberry fruit. The palate is round and generous with juicy tannins and refreshing acidity. Tasted blind, this could easily be mistaken for a Cru Bourgeois! Try with lamb roaseted with garlic and thyme.

Buzet is located near Bergerac to the south of the Bordeaux region. Taking inspirtation from the Bordelais, Buzet reds are principally made from blends of Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec (here known as Côt). The weather is often a little less dependable here and wines are priced accordingly. However, in favourable vintages such as 2010, the gap is considerably narrower and the wines offer superb value. Grab it while you can!

£6.66


Wine of the Week - Petalos Bierzo 2011Date published: 12/04/14

Wine of the Week

Petalos Bierzo 2011


This award winning wine has a broad spectrum of aromas that gradually emanate from the glass, with blackcurrant and cherry being joined by savoury clove and liquorice notes. The palate offers a generous mouthful, with flavours of black cherry and raspberry, and smooth yet muscular tannins. The fruit intensity is balanced with natural high acidity and a long, drying finish.

Mencía has only recently come into spotlight as a quality, potential-laden grape variety and the Bierzo region is showcasing some excellent examples of this type of wine. Young winemakers have adopted better vineyard and winery practices to produce more concentrated and complex wines, taking advantage of old vines that produce excellent quality of fruit.


Be a part of the latest trend and appreciate the grape that is becoming increasingly popular. Enjoy with full-flavoured pasta dishes, charcuterie and hard cheeses or game.


Only £15.99.


Mark


Easter Weekend opening hoursDate published: 11/04/14

Don't forget to get stocked up for Easter Weekend! Our opening hours are:

Friday 18th April (Good Friday) 10am till 8pm

Saturday 19th April 10am till 7pm

Sunday 20th April (Easter Sunday) Closed

Monday 21st April (Easter Monday) 10am till 5pm

New DealsDate published: 08/04/14

Several enticing offers were introduced today. Here's our picks of the bunch:

LFE Gran Reserva Merlot 2012 - Was £8.99, now £7.33

Rich, dense and decadent blacberry and plum fruit melds seamlessly with delicate clove and cinnamon spice. Ripe and full bodied, soft, fleshy tannins add weight whilst refreshing acidity provides a lingering finish.

LFE Gran Reserva Chardonnay 2013 - Was £8.99, now £7.33

Another outstanding wine from Luis Felipe Edwards, Chile's preeminent family-owned winery. Lovely orchard and stone fruit flavours combine with a rich texture for a remarkably versatile wine, as at home as a pre-dinner aperitif as it is with oven roasted salmon. Judicious use of oak has added a creamy, butterscotch character to the finish.

Rioja Resrva 2009, CVNE - Was £13.99, now £9.33

Balance and precision are the hallmarks of this Rioja Reserva from CVNE (pronounced coo-nay as a result of an early mispelling cune), a venerable winery based in Haro. The vibrant bramble fruit is perfectly complemented by notes of vanilla, nutmeg and hints of woodsmoke from barrel ageing. A classic partner to sping lamb, perfect for dinner on easter sunday!

New in Stock: Chateau Chantalouette 2003Date published: 06/04/14

New in Stock: Chateau Chantalouette 2003

An exciting new addition to our fine wine range, Chateau Chantaloutte is the second wine of Chateau de Sales, the largest producer in Pomerol on Bordeaux's Right Bank. Having previously stocked the 2007 vintage, which was exceptionally well received, we've delved deeper in to the producer's cellar to bring you the 2003.

2003 was a summer of extreme heat, bringing about wines with exceptional richness and opulence. The 2003 compares favourably with the 2007, with a fleshier texture, ripe dark berry notes and dense, juicy tannins. Now square in it's drinking window, signs of maturity are manifesting in the form of earthy hints on the mid palate and a smooth, rich finish. Perfect with Sunday roast lamb and if there's any left afterwards, crack out some mature hard chesses to polish of the bottle!

£19.00

Wine of the Week - Torre Aldea Rioja Gran Reserva 2005Date published: 05/04/14

Wine of the Week

Torre Aldea Rioja Gran Reserva 2005


This multi-award winning wine is a lovely, clean, fresh example, with classic strawberry fruit of 'real' Rioja.  Deep ruby with terracotta reflections, aromas of raisins, vanilla, leather and chocolate leap from the glass. Remarkably complex, the dried red fruit flavours combine with sweet spice and toasted wheat notes to result in a bouquet that is reminiscent of Special K® Red Berries

The Rioja region has been transformed in recent years, with the addition of new, quality-conscious producers to the list of older, family-owned bodegas. Gran Reservas are only produced in exceptional vintages and 2005 was rated the top classification of excelente.  These wines must be aged for a minimum of 5 years, of which 2 must be spent in barrel. This extensive period of ageing is partly responsible for the incredible complexity and tertiary aromas of vanilla and toast offered by this wine.  Enjoy with Sunday's finest roast chicken and vegetable dish.

Only £9.99

Spanish Wines Tasting WeekDate published: 04/04/14

Spanish Wines Tasting Week

With an exceptionally large harvest last year (up 41%) Spain has shot past Italy and France to become the world's largest wine producing nation. Output reached 51m hectolitres, the equivalent of over 2,000 50m Olympic swimming pools. It is becoming increasingly evident that it is not just on the Football pitch that Spain is excelling; with growing influence on international fine wine markets, this is not merely a question of quantity, but quality. In honour of this meteoric rise, Majestic is celebrating Spanish wine with a tasting week, with several wines open to try in store and a Saturday afternoon tasting tutorial with our resident Spanish expert, Mark. The tutorial is at 12pm and 3pm at the store on great Northern Road.

Fine Wine of the Month - Reserve de la Comtesse de Lalande 2006, PauillacDate published: 03/04/14

Fine Wine of the Month - Reserve de la Comtesse de Lalande 2006, Pauillac

This wine originates from the left bank of the Garonne river in Bordeaux, from one the most highly rated communes, Pauillac.  Wines from Pauillac have strict rules requiring low maximum yields and specific production methods, which ensures wines of high quality are produced.  It is home to some of the most expensive wines of the world and three of Bordeaux's five first-growth Chateaux:  Lafite Rothschild, Latour, and Mouton Rothschild.

This wine is the second wine of Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, a prominent 'Super Second' producer, famed for its picturesque spires. Designed to be more approachable in its youth, the Comtesse offers great value.

Robert Parker, a highly respected wine critic gave a very positive review of the Reserve de Comtesse:

"The 2006 Reserve de la Comtesse, is a blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, and 9% Petit Verdot.This beautiful, velvety, seductive effort offers sweet black cherry and blackcurrant fruit intermixed with notions of forest floor and roasted herbs. Luscious, fruity, savory, and long, it will provide enjoyment over the next 10-15 years". 89 points. Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate.

Only £37.00.



Easter Offers!Date published: 03/04/14

Easter Offers!

With Easter just around the corner, we've decided to ramp up our offers to get you the best value for the holiday. We'll try to keep any and all egg based puns to an absolute minimum.

Here are our picks of the best offers:

Gavi Montiero 2013 - £5.99

From the town of Gavi in Piedmont, the Montiero is a fine example of one of Italy's most enduring whites. Light, fresh and clean with delicate citrus fruit and a tingling, slightly herby note. Ideal with prawn salad.

DB Reserve Chardonnay 2011, South Eastern Australia - £6.66

Recently named as Jancis Robinson's wine of the week, it's easy to see why this chardy appeals to Britain's first lady of wine. An elegant exception to the (often unfair) stereotype of blousy, overoaked Aussie Chardonnay, the Db reserve benefited from an atypically cool, wet vintage, with much of it's fruit being sourced from superior regions. Fruit forward with hints of peach, the oak is made evident through notes of vanilla and a delicate nuttiness.

Santa Rita 120 Merlot 2012, Chile - £5.99

Delicious berry fruit and spice notes combine for this vibrant wine. Medium bodied, this understated and approachable wine is perfect now that the weather is (in theory) improving. Lovely with a gammon joint.

Wine of the Week: Muga Reserva 2009Date published: 29/03/14

Wine of the Week

Muga Reserva 2009, Rioja

The deeper purple hues of the wine have slowly made way to a dense brick red as the wine approaches maturity. On the nose, blackberry and toast notes are evident but it is the sweet spice aromas of nutmeg, vanilla and clove that allude to this wine's pedigree. The palate is classic Rioja Reserva; an intricate balance between the cinnamon and coconut from two years' oak ageing and the potent berry fruit. Elegant tannins and fine acidity bring length. A true classic.

Muga was founded 1932 and is widely regarded as the protector of Rioja's finest traditions. Wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged for lengthy periods in both oak and bottle.

Well capable of ageing for a decade or more, if you can't resist opening now, this wine really comes in to its own when paired with Lamb. Try with a Moroccan Tajine.

£14.99


Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel - £6.66Date published: 27/03/14

Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel - £6.66

Excuse the pun, but £6.66 is a devilishly good price for this wine!

Ravenswood is the iconic producer of Californain Zinfandel. Lodi, in San Joaquin County is famed as the spiritual home of Californian Zinfandel. Many of the vines here were planted by Italian immigrants who came to America at the start of the twentieth century and actually pre-date Prohinition!

Zinfandel is a clone of the Italian variety Primitivo, which takes particularly well to the warm dry conditions of Puglia and Sicily, which are well approximated by Southern California. In the long, sunny afternoons at Lodi, Zinfandel develops a lovely overt blueberry fruit and sweet spice character. Pure hedonism, supple yet full bodied, fresh acidic structure adds backbone. A grand match for Confit Duck. 


Wine of the Week - Jordan Lemon Grove Chardonnay 2012Date published: 24/03/14

Wine of the Week

Jordan Lemon Grove Chardonnay 2012


This family owned estate based in Stellenbosch was established in 1982 and has transformed to become one of the leading estates in South Africa. The Lemon Grove Chardonnay was fermented and matured in small French oak barriques, expressing the elegance of classic Chardonnay.


Intense, ripe citrus fruit and rich butterscotch flavours are layered with elegant toasty oak. I'd recommend enjoying this wine with a creamy fish pie with a side of mash potatoes.


Mark


Only £12.99


The morning after the Dons parade...Date published: 24/03/14

How did the Dons Parade go yesterday?  Few sore heads this morning?  

As a responsible retailer, as well as recommending some fizz for you yesterday, I feel that it is only right that I recommend our soft drink selection to keep all of you Aberdonians hydrated.

For the ultimate form of hydration, we have both still and sparkling water.  I bet that's sounding great to you just now.

Strathmore Sparkling Water 12x1.5L - only £8.64.
Strathmore Still Water 12x1.5L - only £7.20.

We also sell glass bottles of 1L sparkling and still Strathmore water costing only £10.56 for a pack of 12 bottles.  Perfect for a dinner party.

Other picks of the bunch are:

Belvoir Presse 75cl only £2.45.
Coke Can 30 Pack only £14.99.

Mark



Fizz to help you celebrate the Dons Parade...Date published: 23/03/14

For all of you Aberdonians out celebrating The Dons parade today, why not continue the celebration with some fizz?

We have some cracking deals on sparkling wine just now.  Particular highlights include:

Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial NV £28.98

Perhaps the best known Champagne, there is a reason why it's a multi-award winner.  Vibrant, generous and alluring, the Moët Imperial is distinguished by a bright fruitiness with notes of green apple and white flowers.  It's very crisp and clean with an abundance of citrus fruit on the palate.

Cloudy Bay Pelorus Vintage 2008, New Zealand £17.99

Another well known prestigious brand, the Cloudy Bay Pelorus Vintage really is a match for any Champagne.  Made in the traditional method, like Champagne, the Pelorus offers enticing aromas of apple and citrus fruit, with baked bread, brioche and nutty characteristics. The full, creamy palate leads to an elegant, long finish.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV £37.00

From the maker of Cristal (the champagne that rappers jump about with), the Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV is another multi-award winner.  It is a deliciously rich Champagne, with an overt fruitiness and nutty, yeasty notes. A long, complex and rewarding finish is a hallmark of the house style.


Rose!Date published: 22/03/14

Rose!

The keener meteorologists amongst you may well have noticed a decided upturn in temperatures of late and brief flashes of sunlight between downpours. With daily highs reaching in to double figures I think it's fair to say that it's officially springtime in Aberdeen. To that end, it's time to start talking wine, specifically pink wine. Over the winter months, our rose range goes in to hibernation, contracting substantially. With the onset of warmer weather, the rose section of Majestic Wine Aberdeen is blooming gloriously like a spring daffodil! Here are our picks of the bunch:

Black Cottage Rose 2013, Marlborough - £9.99

Pale salmon pink, this wine has a gentle and attractive nose of ripe red berries and subtle spice. Light and refreshing, the delicate fruit and crisp acidity fade to a clean, dry finish. Try with prawn salad

M de Minuty Rose 2012, Cotes de Provence - £10.99

In its distinctive, ornate bottle, the Minuty is a classic in the Majestic range. Pale honeysuckle pink, and offering a clean nose of citrus fruit, offset by subtle floral and candied notes. Fresh acidity makes for an incisive and lively palate, with a rounded feel.

Pinot Grigio Rose 2012, Cantina Breganze - £6.99

Fresh fruit, such as apricot and peach on the nose; soft floral flavours on the palate and a refreshing, pleasantly smooth finish. Excellent with appetizers, fish dishes, soups and white meat.

Aix Rose 2013, Provence - £19.99/£50 Magnum/Double Magnum

Unashamedly vibrant and summery, with a bright pink colour and a delicate balance of crisp acidity and soft, ripe summer fruit. An award-winning wine from one of the region's largest and most prestigious wineries, Domaine de la Grande Séouve, who have established AIX as perhaps the definitive Provence rosé. Boldly brought to you in  party-ready large bottles!

Wine of the Week: Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhone 2012Date published: 20/03/14

Wine of the Week: Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhone 2012

This week's wine of choice is a real Majestic classic. Chapoutier is one of the most important producers in the Rhone region (and beyond) of France. With plots in many of the most prestigious regions, including Hermitage, Chapoutier wines are Syrah and Grenache par excellence. 

The Belleruche is unusual in the Chapoutier stable in that it is a blend; the vast majority of their wines tend to be varietal expressions. This blend of Grenache and Syrah (what the French name Shiraz) has lashings of ripe red fruit and a lifted spicy finish. It's youthful, fruit forward style makes it a flexible wine to pair with food. I've enjoyed it with barbecued  merguez sausage and beetroot salad. Perfect now that summer is fast approaching!

Wine of the Week - DMZ Chardonnay 2013 De Morgenzon, StellenboschDate published: 14/03/14

Wine of the Week


DMZ Chardonnay 2013 De Morgenzon, Stellenbosch


From a mix of De Morgenzon's estate-grown grapes and grapes sourced from several other local vineyards, this Chardonnay is made using only the free-run juice, partially fermented in French oak, and aged in barrel for 10 months on its lees.


Bright golden colour, with a nose of clean tropical fruit, almonds and sweet vanilla. Peachy fruit on the palate is supported by delicate oak and subtle spice.


Only £8.99

More great offers for a limited time only!Date published: 14/03/14

More great offers for a limited time only!

The following wines are down in price until next Tuesday (18th) so be sure you don't miss out on these customer favourites!

Staff Choice: Rioja Gran Reserva 2004 Viña Eguía only £8.99 (was £13.49)

This wine was the recipient of a Bronze medal in the International Wine Challenge.  Ruby red with medium density and a brick-like rim. The fruit is very mature, exhibiting raisin, prune and caramel notes, accompanied by vanilla, clove and leather. Silky mouth-feel and good length.  Recommended by Mark.

Gavi Montiero 2013 Rocca only £5.99 (was £8.99)

This highly rated DOCG wine is a pale golden colour, with characteristic aromas of lime zest and grapefruit, along with subtle hints of fresh fennel. Bone dry and with moderate acidity, it offers a clean and refreshing finish.  A perfect match with white fish.

Rioja Reserva 2008 Viña Eguía only £6.66 (was £9.99)

Another award winning wine from the Viña Eguía winery.  Beautifully deep ruby coloured, with subtle cedar hints to the rim. The bouquet is an intense mix of dark fruit, toasted oak and clove aromas. The palate has weight yet an elegant profile.



Your favourite Sauvignon Blanc at only £6.99!Date published: 13/03/14

Your favourite Sauvignon Blanc at only £6.99 a bottle!

Yes, that's right, the amazing Ned Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 2013 is on a great offer for a limited time only (until Tuesday 18th March!).

If you are unfamiliar with this wine, it packs plenty of zesty citrus fruit with refreshing acidity and a zingy finish!  You need to try this wine to really appreciate why it is so popular!

At this price, it is literally walking out of the door so make sure that you place an order before next Tuesday to ensure you don't miss out.


Producer Focus – Bodegas MugaDate published: 08/03/14

Producer Focus – Bodegas Muga


Producer Information

Bodegas Muga is located in the historical Barrio de La Estación (railway station district) in Haro. The facilities are two centuries old, built mainly of stone and oak. In fact, oak is paramount in the winery. There are 200 oak deposits as well as 14,000 barrels, made out of different types of European oak.

In Bodegas Muga wines you find both tradition and modernity side by side. They are an exact reflection of very specific climatic and geographic features, and that’s why they have a pronounced personality, or as the French would say, “terroir”.


Rioja Blanco 2013 Muga £9.99

Complex and toasted aromas with fresh, vibrant fruits give way to zesty lime, spicy and vanilla toasted oak flavours, fresh acidity, and a refreshing spicy finish.


Rioja Reserva 2009 Muga £14.99

An enticing and complex nose of pain grille, pencil lead, and blackberry leads into an elegant wine with layers of flavour, fruit and sweet-spice with ripe and integrated tannins and a lengthy finish.


Prada Enea 2005 Muga £30

The attack on the palate is powerful and unctuous, and in just a few seconds we have an intense, lasting feeling of plenitude. However, neither of these is the wine’s most surprising phase. There is a presence of acidity, but a pleasant one, with sweet, smooth tannins and an infinite mineral quality.

Wine of the Week - Bellingham 'The Bernard Series' Viognier 2013 Western CapeDate published: 08/03/14

Wine of the Week - Bellingham 'The Bernard Series' Viognier 2013 Western Cape


Celebrating the legendary maverick founder of Bellingham, Bernard Podlashuk, 'The Bernard Series' is a homage to his efforts in placing South Africa on the wine making map. Hand picked grapes are fermented and aged in one year old French oak with 4% lees contact.

Aromas of peach and oak are evident on the nose.  A very complex palate offers rich layers of fruit with well integrated oak and a long, lingering finish.  Will partner well with delicately flavoured, creamy seafood and poultry dishes.


Only £9.99

Picks of the March Pick 'n' MixDate published: 05/03/14

Picks of the March Pick 'n' Mix

Another month brings another swathe of cracking deals from Majestic wine. With lots of great wines available at fantastic prices, choosing personal favourites has been tough and a rigorous tasting session has left all of us at Majestic Wine Aberdeen rather tired. It's a tough job, but someone needs to do it! Without further ado, here are some of our favourite wines from the March Pick 'n' Mix:

Cloudy Bay Pelorus 2008 - Was £26.99, Now £17.99

Famous for it's Sauvignon Blanc, Cloudy Bay has been expanding its portfolio of wines for some time now, with the Pelorus range of Champagne-style sparkling wines being one of several stalwart additions. Made to the same ageing requirements as vintage champagne and from the same blend of grapes, the 2008 Pelorus is a remarkably effective facsimile for France's most prestigious sparkling wines. Zingy acidity, fresh orchard fruit flavours and a creamy mousse are complimented by a lingering brioche note on the finish. A champagne of similar quality would fetch north of £30, so this is undeniably a real bargain!

Chateau La Vielle Croix 2009, Fronsac - Was £18.99, Now £12.66

Fronsac, the oft overlooked commune on Bordeaux's Right Bank has long been lost in the shadows cast by its more famous neighbours Pomerol and St Emilion. This obscurity has meant that many Fronsac wines represent the best value proposition in Bordeaux. A merlot dominated wine from an outstanding vintage, there is an ample quantity of red fruit, balanced by fruitcake-esque richness and a hint of wild herbs. Close your eyes and you could easily believe you were enjoying a Grand Cru St Emilion at a fraction of the price. Snap it up and enjoy with roast lamb.

Kuhlmann-Platz Pinot Gris 2012, Alsace - Was £9.99, Now £6.66

Made in classic Alsatian off-dry style this is Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio) at it's most open and approachable. Pear and quince fruit flavours and delicate floral finish. A natural partner to soft cheeses, the wine also works well with lightly spiced thai curries.

Beer in Focus: Brooklyn LagerDate published: 01/03/14

Beer In Focus: Brooklyn Lager

Brooklyn Brewery was founded in 1987 and is still based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Co-owner Steve Hindley learned the art of brewing whilst living in the Middle East.

An amber-gold lager displaying a firm malt center with a refreshing bitterness and floral hop aroma. This American original uses the British technique of Dry-hopping in a Viennese-style beer, resulting in a smooth lager that's versatile with food.

ABV - 5.2

Brooklyn Lager (6x355ml) is £9.99


Malbec! Malbec! Malbec! etcDate published: 26/02/14

Malbec! Malbec! Malbec! etc

Just when you thought we'd reached to bottom of our bag of price-busting trick, we bust out another humdinger of an offer, 1/3 (33.3% to the layperson) OFF MALBEC! The mind boggles, does it not?

This is a cracking promotion, with every Argentine Malbec included, from the outstanding value of La Plata Malbec at £4.66 to premium level wines at strikingly reasonable prices, like the Catena Zapata Malbec at £39.98, down from £60. Here are my picks for all of you Malbec aficionados:

Callia Bella Malbec 2012, San Juan - Was £8.99, Now £5.99!

 With this offer, the Callia Bella immediately becomes one of the five best buys in our range. I buy it when it's £8.99 and consider it good value. So for less than £6, this is quite staggering value for money. The fruit is incredibly fresh; blackberry and black cherry most prominent. Fine acidity and plush tannin and a lovely structure.

Catena Malbec 2011, Mendoza - Was £13.99, Now £9.33!

From the Catena Winery, Argentina's foremost Malbec producer, come the Catena Malbec. Also on the fresher side, the blackcurrant fruit is accompanied by a beguiling vanilla spice and hints of nutmeg. Robust but not overwhelming, this is an ideal artner for more robust beef dishes. The classic partner being char-grilled steak.

Luca Malbec 2009, Mendoza - Was £22.99, Now £15.32!

Voluptuous in the extreme, the Luca is the archetype Argentine Malbec. Rich and heady aromas of violets, bramble and tobacco are followed by a palate of incredible depth. Full-bodied in the extreme, partner with braised beef shin on a cold evening!


These deals are on for a limited 6 day period, expiring on Monday 3rd March. Make the most of them whilst you still can. Place any orders via the web (majestic.co.uk), give us a call at the Aberdeen store on 01224 684 487 or come visit us at 976 Great Northern Road!

Free Delivery on All Orders!Date published: 25/02/14

Free Delivery on All Orders!

Our outstanding delivery service is second to none because everything is managed here in Aberdeen, from the moment you order until the moment our Majestic van arrives at your door. We'll give you a call to arrange delivery at a convenient time for you, including evenings and weekends.

Now this remarkable service is free for ANY order of six bottles or more on mainland UK. There's no longer a delivery charge for orders under £40. That means you can choose any wines you like, including our most budget friendly wines under £6(http://www.majestic.co.uk/wines-under-six) and benefit from this unbeatable service. Isn't it time we came to yours?


Wine of the Week: El Rescadato AlbarinDate published: 22/02/14

Wine of the Week: El Rescadato Albarin

A potently aromatic wine; notes of lime, nectarine and lemongrass emanate from the glass. The palate is crisp and fresh. A combination of tangelo, kumquat and sour pear meld with racy acidity and a rounded texture leads to an enduring finish, where an intriguing star-anise note emerges. Remarkably refreshing, this is a fascinating alternative to New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, providing a similar power of fruit under a different guise.

One of Majestic's most esoteric wines, the El Rescadato is made from the grape Albarin. This incredibly rear variety is championed by Professor Pedro Gonzalez Mittlebrun whose 20 hectare estate from which this wine is produced represents a fifth of global plantings.

Whilst one can often pay a premium for more obscure wines, the El Rescadato represents exceptional value with a potency of fruit that few other whites can replicate. A perfect seafood wine, try with a fresh prawn salad of Bouillabaisse, the acidity of the tomato sauce will really bring the power of the fruit in the wine!

£9.99 


February Wine Showdown: Week 2 ResultsDate published: 22/02/14

February Wine Showdown: Week 2 Results

For all of you eagerly following this month's competition, apologies for the delay in the results from week 2, we suffered a few technical difficulties yesterday.

Another week, another nail-biter! After a 6-5 Week 1 victory for Mark, the upstart trainee, this week delivered a similar back an forth, with the lead swapping between we two combatants several times, even on the final day.

In the end however, Love won out. My pick of the Passimento 2012 (£8.99) edged the Domaine Les Yeuses Syrah (£7.99) 9-8. The more velvety, dark cherry character of the Italian squeaked by the more muscular, spicy Southern French red.

Whilst this week's result is certainly a coup for the richer style of red, I believe that it should also serve as a lesson to my opponent. His underhand tactics of character assassination, bullying and intimidation have failed. I have been vindicated in taking the high road; focusing on the merits of my wine rather than slandering my opponent. Hopefully this will spell the end of an ugly chapter in this illustrious competition's history.

We're at the midpoint of proceedings here. With my opponent enjoying a well deserved break from work, we'll be taking a week away from the competition. Expect round three to kick off on Thursday 27th. With scores tied and everything to play for, expect some fireworks!

James

February Wine Showdown, Week 2 UpdateDate published: 15/02/14

February Wine Showdown, Week 2 Update


Tomorrow is the last day of this week's wine showdown and all is to play for.  


#teamjames (Passimento 2011, Pasqua £8.99) has 9 votes.


#teammark (Domaine Les Yeuses 'Les Espices' Syrah 2011 £7.99) has 7 votes.


Remember to vote for your winner.  Our dignity depends on it!

Quiz AnswersDate published: 14/02/14

Here are the answers to this week's quiz on Argentina.  How well did you score?

Q1) The Salta region is renowned for its Torrontes. Which clone of the variety dominates plantings there? (Majestic Wine stocks a fantastic Torrontes from the Lujan de Cuyo region by Vinalba for £9.99).

Answer: Torrontes Riojano.

Q2) Name the grape, also known as Douce Noir, which is the second most planted variety in Argentina. (An excellent example of this is made La Posta Winery and is available from Majestic for £9.99).

Answer: Bonarda.

Q3) The Tannat grape is noted in particular for its high level of anti-oxidants, making it the ideal red for health buffs. Like Malbec, Tannat is a french export. Which french AC is most commonly associated with this grape? (The Finca Las Moras (£7.99) is available for all those wine lovers looking to raise their life expectancy).

Answer: Madiran.


Q4) The Cafayate region of Salta is home to the highest vineyard land in the world. Which valley in Salta boast this vineyard, situated at 3111m? (The Amalaya de Colome (£9.99) red blend demonstrates the remarkable impact altitude has on wine, with intense perfume and freshness).

Answer: Calchaquies Valley.


5) Several major European wineries have invested in the Argentine industry, notably Chateau Cheval Blanc with the Cheval des Andes and LVMH with their Terrazas de los Andes project. Which European wine company is behind the Septimo Dia Winery, located in Mendoza? (Both the Septimo Malbec and Chardonnay are available for £9.99 a bottle).

Answer: Cordoniu.

Argentina - More than just Malbec and steakDate published: 14/02/14

When we think of Argentinian wine, a big, gutsy Malbec usually springs to mind and what better to have with it than a big juicy steak , cooked rare! That match certainly stands up to scrutiny and, whilst its true that a parilla cooked sirloin and large glass of that most famous of Argentine grapes is as textbook a match as it gets, why stop there when there are plenty of other matches that provide equal gratification.

After spending 2 weeks in Argentina last year, my eyes were opened to the real diversity and quality of the produce available and, at the end of our instore Argentine tasting week, I thought I'd share some of my favourite wines and what to eat with them.

Vinalba Reservado Chardonnay (£9.99)

Oh no, not Chardonnay I hear you cry! Wait though, what you probably associate with this, one of the most contentious of grapes, is the over the top oaky blockbuster, most likely from Australia circa 1995 and, I hear you. However, bear in mind that Chardonnay comes in many forms and although it was a brand almost as ubiquitous as Manchested United back in the late 90's, Chardonnay is responsible for some of the most complex, not to mention expensive, whites from Burgundy. In it's unoaked form, Chardonnay provides a really vibrant, pure fruit driven character and this little beauty from Lujan de Cuyo, a sub region of Mendoza, provides proof positive having never seen a day of oak in its life. 

Like most wines from Mendoza, it's all about the acidity. This comes as a result of the high altitude, low average temperatures with cool air coming down at night from The Andes and lots of sunshine during ripening.  The acidity of Vinalba Chardonnay makes it a great match for creamy poultry dishes especially dishes like Chicken a la King, Chicken and Mushroom Pasta or even something a bit lighter like melon. 

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon (£9.99)

For my next recommendation, I've gone with an old favourite. Rich, bold, dark and sumptuous, none of these adjectives describe me but sum up this show stopper, a snip at a mere £9.99!  Cabernet Sauvignon is planted widely in Mendoza, though Malbec tends to get the fame, and this is a great example of that classic varietal, beloved in Bordeaux. Being a full-bodied style of wine, this is clearly a New World Cabernet but the elegance and finesse achieved here bear testament to the importance placed by Catena on soil and micro-climate, terroir as the French would have it!  Their winery (pictured) is pretty iconic too.

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon is, of course, excellent with steak but it'd be equally at home with your Sunday Roast or, for something a bit more off the wall, haggis due to the warm spicy finish.

Ben Marco Malbec, Dominio del Plata (£12.99)

A real highlight of my trip to Argentina was lunch with Susana Balbo of Dominio del Plata, a leading light of the wine trade in Argentina. Dominio del Plata is very much the realisation of a dream for Susana who, after working as a consultant winemaker for many national and international companies (including Catena) for more than 20 years, set up her own winery with a real focus on the quality of the fruit (the grapes are hand picked) as well as creating an individual style for each of the wines produced there.

Ben Marco Malbec has the dark fruit character you'd expect from Malbec but on top of that, you get notes of cherry, vanilla and coffee with firm, sweet tannins on the finish. Like the Catena Cab Sauv, it's a full-bodied, fruit driven style quite different to the more earthy style of its French cousin for which Cahors is known.

We had a fairly relaxed afternoon after what turned out to be a fairly boozy lunch consisting of Empanadas (a South American equivalent to the Cornish Pastie), duck marinated in sweet spices and, of course steak fresh from the parilla. You could also pair this wine with stronger flavours such as wild boar, venison or even Cassoulet, perhaps a nod to the grapes French origins!


These are just a few of my favourites from the Majestic range but the Argentinians are one the biggest consumers of wine in South America and we only really see 20% of what they produce as the rest is consumed domestically. There really is a great wealth of wine being produced in Argentina and, whilst it's true that Mendoza gets a lot of the kudos, Salta, San Juan, La Rioja and Patagonia have some stunning examples too - seek them out, it's worth it!.


Argentina - More than just Malbec and steakDate published: 14/02/14

When we think of Argentinian wine, a big, gutsy Malbec usually springs to mind and what better to have with it than a big juicy steak , cooked rare! That match certainly stands up to scrutiny and, whilst its true that a parilla cooked sirloin and large glass of that most famous of Argentine grapes is as textbook a match as it gets, why stop there when there are plenty of other matches that provide equal gratification.

After spending 2 weeks in Argentina last year, my eyes were opened to the real diversity and quality of the produce available and, at the end of our instore Argentine tasting week, I thought I'd share some of my favourite wines and what to eat with them.

Vinalba Reservado Chardonnay (£9.99)

Oh no, not Chardonnay I hear you cry! Wait though, what you probably associate with this, one of the most contentious of grapes, is the over the top oaky blockbuster, most likely from Australia circa 1995 and, I hear you. However, bear in mind that Chardonnay comes in many forms and although it was a brand almost as ubiquitous as Manchested United back in the late 90's, Chardonnay is responsible for some of the most complex, not to mention expensive, whites from Burgundy. In it's unoaked form, Chardonnay provides a really vibrant, pure fruit driven character and this little beauty from Lujan de Cuyo, a sub region of Mendoza, provides proof positive having never seen a day of oak in its life. 

Like most wines from Mendoza, it's all about the acidity. This comes as a result of the high altitude, low average temperatures with cool air coming down at night from The Andes and lots of sunshine during ripening.  The acidity of Vinalba Chardonnay makes it a great match for creamy poultry dishes especially dishes like Chicken a la King, Chicken and Mushroom Pasta or even something a bit lighter like melon. 

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon (£9.99)

For my next recommendation, I've gone with an old favourite. Rich, bold, dark and sumptuous, none of these adjectives describe me but sum up this show stopper, a snip at a mere £9.99!  Cabernet Sauvignon is planted widely in Mendoza, though Malbec tends to get the fame, and this is a great example of that classic varietal, beloved in Bordeaux. Being a full-bodied style of wine, this is clearly a New World Cabernet but the elegance and finesse achieved here bear testament to the importance placed by Catena on soil and micro-climate, terroir as the French would have it!  Their winery (pictured) is pretty iconic too.

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon is, of course, excellent with steak but it'd be equally at home with your Sunday Roast or, for something a bit more off the wall, haggis due to the warm spicy finish.

Ben Marco Malbec, Dominio del Plata (£12.99)

A real highlight of my trip to Argentina was lunch with Susana Balbo of Dominio del Plata, a leading light of the wine trade in Argentina. Dominio del Plata is very much the realisation of a dream for Susana who, after working as a consultant winemaker for many national and international companies (including Catena) for more than 20 years, set up her own winery with a real focus on the quality of the fruit (the grapes are hand picked) as well as creating an individual style for each of the wines produced there.

Ben Marco Malbec has the dark fruit character you'd expect from Malbec but on top of that, you get notes of cherry, vanilla and coffee with firm, sweet tannins on the finish. Like the Catena Cab Sauv, it's a full-bodied, fruit driven style quite different to the more earthy style of its French cousin for which Cahors is known.

We had a fairly relaxed afternoon after what turned out to be a fairly boozy lunch consisting of Empanadas (a South American equivalent to the Cornish Pastie), duck marinated in sweet spices and, of course steak fresh from the parilla. You could also pair this wine with stronger flavours such as wild boar, venison or even Cassoulet, perhaps a nod to the grapes French origins!


These are just a few of my favourites from the Majestic range but the Argentinians are one the biggest consumers of wine in South America and we only really see 20% of what they produce as the rest is consumed domestically. There really is a great wealth of wine being produced in Argentina and, whilst it's true that Mendoza gets a lot of the kudos, Salta, San Juan, La Rioja and Patagonia have some stunning examples too - seek them out, it's worth it!.


Argentina - More than just Malbec and steakDate published: 14/02/14

When we think of Argentinian wine, a big, gutsy Malbec usually springs to mind and what better to have with it than a big juicy steak , cooked rare! That match certainly stands up to scrutiny and, whilst its true that a parilla cooked sirloin and large glass of that most famous of Argentine grapes is as textbook a match as it gets, why stop there when there are plenty of other matches that provide equal gratification.

After spending 2 weeks in Argentina last year, my eyes were opened to the real diversity and quality of the produce available and, at the end of our instore Argentine tasting week, I thought I'd share some of my favourite wines and what to eat with them.

Vinalba Reservado Chardonnay (£9.99)

Oh no, not Chardonnay I hear you cry! Wait though, what you probably associate with this, one of the most contentious of grapes, is the over the top oaky blockbuster, most likely from Australia circa 1995 and, I hear you. However, bear in mind that Chardonnay comes in many forms and although it was a brand almost as ubiquitous as Manchested United back in the late 90's, Chardonnay is responsible for some of the most complex, not to mention expensive, whites from Burgundy. In it's unoaked form, Chardonnay provides a really vibrant, pure fruit driven character and this little beauty from Lujan de Cuyo, a sub region of Mendoza, provides proof positive having never seen a day of oak in its life. 

Like most wines from Mendoza, it's all about the acidity. This comes as a result of the high altitude, low average temperatures with cool air coming down at night from The Andes and lots of sunshine during ripening.  The acidity of Vinalba Chardonnay makes it a great match for creamy poultry dishes especially dishes like Chicken a la King, Chicken and Mushroom Pasta or even something a bit lighter like melon. 

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon (£9.99)

For my next recommendation, I've gone with an old favourite. Rich, bold, dark and sumptuous, none of these adjectives describe me but sum up this show stopper, a snip at a mere £9.99!  Cabernet Sauvignon is planted widely in Mendoza, though Malbec tends to get the fame, and this is a great example of that classic varietal, beloved in Bordeaux. Being a full-bodied style of wine, this is clearly a New World Cabernet but the elegance and finesse achieved here bear testament to the importance placed by Catena on soil and micro-climate, terroir as the French would have it!  Their winery (pictured) is pretty iconic too.

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon is, of course, excellent with steak but it'd be equally at home with your Sunday Roast or, for something a bit more off the wall, haggis due to the warm spicy finish.

Ben Marco Malbec, Dominio del Plata (£12.99)

A real highlight of my trip to Argentina was lunch with Susana Balbo of Dominio del Plata, a leading light of the wine trade in Argentina. Dominio del Plata is very much the realisation of a dream for Susana who, after working as a consultant winemaker for many national and international companies (including Catena) for more than 20 years, set up her own winery with a real focus on the quality of the fruit (the grapes are hand picked) as well as creating an individual style for each of the wines produced there.

Ben Marco Malbec has the dark fruit character you'd expect from Malbec but on top of that, you get notes of cherry, vanilla and coffee with firm, sweet tannins on the finish. Like the Catena Cab Sauv, it's a full-bodied, fruit driven style quite different to the more earthy style of its French cousin for which Cahors is known.

We had a fairly relaxed afternoon after what turned out to be a fairly boozy lunch consisting of Empanadas (a South American equivalent to the Cornish Pastie), duck marinated in sweet spices and, of course steak fresh from the parilla. You could also pair this wine with stronger flavours such as wild boar, venison or even Cassoulet, perhaps a nod to the grapes French origins!


These are just a few of my favourites from the Majestic range but the Argentinians are one the biggest consumers of wine in South America and we only really see 20% of what they produce as the rest is consumed domestically. There really is a great wealth of wine being produced in Argentina and, whilst it's true that Mendoza gets a lot of the kudos, Salta, San Juan, La Rioja and Patagonia have some stunning examples too - seek them out, it's worth it!.


February Wine Showdown, Week 2: The St Valentwine's Day MassacreDate published: 13/02/14

February Wine Showdown, Week 2: The St Valentwine's Day Massacre

James' Pick: Passimento 2011, Pasqua £8.99

If my shock Round 1 defeat to Mark has taught me anything, it's that it doesn't pay to go for subtlety. That lesson, combined with this week's Valentine's theme has lead me inexorably to one wine in our range: Passimento 2011 by Pasqua. Produced by one of Veneto's top wineries, their marketing department has gone with the direct route, repeatedly alluding to the region's links with Romeo and Juliet, the most famous love story of all time (Neighbours' Karl and Susan Kennedy notwithstanding, obviously).

Once you get past all of the inane romantic imagery however, there is a rather decent wine. Utilising Merlot alongside the traditional local varieties of Corvina and Croatina, the wine is made in the appasimento style; grapes are partially dried before being pressed, concentrating their flavours and adding richness. The drying process also helps the characteristics develop; a subtle praline-like nuttiness compliments the rich morello cherry fruit. With a soft velvety texture, silky tannins and an enduring finish this is the perfect wine for a Valentine's night in. Ideal with rich red meat stews, it will also go nicely with hard, nutty cheeses.

If only this wine were available in 16th century Verona; Romeo would never have drunk poison if a glass of this little beauty was close to hand. 

A vote for James is a vote for love. Follow your heart and send @majesticabe a tweet with #teamjames. Romance isn't dead, but Mark's chances this week are.

Mark's Pick: Domaine Les Yeuses 'Les Espices' Syrah 2011 £7.99

I’d like to start off by saying woohoo get in, #teammark off to a flying start with last week’s victory! Thanks to everyone for their votes!

James had to eat humble pie and accept defeat; such pleasure it gave me. His choice this week is yet another safe one. With Valentine’s Day approaching, he’s opted for the obvious choice, a bottle of wine with the words “Romeo and Juliet” and “3000 love messages a day” written on it. His wise guy persona has become transparent, with the inner, tender, loving, caring James coming to surface. I now know that all James is after is some love and affection. All those days spent at the gym lifting women’s dumbells are all to impress that special someone. Well, I truly hope that he finds a nice girl that he can share the Passimento 2011 Pasqua with, whilst painting each other’s nails and doing each other’s make-up during a sleepover.

As for the more mischievous amongst us, I’ll say what we’re all thinking. Forget about all this “I love you”, “no I love you more” patter; what makes Valentine’s Day memorable is that night of passion that we all look forward to. For that night, you need a truly impressive wine, like the Domaine Les Yeuses 'Les Espices' Syrah 2011. To spice up the night, this wine offers wonderfully spicy, perfumed Syrah fruit with an elegant softness and roundness, which mark it out as a wine of quality. It is easy to see why this wine is an award-winner, with its long finish offering an intriguing bitter-sweet pepper note.

Make your Valentine's night a good one, vote for #teammark.

Wines of Argentina QuizDate published: 11/02/14

Wines of Argentina Quiz

My sincerest apologies for the delay in posting this hotly anticipated quiz but I was dealing with the emotional fallout of an incredibly close loss to Mark in round 1 of our February Wine Showdown. With that behind me, here's the quiz, with Mark's answers to follow tomorrow. Any looking to help the young scamp with some of the answers can do so via our twitter page, @majesticabe.

1)The Salta region is renowned for its Torrontes. Which clone of the variety dominates plantings there?  (Majestic Wine stocks a fantastic Torrontes from the Lujan de Cuyo region by Vinalba for £9.99).

2) Name the grape, also known as Douce Noir is the second most planted variety in Argentina. (An excellent example of this is made La Posta Winery and is available from Majestic for £9.99).

3) The Tannat grape is noted in particular for its high level of anti-oxidants, making it the ideal red for health buffs. Like Malbec, Tannat is a french export. Which french AC is most commonly associated with this grape?  (The Finca Las Moras (£7.99) is available for all those wine lovers looking to raise their life expectancy).

4) The Cafayate region of Salta is home to the highest vineyard land in the world. Which valley in Salta boast this vineyard, situated at 3111m? (The Amalaya de Colome (£9.99) red blend demonstrates the remarkable impact altitude has on wine, with intense perfume and freshness).

5) Several major European wineries have invested in the Argentine industry, notably Chateau Cheval Blanc with the Cheval des Andes and LVMH with their Terrazas de los Andes project. Which European wine company is behind the Septimo Dia Winery, located in Mendoza? (Both the Septimo Malbec and Chardonnay are available for £9.99 a bottle).

February Wine Showdown Week 1 ResultsDate published: 10/02/14

February Wine Showdown Week 1 Results

The results are in. Votes have been counted and verified by an independent adjudicator. With no further ado, here they are:

Twitter: #teammark 2 #teamjames 1

Tasting Counter: Team Mark 4 Team James 5

Pat's Pick: Team Mark 1 Team James 0

Total: Team Mark 7 Team James 6

Being as graceful in defeat as I am magnanimous in victory, I would like to be the first to congratulate Mark on his first round victory. His wine was an excellent choice. The Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon (£11.99) demonstrates the finest qualities of New World Cabernet: Rich blackcurrant fruit, full body and rounded ripe tannins. It was a worthy victor, Mark has clearly received excellent tuition in all things wine related. You could say that his tutors here at Majestic Aberdeen are the real winners.

Stay tuned for Round 2 on Thursday - 'The Valentwines' Day Massacre', expect some fireworks (figuratively speaking).


James

The Wines of Argentina - OverviewDate published: 09/02/14

The Wines of Argentina - Overview

Although Argentina's viticultural history can be traced back to before the arrival of Spanish colonists in the 16th century, it is only within the last twenty years or so that Argentinian wine has made its presence felt on the international wine market. Like many of its New World counterparts, Argentina's rise from the production of low quality table wine for domestic consumption to its current place in the global wine scene has been meteoric. The industry has increasingly focused on high quality varieties, exploiting some of the most remarkable vineyard sites in the world to make truly terroir-specific wines.

Climate

The principal wine growing regions of Argentina tend to be incredibly dry; rainfall below 250mm annually is not uncommon (by comparison, the Roussillon, France's driest region, sees 450mm) and desert conditions are typical. It is only through irrigation that viticulture is possible, with the snow melt from the Andes providing the essential water. Temperatures can be very high in summer, often in excess of 40 degrees. Again it is the Andes that provide sufficient cooling influence to allow for quality grape production, with altitude providing the cool nights that allow the vines to rest. Given the dry, arid conditions, the risk of rot and other fungi is relatively low. As such, very little pesticide is necessary and many wineries are organic or biodynamic.

Regions

Production is dominated by the region of Mendoza, whose output can exceed that of Australia and New Zealand combined in a given year and constitutes roughly 60% of annual output. Famed for its Malbec based wines, the valleys of Lujan de Cuyo and Uco are renowned for producing the finest examples of the grape globally.

San Juan, to the north of Mendoza is second most important in terms of production volume. Its more northerly location makes for a significantly warmer climate. Bonarda and Syrah are the most successful varieties planted there.

Salta, to the far north produces increasingly impressive wines from some of the most distinctive vineyard land in the world. The Cafayate valley in Salta boasts the highest altitude vineyards in the world, with some at over 2500m.

Grape Varieties

Malbec - Responsible for the most widely lauded reds in South America, Argentine Malbec is typically rich and full bodied with bright fruit, velvety tannins and violet aromas. Originally from Bordeaux, Malbec was brought across by French colonists in the 19th century. It was extensively experimented with by Dr Nicolas Catena in Mendoza. The ideal sites for the various clones were established and high end examples can cost over £200 a bottle.

Torrontes - Sometyhing of an Argentine speciality, Torrontes is a white grape that can produce wines with effervescent floral aromas reminiscent of Gewurztraminer and Muscat. At it's best in the high altitude vineyards of Salta where cool nighttime temperatures help grapes retain their acidity.

Bonarda - Thick skinned and late ripening, Bonarda produces dense, dark wines with aromas of blackcurrant. 

Various international varieties are planted widely in Argentina, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and Tempranillo seeing significant acreage.

Wines of Argentina Tasting WeekDate published: 09/02/14

Wines of Argentina Tasting Week

This week we are highlighting the wines of Argentina, with several Argentine (Argentinian?) wines open in store to try. We'll also be running several online features exploring an increasingly exciting wine region.

We'll kick things off with a regional overview from Assistant Manager James today. On Monday we'll launch a quiz on Argentine wine with Trainee Manager Mark Providing the the answers in a post on Tuesday. Manager Robbie will round out the week with a selection of his favourite Argentine wines and some suggestions for food pairings.

February Wine Showdown Week 1 UpdateDate published: 08/02/14

February Wine Showdown Week 1 Update

Yesterday was a sobering experience for me. Mark's pick, the Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon (£11.99) stormed to a 3-0 lead on the tasting counter. Not wholly surprising given its voluptuous blackcurrant fruit, juicy tannin and full body. It certainly packs a punch. Coupled with a 2-1 twitter lead, it certainly looked as though Mark would be celebrating more than his birthday (excellent wine knowledge at the tender age of 23, many happy returns by the way). I was reeling, how could the subtle, smooth Hochar Pere et Fils (£11.99) be falling so far behind. Would anyone be beguiled by it's complex date and fig aromas and it's herbaceous, spice laden finish? 

My fate seemed sealed when our driver, Pat, declared the Kangarilla "very full bodied" and put Mark in to a 6-1 lead. This was my darkest hour. I'm not ashamed to admit that tears were shed. Then, just as all hope was dwindling, two tasters both sided with the Hochar, dragging me back in to the race and narrowing the gap to 6-3 overall.

With a big Saturday ahead plenty of thirsty Aberdonians expected in store, there's all to play for. Remember, if you haven't voted you can do so via our twitter page @majesticabe with either a #teammark or #teamjames or on our in store tsating counter; both wines are available to try all weekend!

February Wine Showdown, Round 1: Cabernet Sauv-it's-on!Date published: 05/02/14

February Wine Showdown, Round 1: Cabernet Sauv-it's-on!

We thought we'd kick things off with a head-to-head on the mac-daddy of black grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon. The principal grape of the great wines of the Medoc on Bordeaux's left bank, Cabernet is responsible for some of the world's most famous wines like Chateaux Mouton Rothschild and Latour.

Cabernet has also travelled as well as any black grape; regions such as Coonawarra in Australia, Napa Valley in California and Stellenbosch in South Africa celebrate it as the premium grape for red wine production. With it's brute force of tannin, body aclohol and acidity, Cabernet can often blended to soften it, classically with Merlot.

With such a broad array of outstanding Cabernet based wines to choose from, we'll dispense with the viticulture lessons and I'll let Mark get on with picking his wine. Then I'll choose a better one.

Mark's Pick - Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 McLaren Vale - £11.99

While James is showing his age and has chosen a safe bet with his old world style of wine, I recognise that times have moved on and there are some cracking New World wines that ought to be appreciated. With blackcurrant, blackberry, toasty oak, smooth tannins and an impressive finish, this wine is an excellent example of how New World wines are stealing the limelight from your typical French regions.  From a tiny boutique winery, in the up-coming McLaren Vale region, the area has a climate similar to Bordeaux except, in the words of the winermaker, it never rains and it's hardly ever frosty. The Kangarilla Road Cabernet Sauvignon packs enough fruit to knock James' wine out of the park. Vote for the trainee and let's make James eat his words #teammark.

James' Pick - Hochar Pere et Fils 2008, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon - £11.99

Knowing Mark, I am completely unsurprised by his choice. The Kangarilla Road Cabernet is a fine wine but it's big, loud and obvious. It's a wine for Beliebers and people who like the films of Michael Bay - when in doubt go for an explosion (in this case, a fruit-bomb).

For those of us well clear of puberty and its associated agonies, we have the Hochar; elegant, complex and sophisticated. Not a pure Cabernet I grant you (it's 1/3 Cabernet, Carignan and Cinsault) but a wine that demonstrates the potential of the grape beyond it's raw power. Produced as the second wine of Chateau Musar, the varieties are vinified separately and aged for 9 months in french oak and held at the chateau for three years in total. A unique wine with prune, fig and herb notes, the Hochar ages gracefully and the 2008 will likely be drinking well into the 2020s.

To voting public, do the right thing, the mature thing and choose mature substance over youthful noise. Teach this young nuisance Mark that there's more to life than the X-Factor, Beanie Babies and all night raves. Vote for the Hochar and feel cleverer for it. #teamjames

To vote, post on our twitter @majesticabe including #teamjames or (preferably not) #teammark. Also, we have both wines open on the tasting counter, so feel free to come by, enjoy a sample and decide for yourself.

New arrivals for Spring 2014Date published: 04/02/14

New arrivals for Spring 2014

With our Spring 2014 Promotion starting on Tuesday 4th February, we've seen a wave of exciting new wines arrive with us in store. Here in Aberdeen we have, as ever, been looking out for your best interests by acquainting ourselves with these additions to the range so as to provide you with the most informed opinions possible. Here is a selection of our favourites:


Tournelles Voluptabilis 2010, Buzet - £6.66

From the little known AC of Buzet, located inland from Bordeaux, this is the second wine of Chateau Tournelles, considered by many to be the finest producer in the area. A Bordeaux inspired blend of Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc with Merlot and Malbec (known locally as Cot) the Voluptabilis demonstrates the excellence of the 2010 vintage with ripe cassis fruit and mocha richness. Fantastic value - a Bordeaux wine of this quality would most likely exceed £10!

Gavi Araldica, 2013 - £7.99

Known to some as 'the Chablis of Italy' the wines of Gavi can, at their best, demonstrate vibrant fruit, refreshing acidity and tingling minerality. Made from the Cortese grape, the Araldica is a refreshing citrus fruit-bomb with a slightly herbaceous edge. Perfect wine to accompany a prawn and avocado salad!

Vina Mayu Malbec Elqui Valley, 2012 £9.33

Malbec has long been an Argentine speciality, but the Chileans have adopted the grape and are increasingly producing wines to rival those of their neighbours to the east. The Elqui valley where the wine is produced is one of the most remote wine regions on earth and lies less than an hour from the Atacama Desert. Altitude and cooling ocean breezes are the only things that can make viticulture here possible. The Mayu Malbec is rich and full bodied with brooding tannins and a spicy finisht. Robust enough to match with the the reddest of meats, try with beef wellington.

February Weekly Wine Showdown!Date published: 31/01/14

February Weekly Wine Showdown!

Tensions have been rising here at Majestic Wine Aberdeen. With Trainee Mark's developing tastes and my inability to accept the preferences of others, surprisingly vitriolic arguments over the merits of various wines has been par for the course.

 To settle our differences, Mark and I (Assistant Manager James) will engage in bitter competition, each selecting a Wine of the Week. You can choose your favourite on our twitter page, @majesticabe. The victor earns eternal glory, infinite bragging rights and a bottle of moderately priced wine. The loser will be between £10 and £15 out of pocket and may suffer serious self-esteem issues. As to who that will be, that's in your hands...

Regional Focus: Marlborough, New ZealandDate published: 29/01/14

Regional Focus: Marlborough, New Zealand


Located at the northern end of New Zealand's South Island, Marlborough wines have enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity over recent years. Lead by pungently aromatic Sauvignon blancs like such Majestic luminaries as the Ned, Black Cottage, Blind River and Cloudy Bay, these vibrant wines have captured the hearts of many a British wine drinker. Here's a rundown of what makes this region and its wines so popular:

Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc (the biggest planted variety in the entire of the New Zealand) Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay

Styles: Dry fruity whites and supple, silky Pinot Noirs. Further to the south in the Marlborough region lies the Awatere Valley which is drier, cooler and windier, leading to whites with herbaceous, leafy aromatics.

Soil: North of the Marlborough region (above Blenheim) the soils are much younger and water levels need to be monitored carefully, whereas further south soils tend to be much drier. Soil can be very fertile and vine vigour must be kept

Climate: Due to it's southerly latitude, the vines in Marlborough enjoy the most sunlight hours during the growing season.

Big Names: Cloudy Bay (est 1980), Fairhall, Montana Brancott, Villa Maria. Cloudy Bay is largely credited for creating the style of Sauvignon Blanc that is so typical of Marlborough.

Viticulture: Benefit from a long ripening period because of a long summers and dry autumns. Threats: Frost

Vinification (production techniques): Producers tend to differentiate their wines by using methods such as using oak and malolactic fermentation.

Random Facts:

- Vines where pretty much obsolete until the early 1970's, with the first bottles released in 1980. - Pinot Noir over took Cabernet Sauvignon in 1997 to become the country's most planted red grape


Wine of the Week Domaine de l'Aigle Pinot Noir 2011, IGP Pays d'Oc, Gerard BertrandDate published: 28/01/14

Wine of the Week

Domaine de l'Aigle Pinot Noir 2011, IGP Pays d'Oc, Gerard Bertrand - £9.99

Bright, lifted raspberry and morello cherry aromas a veiled in hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and woodsmoke. The palate provides racy acidity, softened by the ample red fruit notes and velvety tannins. Excellent length with strawberry fruit lingering on the close.

From Gerard Bertrand, an old favourite at Majestic, this Pinot is harvested from some of the highest vineyards in the South of France (hence the eagle theme). The altitude mitigates a climate that would otherwise be too warm for delicate Pinot Noir. The large temperature swing between day and night time caused by the rarefied air helps the grapes retain their perfume an freshness.

Our trainee Mark has long championed this wine, but being older and wiser (and too often burned by overpriced, underwhelming Pinot Noir), I have been reticent to accept his recommendations thus far. After this little number, however, I think I'll be consulting him rather more often (apart from when it comes to his mystifying love of all things X-Factor). Absolutely cracking value for money, with great depth and vibrant fruit more reminiscent of New World Pinots like those of New Zealand's Central Otago, the Eagle would go well with a range of other birds, especially duck.


Wine of the Week - Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet 2012 Côteaux du LanguedocDate published: 23/01/14

Wine of the Week

Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet 2012
Côteaux du Languedoc


Love Sauvignon Blanc? Want to try something new? Your answer: Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet.

Like Sauvignon Blanc, this wine has citrus characteristics with refreshing acidity. This wine is something of an unexpected find, offering a crisp and zesty white wine made from the rare Picpoul grape which is indigenous to the Pinet area on the Mediterranean coastline.

Vibrant green apple with lemon and lime fruit meet white blossom and fresh herb notes. This wine is summer in a glass and will definitely lift your spirit enough to get you through this gloomy January and have you looking forward to another fine, sunny Scottish summer!

Only £6.49


Web Exclusive offer: Arrowfield Show Reserve Semillon 2008Date published: 22/01/14

Arrowfield Show Reserve Semillon 2008 Hunter Valley 6 x 75cl  just £41.94 

A superb value example of the unique style that is Hunter Valley Semillon, from old, low-cropping vines on the Arrowfield Estate. This wine is remarkably age-worthy.

Taste

Delicate yet well-defined aromas of lime and lemon are joined by subtle floral hints. The palate is soft textured yet lightly crisp, with a long, lemony finish.

Enjoy immediately or cellar carefully for up to 5 years to allow the wine to develop a richer, more honeyed profile.

There are also two other Arrowfield wines available in this web exclusive, the Fantastic 2008 Show Reserve Chardonnay @£47.94 for 6 or the 2007 Unwooded Chardonnay @£35.94 for 6. 

These wines are only available to buy on-line so get your order in today to avoid disappointment.


New in stock: Black Isle BreweryDate published: 21/01/14

New in stock: Black Isle Brewery

We're pleased to introduce a new range of beers to our current stock, those of the Black Isle Brewery. Located near Munlochy on the Black Isle, the brewery prides itself on utilising organic methods in the unspoiled, natural wilds of the highlands. This focus on natural production is reflected in their range of characterful beers:


Black Isle Organic Blonde Lager 12x330ml - £23.40

Is it a lager?  Is it a pale ale?  Does it even matter or does anyone care?  Brewed with Hallertau hops for a grassy, Germanic aroma, this continental style beer carries a hint of honey sweetness which balances with the dry, crisp, refreshing palate and the biscuity finish.  A genre defying classic.

Red Kite Ale 12x330ml - £22.80

As the name suggests, this amber ale lifts the spirits by infusing classic British hops with a malty backbone to create this medium bodied thirst quencher. It's the perfect year-round beer - refreshing in summer and satisfying in winter.

Yellowhammer Organic Ale 12x550ml - £28.20

A refreshing straw-coloured beer with a flinty, grapefruit aroma. A great session beer to slake the thirst. Not a brightly coloured carpenters tool in sight, but packed full of hops for a big hit. SIBA "Champion Beer Of Scotland 2009".

Wines of the Rhône ValleyDate published: 18/01/14

Wines of the Rhône Valley


Following my last article discussing one of the greatest wine producing regions of the world, the Rhône Valley, here are my picks of wine from the region:


Domaine Grosset Cairanne 2012 Côtes du Rhône Villages £11.99

An intense ruby colour and an expressive nose of red berries and sweet spices, with hints of cigar box and undergrowth. Fleshy and warming on the palate, further lifted by spicy red peppercorn notes. Each grape variety is fermented individually in old oak, then carefully blended to create a vintage-specific wine.


Côtes du Rhône Belleruche 2012 M.Chapoutier £7.99

The Chapoutier family have produced wines in the Rhône Valley since 1808. Michel Chapoutier, currently in charge, has combined tradition with a dynamic, creative approach and makes some of the best wines of the region. A superb wine with rich aromas of dark fruit, earthy minerals and spice. Soft and round on the palate with smooth tannins, rich blackberry and cherry fruit, hints of liquorice and a substantial finish.


Gigondas 2011 La Bastide Saint Vincent £15.98

A big and powerful wine typical of the appellation, with a backbone of dense black fruit, finely balanced with complex and savoury accents suggesting charcuterie and forest floor.  The grapes are fully hand-harvested and vinified without oak, the wine maturing for 12 months in tank before bottling.


Food match - These bold, powerful, warming wines work well with hearty cold-weather dishes. Sausage and mash, honey-glazed gammon steaks and rich winter casseroles come alive with juicy Rhône reds.


Mark

The Rhone ValleyDate published: 18/01/14

As I study towards my WSET qualification, I am learning about the different wine producing regions of the world.  France is a country that contains so many interesting regions offering excellent quality wines.  My next few news articles will highlight what this amazing country has to offer.


East of glamourous Bordeaux and south of beguiling Burgundy lies one of the world’s greatest wine regions:  The Rhone Valley.  The Rhone Valley is split into two distinct vineyard areas, North and South, both producing some of the most powerful and intense red wines in the world.  Everyday Cotes-du-Rhone represents good value, but some of the best buys are found in village areas such as Gigondas and Cairanne.


 Fast facts:

1) Grapes – Northern Rhone reds tend to be made mainly from Syrah with the South producing blends from key varieties Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.


2) Climate - The strong, dry, chilly mistral wind accelerates through the Rhone Valley, reaching speeds of over 90km/h. The vines are protected by being tied to stakes; and trees are planted to create windbreaks.


3) History - Winemaking died out after the Romans left the region but it was reignited in the 13th century when the Pope was resident at Avignon.


4) Production - There are over 6,000 wine growing properties in the Rhône Valley. 95% of its wines are produced in the South.


Look out for my next article to find out which wines I recommend you to try.


Mark

Wines of the South of France Tasting WeekDate published: 17/01/14

Wines of the South of France Tasting Week


The vast stretch of vineyards that spreads from the Pyrenees to Provence, the Languedoc-Roussillon, comprises the largest wine production region in the world. Approximately one third of all french wine comes from the region, but thanks to dramatic improvements in both vineyard and winery practice over the last twenty years these southern wines are being increasingly recognised for their quality rather than their quantity. As you'd you expect from an region that stretches over 150 miles, there is a great degree of diversity which we're highlighting this week with several wines open to try in store! Here are Mark and my favourites:


James' Pick: Mas des Montagnes Cotes du Roussillon-Villages 2010 £8.99

Wines from the Roussillon will always have a special place in my heart; I spent a summer after university working in a winery near Perpignan and have great affection for the area. The Roussillon is the stretch of country on the Spanish border, amongst the foothills of the Pyranees. it is frequently the warmest and driest region in France and it's wines often reflect the rugged terrain from which the grapes are grown. The Mas des Montagnes typifies this local style. A classic blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, the nose displays concentrated berry fruit and a hint of spice. On the palate, it is classy and well balanced with a lingering, spicy finish.


Mark's Pick: Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet 2012, Côteaux du Languedoc £6.49

Do you love Sauvignon Blanc? Are you looking to try something new? Your answer:  Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet. Like Sauvingon Blanc, this wine has citrus characteristics with refreshing acidity. This wine is something of an unexpected find, offering a crisp and zesty white wine made from the rare Picpoul grape which is indigenous to the Pinet area on the Mediterranean coastline. Vibrant green apple with lemon and lime fruit meet white blossom and fresh herb notes. This wine is summer in a glass and will definitely lift your spirit enough to get you through this gloomy January and have you looking forward to another fine, sunny Scottish summer!


We have several other Southern French wines open to sample alongside our usual array of wines on the tasting counter. Feel free to pop in for a chat and a glass of wine; the perfect way to stave off the January blues!

Wine for WeddingsDate published: 15/01/14

Wine for Weddings


After the plethora of proposals every Christmas, we at Majestic Wine Aberdeen are inundated with wedding orders in January. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding service for the recently betrothed and are capable of sorting all your drinks-based wedding needs. Along with an unbeatable range of well priced wines we can provide beers, spirits and soft drinks.

We also offer a free hire service for glasses, flutes, ice buckets and chiller bins.

If you're having trouble deciding on a wine, give us a call on 01224 684487 and we can arrange a tasting for you.

Wine of the Week - Testimonio 2011 Luigi BoscaDate published: 14/01/14

Wine of the Week - Testimonio 2011 Luigi Bosca

Malbec is not the only big and bold red to come from Argentina.  This wine offers an exciting blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah-Shiraz and Tannat.  

Bodegas Luigi Bosca was established in 1901 by Leoncio Arizu, and the Arizu family still own and run the estate today, three generations down the line. Testimonio is a blend of fruit from selected estate vineyards, designed as a benchmark expression of the 'house style'.

A deep, dark and dense blend, with a backbone of inky cassis fruit surrounded by plush, silky tannins. The weighty palate carries with it hints of spice and vanilla.

This powerful red is great value at only £7.99.

Whiskies for Rabbie Burns Day!Date published: 14/01/14

Well, it's the middle of January already (how time flies!) and almost Rabbie Burns Day.  There's nothing better than having a cracking old Scottish dish for Burns supper - of course, haggis, neeps and tatties along with a fine bottle of Scotch is most definitely on the menu.  Here are my picks of whisky for your Burns supper:

Glenmorangie 10 Year Old Malt Whisky Gift 70cl Bottle £26.00 (WAS £36.00!)

In the far north of Scotland lies the Glenmorangie distillery, in the 'Glen of Tranquility', where this fine Malt has been distilled since 1843. Matured in American mountain oak, Glenmorangie's distinctive and delicate aroma has an elegance all of its own.

Glenlivet 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky £27.50 (WAS £30.00!)

High up in the remote area of Glenlivet, George Smith was the first to produce a whisky of such exceptional quality that it went on to define the taste of Speyside.  The Glenlivet 12 Year Old is perfectly balanced with a lively gold colour and playful interlacing of floral and fruit aromas.

Aberlour 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky £22.00 (WAS £27.00)

A classic Speyside single malt matured in a combination of Traditional oak and Sherry oak casks for a minimum of ten years.  Welcoming, vibrant and rewarding.  On the palate, this superb whisky is exceptionally smooth and creamy, with spicy-sweet nutmeg and honey combining with the fresh autumn fruits.

Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky £30.00 (WAS £40.00!)

A uniquely smooth, balanced single malt, with a rich full flavour and a gentle smoky finish.

Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky £25.00 (WAS £30.00!)

Monkey Shoulder is a Scotch whisky blended from three of Speyside's finest single malts using batches of just 27 casks for a smoother, richer taste.

Mark



Attention all of you beer lovers!Date published: 11/01/14

Our great selection of wine can mean that our beer, soft drink and spirit sections are often overlooked.  The following are two must-try ales for all of you beer lovers.


Punk IPA, Brewdog, Scotland, 6*330ml Cans £9.99


For the rebellious rocker in you!  This fresh, full-flavoured, natural pale ale is brewed using three kinds of Kiwi hops, giving tropical fruits, light caramel, a bitter-sweet streak and attitude in abundance. A real tribute to the classic IPAs of yesteryear.


Einstok White Ale, Iceland, 6*330ml Bottles, £9.99


A craft beer from the north of Iceland modelled on the traditional Belgian witbier.  Made with pure spring water and infused with coriander and orange peel, it’s full textured yet light on the palate, with a refreshing citrus zing.

More New Wines!Date published: 10/01/14

More new wines!

Santa Ana Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina £5.99


Great-value Malbec from one of Argentina’s oldest wineries, founded in 1891 by Italian wine pioneer Luis Tirasso.  Plums and cherries are complemented by supple tannins and a soft finish.  Enjoy with a selection of medium-strength firm cheeses.


Panamericana Melot 2012, Central Valley, Chile £5.99


A cool-climate style with ample red-berry fruit combining fresh acidity with ripeness and warmth.  Good concentration and depth; soft, plummy texture; hints of vanilla and spice.  Enjoy with chargrilled lamb kebabs.


Panamericana Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Central Valley, Chile £5.99


A well balanced and refreshing wine, with a predominant citrus character accompanied by softer flavours of pear, melon and a streak of flinty minerality.  Enjoy with fresh seafood and light pasta dishes.

Great News: New Wines!Date published: 10/01/14

Great news:  we have exciting new wines for you to try this winter.


Château Coufran 2004, Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois Supérieur, France £14.99


The high propoprtion of Merlot (85%) is unusual for a Medoc wine, earning it the nickname of ‘Pomerol of Haut-Medoc’.  It combines soft bramble and ripe plums with smooth tannins and subtle cedar and leafy accents.  Enjoy with firm cheeses.


Petit Chablis 2011, Domaine Louis Moreau, France £11.99


6th generation winemaker Louis Moreau brings us this crisp, fruit-driven and mineral-tinged wine, showcasing the classic unoaked Chardonnay style.  Enjoy with sea bream fried in butter.


Vereto Salice Salentino 2010, Agricole Vallone, Italy £8.99


Deep ruby-purple with an intensely fruity aromatic profile supported by savoury balsamic and spice notes.  Firm palate texture provides good length.  Enjoy with rustic red meat stews.


Chianti Poggio Galiga 2012, Grati, Italy £7.99


Classic Chianti:  a nose of cherry fruit with subtle floral hints and a dry, harmonious palate combining lip-smacking acidity and fine tannins.  Enjoy with mixed antipasti.

New Year's Resolution for Sauvignon Blanc Lovers!Date published: 10/01/14

New Year’s Resolution for fans of Sauvignon Blanc – try more new things!  These light-bodied, aromatic wines are a hit with adventurous Sauvignon Blanc lovers.

Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet 2012, Coteaux Du Languedoc, France £6.49


Lemon and lime fruit meet white blossom and fresh herb notes.  Vibrant green apple fruit with a youthful and refreshingly dry finish, perfect for oysters or grilled sardines.


Rueda Blanco 2012, Marques de Riscal, Spain £6.99


A delicate white wine made from the increasingly popular Verdejo grape.  Crisp lemon and grapefruit join softer pear, peach and apricot flavours on the nose and palate.


Macon-Villages Blanc ‘Les Pierres Blanches’ 2012, Cave de Lugny, France £6.99


Apple and citrus characters are shadowed by hints of blossom and faint traces of butter.  Soft pear and a lovely mineral streak complete the finish.

Producer Focus - Bodega MatsuDate published: 09/01/14

Producer Focus – Bodega Matsu


Matsu are one of my favourite producers.  If you like wines from Rioja, you'll love the Matsu range as the main grape variety offered in both is Tempranillo.  In Japanese Matsu means 'to wait'. The producers have adopted this name to reflect their focus on quality - waiting for the right conditions for the grapes to harvest and using biodynamic production techniques to ensure minimum intervention and avoid overloading vines with pesticides.  The winery is fully organic.


As well as producing this week's wine of the week, La Garnacha 2011 Salvaje de Moncayo, Matsu offer three more cracking wines.  Each wine's distinctive label depicts a man of a different age;  this reflects the age of the vines and how long the wine has been aged in oak barrels.


Matsu El Picaro 2012 Toro £7.99


'El Picaro' translates as 'The Rogue' or 'Rascal'.  This wine portrays the youngest man of the bunch and perhaps the most mischievous! Aromas of ripe blackberries and raspberries with subtle hints of fresh cocoa. The palate is bold yet supple, with ripe tannins and a mineral grip.  The appeal of this wine is definitely it's youthful, vibrant fresh fruit style with only 3 months ageing in oak barrels.


Matsu  El Recio 2010/2011 Toro £12.99


'El Recio' translates as 'The Tough Guy'. This wine portrays the middle-aged man because of its more serious and mature style. Intense and opaque, this wine is a mass of deep black fruit, chocolate, roasted coffee bean and vanilla pod aromas. Voluptuous and weighty with a firm structure, held together by silky tannins. The appeal of this wine is definitely its complexity, with 14 months ageing in oak barrels offering layers of fruit and integrated oak on the palate. A great match to steak!


Matsu El Viejo 2010 Toro £20.00


'The Old One' of the Matsu range is made from the fruit of selected Tinta de Toro vines, averaging 110 years of age.  The wine is immensely powerful and complex offering cigar box, lavender and graphite nuances against a backdrop of dense cherry and bramble fruit.  The appeal of this wine is its powerful style with ample yet fine grained tannins. A fine match for many hearty dishes; try with roasted saddle of Venison!


Mark

Mark's Pick: Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2011Date published: 09/01/14

Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel, 2011 £8.79

As a relatively newcomer to Majestic, my wine knowledge has come on leaps and bounds since my first day on the job. I owe this largely due to the chance of trying different wines in store from our tasting counter. I have also benefited from the wisdom of my manager Robert and his assistant James. Whilst many of the wines I have recently tried have impressed me, one particular wine has stood out head and shoulders above the rest: the Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2011.

I had not tried many Californian wines before so I was not sure what to expect but I certainly was not disappointed from my first tasting. Grown from grapes in the Lodi area of California's Central Valley (also know as the Zinfandel Central), the Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2011 really impressed from the off. It is bursting with flavours of black berry, cherry and plum, has a lovely well rounded texture and an undertone of vanilla and spice. But, what was most impressing was its long lingering finish. The grapes are ripened a little longer than normal giving maturity to this wine, resulting in a great balance of fruit and tannins. This in turn leads to its long finish, the kind of finish you would expect from much older vines. I would strongly recommend having this wine with flavourful duck dishes or a cheese platter.

At £8.79, the Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel 2011 is a superb wine at a fantastic price! 60 arrived today but they won't last long; place an order in store, online or give us a call on 01224 684487.

Mark


Bargain of the day: Macon-Villages 2010, Domaine des Terres Gentilles £6.66Date published: 08/01/14

Bargain of the day: Macon-Villages 2010, Domaine des Terres Gentilles - £6.66


The star turn of this year's Majestic January Bargain Hunt is the Macon-Villages 2010 from Domaines des Terres Gentilles. Great value at devilishly low price £6.66, this Macon offers real depth and intrigue. Extended bottle aging has added a hint of hazelnut complexity to the wine ample citrus fruit and breezy floral notes. Greatly flexible, it can be enjoyed as an aperitif or with a wide array of fish and poultry. I personally enjoy it with a chicken salad baguette!

January Money SaversDate published: 07/01/14

January can be a tough old month, can't it? The impending credit card bill, dark nights, resolutions broken after only 2 days, not to mention a six week pay period! Fear not, we have some great bargains in store which won't break the bank and might just beat those January blues.

Here's 6 reasons to be cheerful:

Luis Felipe Edwards Mountain View Sauvignon Blanc £5.59 

Pavia Paqua Pinot Grigio £5.99

Torres Vina Sol £5.99

Robertson Winery Merlot £5.59

Gran Vendema Rioja Crianza £5.99

Mont Saint Jean Corbieres £5.99

That's not all; we've plenty more but you'll have to come in and see for yourself!


 

Fine Wine of the Month - Roaring Meg Pinot NoirDate published: 07/01/14

Pinot Noir has to be one of my favourite red grapes. It's responsible for some of the finest, most expensive wines from Burgundy and had Miles waxing eloquent in the film Sideways - which you ought to see if you haven't already! Pinots can be fickle though, not everyone can get it right, but the guys at Mount Difficulty, a boutique winery based in Bannockburn in the Central Otago region of New Zealand's South Island sure have. A mix of red and black fruits with a bit of spice provided by oak ageing combined with soft tannins and balanced acidity mark this out as a wine of real class. A genuine bargain not to be missed!

Wine of the Week: La Garnacha 2011 Salvaje de MoncayoDate published: 07/01/14

Hailing from the Moncayo end of the Ebro Valley, this Garnacha (also known as Grenache) is made from grapes harvested from ancient bush vines which also grow wild in this mountainous area in the Northeast corner of Spain. It's juicy, fruit-driven style makes it eminently quaffable and there's even a trace of Burgundian minerality which comes across on the palate thanks to the subtle use of French oak.

Great in it's own right, Moncayo Garnacha is also fab with barbequed red meats or spicy chorizo based dishes. What's more, it's an absolute bargain at £7.99 - I've bought some already!

Majestic Wine Bargain HuntDate published: 03/01/14

It's that time of year again when we have to bid a fond farewell to some old friends as we welcome in the New Year. In order to make room for some exciting new lines, we need to bin end some of our existing range; it's a great time to bag yourself a bargain! Look for the red tags instore but, be quick - at this rate, they won't be around for long!

Current highlights include:

Macon Villages 2010 Domaine des Terres Gentilles £6.66

Cairanne Vidal Fleury 2009 £7.33

Chenas 2011 Jean-Francois Trichard £7.99 SOLD OUT

Conde de Calatrava Crianza £4.66

Rioja Crianza 2009 Marques de Caceres Magnum £16.66

La Plata Malbec 2012 £4.66

Happy New Year!Date published: 31/12/13

Happy New Year to everyone and all the best for 2014!

Wine of the Week -Date published: 30/12/13

Mark's Choice - Wine of the Week

Clos du Bois Chardonnay 2011/2012 North Coast

An exciting wine that received a Silver Award in the 2011 International Wines Challenge.  The stone fruit flavours of peach and nectarine linger on the palate offering a long finish.  The medium body has well integrated oak with good acidity.  

If, like me, you are on a January health kick, match this wine with creamy seafood pasta dishes!


£ 9.99 

Time for SherryDate published: 27/11/13

Time for Sherry

With little over a month to go until Christmas, its not only important to think about what wine would go well with the festive period, but for some its also important to choose a good Sherry. So here is a list of everything you need to know about a select few of the Sherry's that we currently stock for the festive period.

Pedro's Almacenista Selection Fino - £8.99

Fino Sherry is made from the Palomino grape. The wine is stored in oak barrels for an aging period of 3 to 5 years, during which a layer of yeast is develops on the surface and  creates the yeast characteristics of the Fino Sherry.  This particular Sherry is selected from two particular bodegas in the centre of Jerez, one old and one youthful creates both a youthful and complex sherry.  Alongside the flor characteristics, flavours include almond and fresh apple notes. This sherry goes perfect with all types of tapas, including olives, nuts and shellfish. 

Pedro's Almacenista Selection Amontillado - £9.99

Made from the same grape and by the same process as the Fino, this Sherry is a more oxidised version. As the flor that gives the Fino its characteristics is removed, the sherry oxidises and therefore produces a richer, nuttier flavour to the sherry.  The process creates notes of hazlenut, with light reminders of the yeast that was present in the Fino.  This sherry goes perfect with soups, or cheeses such as manchego and cheddar as well as Japanese/Asian dishes.

Pedro's Almacenista Selection Oloroso: £11.99

Similar to the Amontillado Sherry, this particular sherry has been aged on average for 20 years.  Blended with nothing other than Oloroso's from other barrels. Full of complexity with intense notes of toasted walnuts and autumn leaves. This sherry goes perfect with red meats, casseroles or alternatively vegetable paellas. Or as always enjoy on its on over the festive period!

Pedro's Almacenista Selection Palo Cortado: £14.99

Considered among the finest sherries made, it is similar in style to the Oloroso and Amontillado, however is considered to be that bit better quality. This is a magnificent example of the style, if your wanting to treat yourself, try the Pedro's Almacenista Selection Palo Cortado!


Tokaji!Date published: 27/11/13

Tokaji


If you have been into our shop in Aberdeen and had a chat with me, you will no doubt know that I'm a real fan of dessert wine. For me, Tokaji is the king of them all. Made in the North-East of Hungary from predominantly local, indigenous grapes (predominantly Furmint for those of you wondering) and using a method not seen anywhere else in the world....its hardly suprising that good Tokaji can be unlike anything else! 

Sweet and concentrated but with huge acidity to make sure the wines aren't too sticky, something like the Royal Tokaji Co's 5 Puttonyo Tokaji will stand up to a rich sticky toffee pudding or a Christmas cake.

Royal Tokaji Late Harvest - £9.99 (50cl)

Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos - £19.99 (50cl)


Grape of the Month - Viognier!Date published: 21/10/13

Grape of the Month - Viognier!


Viognier is becoming increasingly fashionable.  In simple terms, it may be thought of as a variety that offers some of the soft, full-bodied texture of Chardonnay, but with more aromatic fruit character.  It needs warm to hot conditions to ripen, and requires careful handling to ensure its delicate flavours are preserved and the wine stays balanced.  There are fine examples of Viognier being made in the south of France, Australia and California.  Generally, these are wines to drink young, though a small number can age.


Staff recommendations:


Viognier Réserve Spéciale 2012 Gérard Bertrand, PGI Pays d’Oc at only £7.99 - Made by a respected producer.  Pale yellow in colour, with intense aromas of white flowers. The palate is rich and lush with tropical fruits, dried apricots, hazelnuts and honey.


Staff favourite, recommended by Mark - Bellingham 'The Bernard Series' Viognier 2013 Western Cape at only £9.59 - Perfumed aromas of peaches, lychees, rose petal and spice are complemented by rich layers of fruit with spicy undertones of white pepper and cinnamon on the palate with a lingering and inviting finish.


Visit the store or browse online at www.majestic.co.uk to discover more of our great range of Viognier!



Press Reviewed Wine on Tasting CounterDate published: 21/10/13

Press Reviewed Wine on Tasting Counter - Château du Cléray Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2012 Sauvion


We have a great Muscadet on the tasting counter open to try.  The wine was reviewed in The Observer as being "the kind of bracing, slightly salty dry white wine that comes into its own with any seafood starters you might be thinking of, from oysters to smoked salmon - even one of those bizarre, slightly grotesque prawn rings - but which has a good deal more depth of flavour and a weightier texture than you usually find in a Muscadet".


Only £8.99.

Italiano!Date published: 20/08/13

Those who have read this blog for a while will know that I utterly adore Italian wine.  From the tannic tarry florals of Barolo to the smoky cherry power of Brunello, the waxy-textured Fiano, the aromatic lift of Greco; Italy has a range of wines for all tastes, and a culture that speaks perfectly of enjoying the twin pleasures of wine and food.  The Italians also make some of the best cars and road bikes in the world, but that's another topic entirely!

Excitingly, we have a *very* special promotion on now, offering 25% off our Italian wine selection on all wines priced between £5-£20.  That means you can snap up the the wonderful Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2011 for £14.99 (£19.99), or the Dogajolo Toscana IGT 2011 for £8.37 (£10.99), to name but a few!

Short of moving to Tuscany, it's the best chance we can offer for you to enjoy the delights of Italy.  Come and explore the range!

Animal, Vegetable or... Mineral?Date published: 18/08/13

There is a phrase much bandied about the wine industry at the moment, cropping up in magazines, tasting notes and from the mouths of critics online and in print: Minerality.  It seems to be the flavour du jour, but what exactly do people mean by that?

It tends to be used as a positive descriptor in wines, implying that the wine is of high quality; you won't see a critic using it to describe a £5 wine, but you'll almost certainly see it used when discussing a finely structured claret or Chablis.  It doesn't mean that you can taste actual minerals from the ground, whatever critics might like to think, as any specific minerals from the soil that do make it in to the grape are so far below the taste threshold that they might as well not be there.  Even wine-writers and critics are split on what it means, and when (or whether) to use it at all.  It's a bit like saying something smells salty or saline, just try sniffing some salt.

So what should we think when we see the word 'minerality' used to describe a wine? Exactly what it sounds like. Chances are, the wine has an aroma or flavour that makes the critic think about the smell of wet stone after rainfall, or what they imagine that smell might taste like.  Wine writing can be very subjective; even if what they actually smell or taste are umami flavours like soy, or savory flavours, minerality can be a metaphor.

The wine-writer and critic Hugh Johnston has said that it is best thought of as acidity in the wine, a freshness of character.  When you see it on a tasting note or a label, think of it as that.

If you're interested in this topic, Andrew Jefford wrote an excellent piece on his Decanter blog on the 3rd June.  You can find it here: http://www.decanter.com/news/blogs/expert/583959/jefford-on-monday-the-party-s-over

Dear Doctor Wine...Date published: 09/08/13

Dear Doctor Wine,
A friend told me recently that wines under cork are better than wines under screwcap.  Is he right?
Yours,
Peturbed of Pitfodels

Dear Peturbed,
Your friend is, I fear, talking a lot of twaddle.  While one could argue the point that some of the world's most expensive and sought-after wines do indeed come under cork, and cork only, this does not mean that all cork wines are superior.  Indeed, more and more quality-conscious producers are choosing screwcap over cork closure, as it eliminates the chance of cork-taint entirely.  Wine develops slightly more slowly under screwcap than cork, making it ideal for fresh styles of wine (whites in particular), and so far the - admittedly anecdotal - evidence suggests that wines under screwcap may well develop more complexity.  Think of aging wine like slow cooking; the slower, the better. Personally, I love the convenience of a screwcap, as I don't need a bottle opener to get in to my liquid delights!

Yours,

The Wine Doctor

Dear Doctor Wine...Date published: 05/08/13

Dear Doctor Wine,
I have started to build up a cellar of wines, some to drink now, some to keep for a few years.  I suspect a rack in my kitchen above the cabinets is not a good idea.  How would you suggest I keep them?
Hoarding of Huntly

Dear Hoarding,
This is an enterprise I can applaud; I love buying a case of wines and enjoying them over a period of years to see how they develop! First off, you want a cool place out of direct sunlight, around 12 degrees Centigrade ideally, but the really important thing is that the temperature should not vary overmuch, as sudden temperature spikes in either direction can have an adverse effect on a wine. Secondly, wines closed by cork should be stored on their side so that the closure is kept moist, which ensures a better seal; screw-caps can be stored any which way you like!
If you have access to an underground space, these are ideal for cellarage, as the temperature is far more consistent underground.  If you want to go all-out, you can have a cellar custom-made for you, alternatively you can invest in a wine fridge with zoned temperature control if you want to be very flash.
Yours constantly,
The Wine Doctor


(Wine) Match of the Day!Date published: 04/08/13

After last night's very successful pairing of Fremondo Greco (£7.99) with mozzarella and tomato bruschettini, I've been putting a bit of thought in to what else would go well with this cracking little wine; everything in moderation, and there was no way I was going to drink a whole bottle to myself!

Tonight, I'll be matching it up with grilled salmon fillet served on a bed of rocket tossed with olive oil, roasted red pepper, toasted pine nuts (to play off the fabulously nutty tang in the wine), and crumbled goat's cheese.  See how that works!

And now I'm hungry already...

(Wine) Match of the Day!Date published: 03/08/13

On bright and breezy summer evenings, sometimes a light dinner is just the thing.  Tonight, I'll be preparing myself a few bruschettini topped with diced cherry tomato, buffalo mozzarella, torn fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and finished with balsamic glaze.

For light food like that, something fresh with good acidity to match the bite of the tomato is just what the Wine Doctor ordered. I shall be opting for a rather delicious Italian wine from our range - it may be an easy option to call an Italian wine for an Italian dish, but there's a good reason for that - Fremondo Greco at £7.99 is a perfect match for all the flavours in the dish, with fresh acidity, a swathe of lemony fruit, backed up with a subtle nutty streak.  Pick up a bottle and try it next time you're in!


Dear Doctor Wine...Date published: 31/07/13

Dear Doctor Wine,
I have a bottle of Champagne that I was given by a friend some years ago. When should I drink it?
Yours,
Perplexed of Peterculter

Dear Perplexed,
It depends a lot on the bottle.  If it is a non-vintage champagne (these will not have a year indicated on the label, or will be marked 'NV') then these are best consumed within 2-3 years of release.  Vintage champagne is generally ready to drink on release too, but if it is from a particularly good year, it may keep for a decade.  My rule with champagne is not to fuss over the when, but simply to whizz up some nibbles from the local delicatessen, chill down the bottle, and pop the cork.
Friends optional.
Yours,
Doctor Wine


Match of today!Date published: 31/07/13

I'm going to be cooking some venison burgers tonight, served with some smoked bacon, tomato chutney, and shaved parmesan; I like a good burger!

Burgers of any kind love a juicy wine, so I'll be pairing this up with Yalumba's Bush Vine Grenache (£10.99) from Australia. It's chock-full of berry fruit, ripe and rounded with a really fresh finish. Perfect!


Dear Doctor Wine...Date published: 25/07/13

Dear Doctor Wine,
I am having some friends over for dinner, and plan to cook a Thai Red Curry, probably with duck.  What sort of wine would should I serve?
Yours,
Confused of Ellon

Hi Confused,
With gently spiced food such as Thai Curry, a wine with a big fruity character works really well, especially if it is a touch off-dry in style.  A hint of sweetness in the wine will offset the spice nicely.  The saltiness of the duck will like that gently sweet tang as well.  With that in mind, I would recommend a Gewurtztraminer (GWT = Goes With Thai!) or a Pinot Gris from either New Zealand or Alsace.
Here are a few suggestions:
The King's Thorn Pinot Gris (£9.99) New Zealand Delicately off-dry, packed with nectarine, honeysuckle and a delicious texture.
Trimbach Gewurtztraminer (£13.99) Alsace Benchmark Alsatian Gewurtztraminer, lychee, rose petal and mandarin fruit with blossom and spice.
Yali Gewurtztraminer (£6.99) Chile Great value Gewurtz', with a light texture and lots of tropical fruit, overlaid with rose petal.
Hope your dinner goes well!

Yours,

The Wine Doctor, Aberdeen

So Long, SauvignonDate published: 24/07/13

From a grape whose name was relatively unknown until the 1980s, Sauvignon Blanc has become one of the world's most recognised and enjoyed white wine varieties.  For centuries, it had been enjoyed in the Loire as Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Touraine, Menetou-Salon; in Bordeaux as Graves and Pessac-Leognan; in Burgundy as St-Bris; no-one but those who grew it, and those who made their career in wine, would have cause to know that these wines were all made from Sauvignon Blanc.  Then some bright sparks planted it in New Zealand, and everything changed.

We've fallen in love with the pungent and aromatic grape in all its expressions from smokey, mineral purity to gooseberry and tropical fruit-laden bombs of flavour.  Sometimes, though, we long for a change.  Where to turn, though, that won't disappoint?

If you like the old-world French style, try Domaine Wachau's Weissenkirchen Gruner Veltliner, from Wachau in Austria (£8.99).  Gruner Veltliner shares some of the green fruit and gooseberry character of Sauvignon, and this is a lovely, mineral-tinged example with a delicious peppery finish.

An aromatic variety that has a reputation for being anything but, Pinot Grigio can be outstanding in the right hands; often, those hands are Alsatian, or Kiwi!  Forget the light Italian style, Alsatian Pinot Gris such as the Domaine Zind Humbrecht Reserve 2011 (£12.99) is well worth every penny spent; a richly textured, dry and full-flavoured wine with peach, pear, quince and nectarine supported by a lovely freshness.

Finally, for tropical fruit and green zesty citrus, try Vega de la Reina Rueda Verdejo (£8.99).  Rueda Verdejo can be a delight, and this fresh, pineapple, green fruit and lime-driven wine has a refreshing lift.  Try pairing with some manchego or pecorino cheese for a real treat.

We have plenty of other suggestions for you to try, just ask us in-store!

Prosecco vs. ChampagneDate published: 22/07/13

Prosecco is basically champagne from Italy, right? I mean, it has bubbles in it, just like champagne, so it's the same thing, right?

Not so much!  Bubbles and hefty bottles to cope with the extra pressure are about the only thing the two wines share.  Both taste very different, and are made in very different ways.

Champagne is produced by fermenting a low alcohol base wine from three different grape varieties; Pinot Noir, Meunier, and Chardonnay, grown in the Champagne region of France; these still base wines are then blended together to the desired recipe and flavour by the chef de cave, before being bottled with a dollop of yeast and sugar for it to feed on and closed with a crown cap.  Over an extended period, the yeast ferments all the residual sugars into alcohol, and carbon dioxide which is dissolved into the liquid.  The yeasts die off, becoming what we call the lees, and sink to the bottom of the bottle.  The dead yeasts continue to interact in a process called yeast autolysis, which helps impart that famously rich, biscuit-and-brioche character to champagne.  When the wine has spend the desired time on its lees (minimum 2 years for non-vintage and 3 for vintage), it is then turned slowly so that the lees are all in the neck and cap, which is frozen in brine and ejected, the bottle being topped up with a dosage of still wine and sugar solution to the desired sweetness, and closed with the classic cork.  This process requires a lot of storage space, time, and effort, all of which add to the cost of the wine.

Prosecco, on the other hand, is a much lighter, fruitier style of wine; yeast fermentation in bottle followed by lees aging would add a richness it doesn't want, and mute those fresh fruit characters.  Instead, the still base wine is made from a single grape variety, the artist formerly known as Prosecco, now called Glera, and this base wine undergoes secondary fermentation in a large stainless-steel tank.  This method gives it far less contact with yeast, allowing the fruit to shine through; this is known as the 'Charmat' (or Tank) Method.  This process is far less costly than the Champagne Method used elsewhere, and is the main reason why prosecco is a much less expensive way to enjoy your fizz than champagne.

Like champagne, the majority of prosecco is non-vintage (a blend of wines from the present vintage as well as reserve wines to ensure continuity of style), but whereas a good champagne can develop over a few years and gain complexity, prosecco would lose much of the fruitiness that makes it so appealing with extended aging, and so is best consumed in the short-term.



FAQs: Does Champagne Age?Date published: 26/05/13

The majority of champagne you encounter will be labelled as NV, meaning Non-Vintage.  NV champagnes are generally an expression of the 'house style' of the champagne house in question, and as such they need to taste (very nearly) identical, year in, year out.  In order to achieve this, wines from previous vintages are kept back and stored in inert containers so that they can be blended with more recent vintages.

Another type of champagne is Vintage champagne.  This is a champagne where the grapes (and therefore wines) all come from the same year's harvest (e.g. 1996, 2004), and will be blended from different vineyards in order to create a wine reflective of that particlar year as well as representing the house style.  Vintage champagne must, by law, be aged for longer than is required for Non-Vintage before release.

Once you own the bottle, what then? NV champagnes are released 'ready to drink' and can be enjoyed immediately, however, most will benefit from a year in the cellar before you pop the cork, and some will continue to develop for much longer; Bollinger can be enjoyed on release, but it gets even better if aged for around 3-5 years.  Unless you know the release date for the wine, however, this can be difficult.  Your best bet is to purchase your champagne from a retailer with consistent stock turnover, so you know the bottle is a recent release and hasn't sat on a shelf for years.  Majestic are one of the top retailers for champagne in the UK, and as such, we're a very good place to pick up champagne if you want to be confident of its provenance.

Vintage Champagne is a little different; while you can enjoy it on release, many 'Grande Marques' (think Dom Perignon, Bollinger, Veuve-Cliquot etc.) are best cellared and allowed to mature before drinking.  Other vintage releases, such as Jacquart and Heidsieck, are ready to pop on purchase.  The length of time they should be matured depends on the quality of that particular vintage; 1996 champagnes are highly sought after and still have many years left in them, 1999 and 2000 should be drunk up soon, for example.

As with all things, if you are in any doubt, just ask us and we'll be happy to help!

Ruari's Picks:

Bollinger 'La Grande Année' 2004 - Bollinger is absolutely in my top three of champagne houses, and I adore their house style; the 2004 'La Grande Année' vintage release is a spectacularly good example of a modern classic champagne vintage.  All the power and rich verve of Bollinger with the splendid freshness of the vintage; this will last for years to come.

Laurent-Perrier Brut NV - Where Bollinger is driven by Pinot Noir, Laurent-Perrier celebrates the stylish, peachy fruit of Chardonnay.  This NV Champagne is a great buy for immediate pleasure, but I like to keep mine for around 3 years to allow a honeyed, floral character to develop.

Pol Roger Brut NV - Nowhere is the art of blending as pronounced as Pol Roger, unusual in their use of exactly equal proportions of Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay; every year they blend from different vineyards depending on which matured to the style they require.  It was Winston Churchill's champagne of choice (a man who knew his licquor), and was also the champagne served at the reception for the Royal Wedding of William and Kate.

Heidsieck Monopole Gold Top 2007 - Not all vintage champagne requires cellaring before you can enjoy it; Heidsieck Gold Top is a full, ripe and toasty style of champagne that benefits from the freshness of this cooler vintage and can be enjoyed immediately.  This is a good value vintage champagne at a very competitive price.

Montepulciano... or Montepulciano?Date published: 17/05/13

Italy is home to some of the finest wines in the world, and also lays claim to the greatest number of different varieties cultivated.  As a result,  there are bound to be a few times when the names can get a little bit confusing.  Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, for example, and Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano.  Both say Montepulciano, surely the same?  Not so.

Montepulciano d'Abruzzo is a wine from the grape variety Montepulciano, made near the town of Abruzzo; the wines are medium bodied, and characterised by medium bodied wines displaying red fruit notes and spice with refreshing acidity.  Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a wine made from Sangiovese (Vino Nobile in this case is a synonym for Sangiovese) that comes from vineyards surrounding the town of Montepulciano in Tuscany.  Vino Nobile tends to be slightly fuller bodied, marked by dark cherry fruit, complex aromatic aromas and characteristic high acidity with firm tannins that soften with age.

The easiest way to navigate wines such as this is to remember that the first name is often the style or grape variety, the second is the provenance - for example: Barbera d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti are both made from the variety Barbera, where one comes from Alba and the other from Asti.

Of course, if you're in any doubt about which wine you're looking for, or what they might be like, pop in store or give us a call and we'll be happy to help!  All this week we'll have a range of Italian wines available to try in-store, so it's the perfect time to acquaint yourself!

Vino d'ItaliaDate published: 16/05/13

Right now, Team Sky are pushing pedal to crank to turn perfect circles in the Giro d'Italia, a race often used as a barometer for the Tour de France.
As Bradley Wiggins and his team mates sweat it out on the roads of Italy, we are preparing for our very own tour of Italy.  Call it the Vino d'Italia.  From Friday 17th May to Thursday 23rd May, we will be exploring the wines of one of the oldest wine-making nations in-store.  Italy, home to the Oenotrians (people of the land of the vine), offers a huge range of wines in many styles, from the crisp and lean to the rich and spicy, bracing to the voluptuous.
Like all great winemaking nations, their culture of winemaking revolves around food, but few do it as well as Italy.  Come and explore in store with us and sample some for yourself; we'll have Barberas, Corvinas, Primitivos, Vermentinos, Sangiovese and many more to try.
At the end of the week, just like the Giro, we'll be ending with a sprint finish for our Summer Tasting Evening on the 23rd.  Running from 6.30pm, you can join us to try our picks of the Majestic range for this summer.  Reserve your place by e-mailing us () or by phone on 01224 684487.
We look forward to seeing you!

Decant before servingDate published: 13/04/13

Wine is a curious creature. What other drink requires a specialist tool with which to access it, has an entire array of glassware designed specifically to serve it in? Or requires a special vessel into which it should be poured before it is served?

Corkscrews and fine Riedel glassware aside for a moment, one idiosyncracy of wine bears some explanation.  Many bottles of wine bear the message (or come with helpful instruction from the wine merchant) that they should be decanted before serving.  What does this mean? Why should we bother?

Decanting, simply put, is the act of transferring the contents of the bottle into a vessel where the wine can rest before it is duly poured into our thirsty, impatient glasses.

Why on earth would we bother?  There are a multitude of reasons, but the two most common are these:

> To remove deposit. In older bottles of wine and port, be they white or red, deposits of harmless but horrid-tasting tartrates and sediment can form.  Ideally, we don't want these in our glass. By decanting the wine, we can 'catch' these in the neck of the bottle ensuring that every glass we pour from the decanter is free from an unpleasant surprise.

> To 'breathe' the wine. By pouring the wine we expose it to air, which helps open up the wine's aromas and flavours.  Ever noticed that a bottle of wine can change after the first glass, especially if the second glass is poured a few hours after the first? Decanting a wine oxygenates the wine and leaves a larger surface area open to the air, thus 'unlocking' some of its potentially hidden charactaristics.  Some wines can taste 'closed' or seem lacking when first opened - especially younger fine wines - and decanting these a few hours before serving can help them to be enjoyed at something closer to their full potential.

So what wines should we decant? Well, although you don't always need to, any bottle can be decanted, though some benefit more than others; full bodied reds, old bottles, vintage champagnes and even some rich white wines can all be good candidates for decanting.

If you think your bottle feels like it's missing something, try decanting it and letting it rest for a while before tasting it again.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

How to taste wineDate published: 02/03/13

Open mouth, insert liquid, swallow, enjoy. Right? Not entirely.

There's a big difference between drinking wine, and tasting it objectively. When we drink wine, we certainly enjoy it, but we're not really considering the full qualities of the wine or analysing why we are enjoying it; it tastes nice, we might swirl it around the mouth a bit, but we're more interested in the next sip and the next glass than we are about deconstructing the experience.

Wine tasting brings its own pleasure, and also helps us work out why it is we like certain wines more than others. This understanding can then be applied to our decision-making when picking out other wines to titillate our tongues and tease our tonsils. By considering the wine objectively, we can recognise that some wines are fabulous quality, but not to our personal preference; other wines are very simple, but we enjoy them for that, or not, as the case may be.

Next time you crack open a bottle to enjoy, rather than pouring a full glass right away, pour a small (50ml-ish) measure in to the glass and follow these steps to evaluate the wine before you get stuck in to the enjoying:

Appearance: How does it look? It should be 'clear' (not cloudy), and if it has a colour change between the core and the rim this can help indicate that the wine is developing with age. White wines 'gain colour', and red wines 'lose' colour with age; both become more orange/brown over time.

Smell: Swirl the liquid so it coats the inside of the glass, increasing surface area. Pop your nose in and smell! It shouldn't smell like cardboard (this is usually a fault), but think about the aromas. Is it fruity? What kind? Is it nutty? Woody? How intense are the aromas? Do they jump right out or do you really have to get your nose right in?

Taste: Open mouth, insert, then swirl it all around. Suck some air through to oxygenate it and release the flavours. It is sweet, or dry? Does it feel light or full? If it's red, does it dry out your gums? That's the tannins. Now, how fruity is it, and what kind of fruits? What other flavours are there? Vanilla and cedar? Gooseberry and elderflower? How intense are the flavours? Does it make your mouth water, or your lips pucker? That's the acidity - very important to ensuring that a wine is refreshing, but it's also one of the trickiest things to balance well.

Swallow/Spit: Some see spitting as anathema. It isn't! On longer tasting sessions it's crucial or you'll end up drunk and unable to taste as well. After one of the two, how long do the flavours hang around in your mouth? That's the finish. Did it feel 'hot' or leave a light burning sensation? That's the alcohol.

Evaluate: Finally, think about all the different elements you experienced. A good wine should be nicely balanced, so the alcohol shouldn't feel prominent - the flavours and body of the wine should match it, and the tannins should feel 'right' for the wine. For example, if it's really tannic and really fruity, it's probably too young, but it might come alive when you pair it with food. This is the stage where your judgements can help you decide it it's a really good quality wine (that you either like or don't!), just nice 'drinking' wine, or so badly made that you wouldn't inflict it even on your bolognaise.

After this, you can pour yourself a proper glass and get with the drinking! Believe it or not, taking a few moments to think about the wine really does enhance the experience, and and helps enjoy good wine even more. Thinking about why you enjoyed a wine means you'll be better informed about what you like in a wine for next time you're shopping for it, and makes trying new wines even more exciting.

Next time you're in-store, ask one of the team to talk you through tasting one of the wines on the tasting counter; we'll be happy to guide you through and show you how it's done. If you want to find out even more about wine, you can sign up to the next in-store Wine Course, a 90 minute introduction to tasting wine, food matching, and wine regions of the world; best of all, it's free!

Majestic in Tuscany: Sangiovese in SymphonyDate published: 22/10/12

I put a question to some friends of mine recently: If you could only drink wine from one country in the world, what would that be?

As questions go, for those of us who hold our hands up and freely admit to being wine geeks, it's a little bit like asking a parent to choose between their children; the world of wine is huge. Given that I had asked the question, I had thought about my answer for some time: Italy; no other country has such a history and array of varieties, nor a tradition of crafting wines to go with food. So when I was offered the chance to travel to Tuscany and visit some of the winemakers responsible, how could I pass up such an opportunity?

Our guides and boon companions for this very educational experience were Ruth and Sergio from Enotria. We arrived in Pisa to a somewhat drizzly sky, loading into our hire cars and setting off through the Tuscan hills to our first destination where we would be spending the night, at Fonterutoli.

The Mazzei family who own Fonterutoli have been producing wines from the region since 1435, indeed, the first documentation that refers to Chianti wines specifically requested their wine, so where better to begin? The present winery is a new installation, designed by one of the present generation who has eschewed the wine trade in favour of architecture. Their cellar has a rather unique feature: an exposed cave wall with an underground spring. This combination of subterranean depth and flowing water serves to provide natural temperature control and humidity.

Though we tasted a great many of their wines, including a delicious Morellino di Scansano, one of the stand-outs was their 2010 Chianti Classico. 2010 was set to be a difficult vintage for Chianti, yet is now being hailed as one of the finest since 2007, where the best producers have crafted classically fresh Chianti wines. Fonterutoli have excelled, crafting a wine with dense black cherry with classic smoky fruit, giving way to layers of sandalwood and oak, before leaving fresh red fruits on the finish; a truly elegant, classic wine.

Dinner was served after our tasting, featuring hand-made pasta with local ragu, and one of the most delicious, perfectly cooked steaks that has ever passed my (very appreciative) lips. Each course was paired to the wines, from their Maremma Vermentino, Rosé, and Classico to the top-quality Castello Chianti Classico, underscoring the point that Tuscan wines perform a virtuoso performance with good food.

After breakfast, we set off for a Majestic stalwart: Poliziano, nearby famed Montepulciano. Frederico Caletti's father founded Poliziano in 1961, naming it for the 15th Century poet who hailed from Montepulciano and had been a tutor to the famed Medici family of Firenze. Alongside their flagship Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and excellent Rosso di Montepulciano they produce a Chianti exclusively for Majestic in the UK.

Like Fonterutoli, Poliziano have also invested in vineyard sites in Maremma to include a Morellino di Scansano to their range, the Lohsa, which has featured previously as a parcel in the Majestic range. Their Chianti is soft, with approachable tannins, crunchy acidity and plenty of juicy cherry and red fruit. The 2010 Rosso di Montepulciano exhibited the best traits of the vintage, with bright cherry fruit, plum and damson, fine tannins and a seam of fresh acidity. Tasting the 2009 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano was an exercise in everything that gives Sangiovese its name; it translates as Blood of Jove, better known from the Roman pantheon as Jupiter. Ruby to garnet in the glass, black cherry and strawberry integrated with spice, toast and oak; a masterclass in silken power and freshness.

After a late lunch of Antipasti, hand-made pasta and a Ragu Toscana, we left with thanks still on our lips, and continued our expedition onwards to Montalcino where we would be spending the night at Il Poggione. Our tour was to be given by the present generation winemaker, Alessandro Bindocci, and we could not have asked for a better host. Il Poggione was founded in 1890, when the Florentine Franceschi family purchased the land, and it has been under their ownership since. Production is modest, only 600,000 bottles, of which 200,000 are their flagship Brunello di Montalcino.

Our tasting was conducted over dinner, all of which was made from produce from their farm, from the wines to the wild boar ragu, to the olive oil pressed only the day before we arrived and the grappa that finished off the meal (and finished us!). By almost unanimous agreement, the Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004 was crowned the top wine of the night, with some sympathy for those who declared preference for the Brunello di Montalcino 2006. If dinner the previous night had underscored the point, this meal used calligraphy and fine strokes to make it yet again. Tuscan wine and food are peerless in their partnership.

Our grappa-soaked heads were somewhat tender, but not so much that we could not appreciate the final winery on our tour. A return to Chianti took us to Cecchi, which proved a fascinated counterpoint to the wineries whose productions were very modest by comparison; Cecchi are a relative giant, yet for what some might unfairly call a 'commercial' wine (their Morellino di Scansano, for example, is a production of over a million bottles annually), the quality was gratifyingly high. Where the other wineries we had visited exhibited features specific to their microclimates and local terroirs, Cecchi show Tuscany as a whole.

Over the course of barely three days, we had tasted Chianti, Morellino di Scansano, Vermentino, Moscato, Vinsanto, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Brunello di Montalcino, Super Tuscans and more besides. While Sangiovese was, undoubtedly, the leading light of our experience, it was amazing to discover that even in wines where none was present, there was characteristic cherry-smoke present in the red wines that called it to mind. It is this element which, with characteristic freshness, reveals a true wine of Tuscan terroir.

My thanks, and those of my colleagues, go to all of those at Fonterutoli, Poliziano, Il Poggione and Cecchi who were our gracious hosts and looked after us so kindly; special thanks in particular to Enotria for organising the visit. It was a tremendous experience, and I would recommend a visit to any of these wineries should you have reason to find yourself in Tuscany.

Educational Trip: Marques De La Concordia, or A tale of Cheese, Wine, and Jamon IbericoDate published: 30/09/12

They say that the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.  On arrival at Hacienda Zorita in Castilla y Leon, it was clear that the rain had other plans, which appeared to be mainly to fall on us.  That inauspicious start aside, our group was in high spirits and excited to embark on our experience; it was to be a very interesting insight into the wines of Marques de la Concordia and Hacienda Zorita.

Our hosts Paloma and Louisa from United Wineries, who represent the Hacienda de Espana group of wines, allowed us some time to settle before taking us into the historic city of Salamanca.  We were given a taste of top-quality Tapas at the locally reknowned Casa Paca, where our courses were accompanied by Marques de la Concordia Rioja Reserva 2003.  Unsurprisingly, the wine was a perfect match for the delicious local cheeses and jamon iberico, lomo and chorizo; the soft fruit of the wine and delicous oaky texture, underpinned with fresh acidity which helped cut through all the rich (and oh-so-tasty) fatty food, proved to be a hit.  It was a case in point for keeping Reservas past their release date before enjoying them!

The next day saw a relaxed start with breakfast at Hacienda Zorita, a feast of cake, pastries, hams, cheeses and artisanal breads to set us up for the day ahead.  Our first destination was the Hacienda Zorita Natural Reserve Winery in the Arribes del Duero National Park.  On arrival, we were given a tour of the winery and cellar by the Hacienda Winemaker, Alma Garcia.  It was a great opportunity to ask questions about her approach to winemaking and how the process worked at Hacienda Zorita.  Harvest for this year had not yet started (we were told they would be picking mid-late October), however the Winery was in full-swing as they bottled the 2010 Magister, their top wine.

Perhaps the most striking moment at the winery was when Alma took us in to the Crianza, or cellar, to view the rows of French and American oak barrels, where the precious wines were resting and aging before bottling.  Dimly lit and temperature controlled, the room was full of the scent of the toasted wood barrels; an intoxicating aroma of wood, toast, vanilla, caramel and coconut impregnated the air.  Those aromas are tied so very closely to the wines of Rioja and Ribera del Duero, it was amazing to stand amongst the barrels and breathe it in.

Alma then took us to the tasting room, which sat above the Crianza, where we tasted through the Marques de la Concordia family of wines which includes Marques de Grignon, a simple, fruity Rioja; and the Berberana range, all marked by soft fruit and supple tannins.  The main event began with the Vega de la Reina Verdejo and Sauvignon Blanc, of which the Verdejo stood out brimming with tropical fruit and fresh acidity.  Next came the Marques de la Concordia Crianza 2008, a modern style of Crianza packed with black and red fruits, gentle toast and vanilla; followed by the Reserva 2007, which exhibited softer fruit, but with fine tannins and complex woody aromas from its further time in barrel.  The crown of the Concordia range is the Hacienda de Susar, which is unique amongst Riojas as it has been granted experimental status, and is composited of 85% Tempranillo with 5% each of international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot.  It receives 18 months aging in new French oak barrels before a further time in bottle to settle and develop the wine.  Though still packed with classic Rioja character, it had an impressive fullness and spice, with concentrated fruit and a long finish.

We then tasted Alma's wines, the Hacienda Zorita Crianza (formerly Durius), an impressively fruity, juicy Tempranillo with fine toast, vanilla and complex spice with refreshing acidity; their new Syrah, which stood out for its restraint and precision, far more Rhône than I had expected, marked by brambly fruit, bright mouthfeel and a classic peppery character.  Her top cuvée was a delight, the 2009 Magister, a blend of Tempranillo, Merlot and Syrah, which exuded class and power, though evidently a very youthful wine at this stage.  Unlike the Crianza and Syrah, which are aged in a mix of American and French oak, the Magister is rested only in French Alliers Oak for 18 months before bottling.  Later that day we were able to taste a sample of the 2011 directly from the cask, which was a fascinating insight into the development of the wine and the important role that wood plays in the aging of the wine.

Lunch was in sight, but to get to it, we were loaded into a pair of Land Rovers and driven just over the Portugese border, through the Arribes del Duero National Park, embarking on a boat trip through the Duoro Canyon.  Our guide pointed out the flora and fauna, including vultures, buzzards, eagles, and a pair of goats relaxing on a sheer rock face.  As you do.  The breathtaking scenery left us with an appetite, which was sated with more local produce and some local portugese wines to match them.  Our passage through the park gave us an understanding of the culture and terroir in which the wines are grown, an important factor in any wine of provenance.

It was a long drive back to the Hacienda, but worthwhile, as we were given a tour of the Zorita cellar and told the history of the Hacienda, which had begun as a monastery and had seen such figures as Thomas Aquinas and Christopher Columbus pass through its halls.  Dinner, and you may be forgiven for thinking we did nothing but eat while on this visit, was a luxurious affair cooked in the Hacienda's kitchen and accompanied by the very versatile Vega de la Reina Verdejo and Marques de la Concordia Hacienda de Susar 2005.  Both proved interchangeable with many of the courses (complete with amuse bouche!), which included Hake stuffed with Crab, and the most melt-in-the-mouth Pork Tenderloin that has ever passed my lips.  I was fit to bursting, but found space for dessert nonetheless.  (Chocolate brownie with vanilla and white chocolate ice cream, helped down with some of the Susar - an intriguingly good pairing as I discovered!)

All good things must come to an end, and our third day was to be the last.  Like the song however, the best had definitely been saved for us: a visit to the Hacienda Zorita Organic Farm to learn all about the award winning Cheese and Olive Oil produced at the estate.  We were greeted not only by the Cheesemaker himself, but by a flock of Churas sheep with their very own camoflaged pack-leader Mastiff guard.  The cheese 'factory' is designed to have minimal impact on the environment around it, and much of the installation is underground.  We were given a tour, and the entire process from milk to cheese was explained to us.  Hacienda Zorita run a very small production, deliberately so as to maintain tight control and quality at every stage.

Then came the cheese tasting.

I can quite safely say it took me days to recover fully from what was to follow, an indulgence of the most pleasurable kind.  We were taught how to 'taste' cheese as we do wine, and how to identify a 'good' cheese that has been properly cured from a mediocre cheese.  Minimum requirements for curing mean that producers can knock out a 'cured' cheese in a few short months using accelerated processes, such cheeses will have a darker edge and an almost white centre; properly cured cheese takes time, around 12 months for a 3kg hard cheese, and will have consistent colour, in the case of our cheese, pale hay, with tiny holes in addition to the larger holes caused by trapped air.

We tasted many, all made at the farm; some sheeps cheese, some goats cheese, some hard, some soft, some with edible rinds, some with herb rinds, all delicious, and all accompanied by Vega de la Reina Verdejo and Hacienda Zorita Syrah.  Let no-one ever tell you that you must have red wine with cheese.  The Syrah was fabulous with all of the cheeses, but the Verdejo was a pure delight, tropical fruit and fresh acidity matching the richness of each of the cheeses blow-for-blow.  At the end of the tasting, it was agreed that the thyme rind cheese was one of the most delicious, but truth be known, I'd have any of them!

Also tasted was the Farm's multi-award winning Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which retails (I'm told) for around €15 for a 50cl bottle.  One taste was all any of us needed to understand why the Spanish are deservedly proud of this oil; it was quite unlike any I had tasted before, pungently aromatic with strong aromas of tomato leaf and spice, warm and rounded with a satisfying heat.

Thus did our adventure in Castilla y Leon come to an immensely satisfying end, a mad dash back to Madrid to catch our flights and then home, very sorry to be leaving.  Our experiences at the winery and at the farm gave us a real insight into the ethos behind the Concordia family of wines, particularly their innovation while respecting tradition, and desire to produce the very best without cutting corners and sacrificing values.  Opportunities to meet the people and visit the land upon which it all depends are of great value to those of us at the sharp end of the wine and spirits trade, and this was an experience I shall not soon forget.

Of course, it never hurts when the wines are also really rather good...

Store Events(2)

Free Wine Course

16 October 2014 (18:30 - 20:00)

Like to know more about wine but don't know where to start? This 90 minute introduction sheds light on everything from tasting jargon to how to choose the perfect wine for your meal.

RSVP

Free Wine Course

25 September 2014 (18:30 - 20:00)

Like to know more about wine but don't know where to start? This 90 minute introduction sheds light on everything from tasting jargon to how to choose the perfect wine for your meal.

RSVP

Store Tasting(5)

What we're tasting today...

Meet the team...

  • Annette Morgan Trainee Manager

    I am the newest member of the Aberdeen Team. I love oaky Chardonnays, big chunky Malbecs and luxurious Rieslings. I may be new to the team but I'm no stranger to Aberdeen having lived here for 2 years as a student many moons ago. I'm looking forward to getting to know my new customer base so why not come in and say Hello and share some of your wine stories.
  • James Coleman Assistant Manager

    Just moved up from Edinburgh, continuing my northward migration that started a year ago in Carlisle. I'm a big fan of Barolo, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Riesling Auslese. When not on the wine, I love a long, cool glass of Belvoir Elderflower presse (only £2.00 when you buy 2 or more). Perfect in the Aberdonian sunshine!
  • Pat Atkin Driver

    Pat is responsible for getting wine to our customers throughout Aberdeenshire who aren't able to visit us instore.
  • Robbie MacAskill Manager

    The old man of the team, my Majestic career of almost 7 years has taken me to England, France, various locations throughout Scotland and now to The Granite City . My favourite wine changes regularly with so many new ones to try but I always return to white Burgundy. Pinot Noir, especially from Oregon, Argentine Malbec, Alsatian Pinot Gris and Austrian Gruner Veltliner are favourites too.

How to find us