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Welcome to Majestic

Islington

Contact Information
T: 020 7700 4188
F: 020 7700 6603
E: isl@majestic.co.uk
Opening Hours
Monday 9am - 8pm
Tuesday 9am - 8pm
Wednesday 9am - 8pm
Thursday 9am - 8pm
Friday 9am - 8pm
Saturday 9am - 7pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm
Bank Hol 10am - 5pm
Store Address
2 Holloway Road
London
N7 8JL
United Kingdom

Store facilities

  • Fine wine available
  • Free local delivery
  • Free chiller bin loan
  • Free Wine Courses
  • Free glass loan
  • Free tasting every day
  • Free parking
Store News(281)

The secret to Beaujolais...Date published: 19/10/14

Beaujolais wines are always described as having a very unique characteristic in their fresh, almost confected like flavours. This is down to a certain process that the grapes are vinified which is known as Carbonic Maceration. The general idea behind the process is to keep the wine as fresh possible. 

The key thing which allows Carbonic Maceration to take place is the presence of natural yeasts in the skin of the grapes. The grapes are picked, usually in the night when the temperatures are cooler to preserve the grapes. These are then placed in steel vats and a layer of carbon dioxide is poured over the grapes. Because CO2 is a heavier gas than oxygen it forms a protective blanket that prevents the grapes from oxidizing. Then the natural yeasts get to work and begin to convert the sugars in the grapes to alcohol. Often the grapes burst which lets the fermented juice run from them freely. This wine is then collected and bottled. 


California's finest...Date published: 19/10/14

As one of my favourite wine areas, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about the area and why I think it is one of the best wine producing regions in the world!

California's vineyards were largely wiped out in the 1800s by Phylloxera, meaning it took a while to replant and re-establish the area for wine production. This has largely kicked on since the 1960s and therefore in relative terms is still quite a young wine industry that exists.

The area stretches from north to south alongside the Pacific Ocean, so encounters a lot of different climates from one sub region to the next, however the one thing in common that it lacks is rain. Therefore, irrigation is a key part of the vineyard management so the wines produced are of the best possible quality.

One of the main reasons for my love of California is the full bodied and intensity of flavour that Zinfandel produces. A favourite example of this amongst all Majestic staff and customers alike is the Ravenswood! This is a great example of the grape at its best, a full bodied wine with dried fruit flavours with a well integrated alcohol content this wine is perfectly balanced.

A newer development for my tastes has been Chardonnay, it took until I had tried a very expensive Burgundian Chardonnay that I fully appreciated what this grape variety can produce when on top form. Unfortunately my budget doesn't often stretch to the top wines of Burgundy, so when I discovered some of the Californian Chardonnays much more reasonably priced I was delighted. The Edna Valley and Clos Du Bois Chardonnay are both fantastic wines, full of stone fruit flavours but with an underlying nuttiness and richness. A real bargain fine for myself and something that has really opened up my mind to discovering more Chardonnays.

Having battled with Phylloxera in the past, the extensive and intensive work that has gone into setting up the new vineyard areas gives it great scope for future development and improvement. So the signs are good for the future of California!


Best Champagne House?!Date published: 19/10/14

We have just replenished our stocks of  Krug Grande Cuvee in store so we're exploring what makes this top shelf champagne so special. Krug's uncompromising and single-minded determination to produce the best Champagne is legendary, resulting in unquestionably one of the finest Champagnes in the world.

On the palate you get notes of toasted bread, hazelnut, nougat, citrus and jellied fruits, as well as hints of apple, blossom, almonds, marzipan, sweet spices, brioche and honey.

This wine is an extraordinary blend of over 120 wines from 10 different vintages, some of which may reach 15 years of age. Blending so many vintages gives Krug Grande Cuvee its unique fullness of flavours and aromas.

"All our anecdotes and stories influence our culture, stirring the senses and the heart. In the end, they carry us to where we want to go, to what we want to create: a hand-crafted exquisite Champagne that leaves no one indifferent." Oliver Krug, Sixth generation of the Krug family.

£140  £125


It's pronounced Champagne...Date published: 19/10/14

The Production of Champagne

Whilst some of you were sipping your bubbly over the summer maybe you wondered how this marvellous wine was made. Well never fear because this is what I will be addressing today! There are 8 stages along the way from grapes to glass!

Pressing

There are three primary grapes used in Champagne. These are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. The grapes are pressed very gently in a pneumatic press so as not to release the bitter tannins contained within the stems, skins and pips of grapes. Pinot Noir traditionally makes red wines and this gentle pressing prevents the release of the red pigments within the grape skin.

Primary Fermentation

The three different grape juices are fermented to produce base wines ready for blending. These 'still wines' you would not want to drink however, as they will be very highly acidic and are also low in alcohol. This is due to the cold climate of Champagne.

Blending

The producer will take these base wines and blend them in a way that best suites the style he or she is trying to achieve. In non-vintage wines a producer can use 'reserve wines' that may have been stored for many years with different characteristics to achieve a consistent style. Vintage wines can only have wines blended grapes grown in the same year.

Secondary Fermentation

This blended wine has no sparkle and the secondary fermentation is where the magic happens. A liquid called tirage is added to the wine. This contains yeast, sugar and other nutrients. The bottle is sealed with a plastic cap similar to a beer bottle top and is stacked horizontally. The bottle is left to ferment for six to eight weeks and the alcohol content raises slightly. As the bottle is sealed the carbon dioxide produced has no where to go and dissolves into the wine. Once fermentation is complete the pressure within the bottle is as high as six atmospheres.

Yeast Autolysis

Once the fermentation is complete the yeast die and form a sediment known as the 'lees'. These cells begin to break down and release proteins and other compounds. This influences the flavour of the wine with such characters of bread, biscuit and toast notes. This process typically last four to five years but can last as long as ten. In wines that are aged longer, typically vintage Champagnes, the lees keep the wine fresh and can be left for decades.

Riddling

After a producer has aged the Champagne on the lees for long enough, the remaining yeast sediment needs to be removed from the wine. The process of riddling is when the bottle is slowly tilted forward and twisted to collect all the sediment. This used to be carried out by hand and was very labour intensive and time consuming lasting as long as eight weeks. A hydraulic arm is usually used for tilting taking only eight days and riddling up to 500 bottles a time.

Disgorgement and Corking

The neck of the bottle is submerged in very cold brine which freezes the wine in the neck. The cap is removed and the pressure ejects the frozen wine from the bottle. The bottle is then topped up with dosage, a mixture of wine and sugar is then added, and the cork is then placed on the bottle. The sugar added at this stage will determine the style (ie. Brut, Demi-sec).

Bottle Ageing

The bottle is then aged for a further few months to allow the dosage to fully integrate and for further flavour development sand that is how Champagne is made.


Pass the Port to the left!Date published: 19/10/14

Although you aren't ready to admit it yet, the nights are getting darker and Christmas is slowly approaching! This means that in the next few weeks we are likely to be stocked with lots of Port in preparation for the big day. Here is a little Port fact file for you...

The Douro region in northern Portugal is where the grapes for Port are grown. 

Red Port grapes include: Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Cao. 

The grapes are partially fermented, and then grape spirit, or aguardente, is added, which fortifies the wine and stops the fermentation, leaving sweet, unfermented grape sugar in the finished port. 

Main Port Styles:

Vintage - Finest of the ports matured in bottle, made from grapes from the best vineyards. Vintage port throws a thick sediment, and requires decanting. 

Single quinta - A single-quinta port comes from an individual estate. 

Aged Tawny - Matured in cask for up to 40 years before bottling, older tawnies can develop flavours of nuts and figs. The age will be stated on the label.

Colheita - This is a tawny from a single vintage, matured in cask for at least 7 years. 

Late Bottled Vintage (LBV) - Port matured for 4-6 years in cask and vat,  then usually filtered so there is no sediment in the bottle. 

Crusted - This is a blend of ports from 2-3 vintages, bottled without filtration after 3-4 years in cask. A deposit (crust) forms in the bottle and it will need decanting. 

Ruby - The youngest red port with only 1-3 years' age. It will be bursting with young, spicy fruit.

So if you are looking to stock up on Port for Christmas, keep an eye in store and on our website for when all the delicious port starts to come in.


Grape Focus: GodelloDate published: 19/10/14

Some lesser known grape varieties - No.1 Godello

In case you hadn't noticed, here at Majestic we love wine. 

What we love even more is discovering something new, potentially unusual, and surprisingly delicious.

I want to encourage all our customers to be a bit adventurous (go on, it's not like we'd sell any 'bad' wines) and try something outside their comfort zone. NZ Sauvignon Blanc fans, I'm looking at you...

To kick things off, I've chosen a charming white grape variety grown throughout north-western Spain, particularly in Galicia: 

Godello, often used as a constituent in blends, is gaining increasing recognition as a quality varietal in its own right. Though it still accounts for only a small fraction of the production of Rías Baixas, where Albarino (which you may well have heard of) dominates.

Delicate yet multi-faceted in style - its textured palate boasts citrus, melon and subtle floral notes. A great alternative for you lovers of aromatic whites.

Try the clean, herbaceous Montenovo Godello 2013 Valdesil, or Martin Codax's As Caixas Godello goes down reliably well! 


Goose Island IPADate published: 19/10/14

** BEER OF THE WEEK! ***

The latest addition to our expansive craft beer selection: The Goose Island IPA!

From Chicago's craft brewery Goose Island, comes this India Pale Ale. It recalls a time when ales shipped from England to India were highly hopped to preserve their distinct taste during the long journey. The result is a hop lovers dream with a fruity aroma, off set by a dry malt middle and long hop finish.

£9.99

(down from £12.99, buy 2 save £6!)


Diary of a new traineeDate published: 18/10/14

Part One - Good reds that go well with flamed/grilled meat

Over the past few days several people have asked for recommendations about good reds that go well with flamed and grilled meat. After initially trying to think of something useful to say before quickly asking for advice from the assistant managers, I've now (hopefully!) got some really good reds to recommend.

I've learned that new world reds, such as an Argentinian Malbec or Australian Shiraz, complement flamed or grilled meats really well. A really full bodied red such as the Australian Turkey Flat 'Butcher's Block' Grencache Mouvedre Shiraz goes really well with all red meats, especially chargrilled sausages. Another great Australian red that pairs well with flamed meats is the 2012 Jim Barry Lodge Hill Series Shiraz.

Full-bodied Argentinian Malbecs, such as the Vinalba Reservado Malbec from Mendoza, are real winners when it comes to a barbecue. With ripe dark plum flavours, sweet tannins and hints of chocolate and mocha, the Vinalba Reservado is a wine that gets the mouth watering before tasting!


Guide to Bordeaux vintagesDate published: 18/10/14

2000 Feted as the millennium vintage, described as 'one in a lifetime' and heaped with superlatives, 2000 produced wines of spectacular quality on both banks of the Gironde. Hindsight has not diluted the enthusiasm for the vintage, but the press and trade have lost some of the restraint shown when initially describing the 2000, so almost every subsequent appears to be superior! Wines of power, elegance and concentration abound. Long ageing potential.

2001 A vintage of quality that was under-hyped following the millennium vintage, best described as Classic Bordeaux. Superior to 1999, akin to the 1988 vintage. Elegant and aromatic wines at a fraction of 2000's price. Wines have potential for ageing, most however will never attain sweetness and weight of warmer vintages.

2002 Another year of 'Classic' Bordeaux, with Cabernet based wins on the Left Bank providing many of the highlights. Left Bank wines had potential for extended aging, whereas Right Bank wines provided early drinking highlights. Many wines of interest and quality from this often overlooked vintage. Wines are much lighter than previous 3 years, more perfumed, providing for medium term ageing (up to about 15 years for most wines).

2003 There is only word needed to describe 2003; Hot. Extremely concentrated wines, high alcohol levels and reduced acidity levels prevailed across Bordeaux. Initially thought of as superior to 2000, lack of acidity and over-concentration has led to diminishing interest. Many wines enjoyable after 5 years in bottle, questions abound about long term ageing potential.

2004 A return to a 'Classic' vintage after the over-ripe and somewhat Port-like wines of 2003, 2004 was a somewhat dark vintage of high tannin levels and perfumed Cabernet. The 2004s have somewhat been forgotten compared to its predecessor and successive vintage, but many charming and elegant wines are available. Comparisons to 1988 abound, due to leafy Cabernet Sauvignon aromas and flavours. Great wines have long ageing potential.

2005 Compared to outstanding and legendary vintages such as 1990, 1982 and 1959, the first 'Vintage of the Century' after 2000 and 2003, wines were initially very high in tannin and extract, yet still sweet and elegant on release. Many of the Left Bank wines require prodigious aging before realising their full potential. Most wines are enjoyable now due to sweetness of fruit and tannin but have further development in bottle over 10+ years.

2006 A very good quality vintage, similar in style yet slightly superior to 2004. Described as another 'Classic' vintage of leafy Cabernet, more approachable and elegant when young than previous 'Classics'. Left bank produced powerful wines, very dark fruit flavours and slightly sour tannins.

2007 The curse of seven struck again, following on from 1987 and 1997 as the lesser vintages of the decade. An early drinking vintage, many 2007’s are at their best now and provide easy drinking medium weight wines. 

2008 A vintage that was slated before it was even harvested, both because of a poor spring and early summer, and the onset of the world's financial difficulties. Robert Parker awarded higher scores to the 2008 wines than to many of the 2005s (although these ratings have subsequently softened). Right Bank wines were generally superior to the Left.

2009 Excellent vintage, the greatest vintage of the decade, and in comparisons with other outstanding and exceptional vintages, 2009 is now the only year from the 'naughties' that gets a mention next to '59, '61, '82 and '90. Platitudes that were first espoused in 2000, refined in 2003 and honed in 2005 were brought forth with gusto to describe the quality of 2009 that the wines are living up to, showing seductive and opulent fruit characteristics.

2010 Another fantastic vintage, as good as 2009 for different reasons; where 2009 produced wines georgeous in their youth, 2010 produced more powerful, intense and concentrated wines.


Great new red arrivalsDate published: 17/10/14

We have some fantastic new arrivals in store. Here is a few of them...

Parrilla Malbec 2013, Mendoza £7.99 (Single Bottle £11.99)

Grape variety: Malbec. This wine is made by Bodegas Fabre, makers of the original single-varietal Argentine Malbecs, and is sourced from mature vineyards in Valle de Uco. 50% of the wine has been aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, to achieve a fruity yet complex flavour profile.

A deep ruby colour, this Malbec is crammed with damson, blackberry and plum flavours, accented by touches of oak toast. Smooth, ripe tannins offer a silky finish.

Pair with juicy steaks or sausages 'a la parrilla', or straight off the grill.

Château Moulin Lafitte 2011 Bordeaux, £7.49 (Single bottle £11.99)

Grape Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

A blend made up of approximately one-third of each of its constituent grape varieties, the excellent value Moulin Lafitte is a well balanced claret with a middleweight structure. Matured in tank for around 10 months before bottling.

Lively and fruit-forward, this is an approachable and well-weighted red wine with ample red and black berry character, pleasingly mature tannins and a gently savoury streak.

Drink with all manner of red or white meat dishes, or a selection of cheeses, now or over the next 3-4 years.

San Huberto Malbec 2012 La Rioja, £7.99 (Single bottle £11.99)

Grape Malbec

This wine has been made in a 'reserva' style, having undergone 12 months' ageing in oak barrels. The fruit comes from the Valle de Aminga in Argentina's aptly named La Rioja province, which has deep, sandy soils and a semi-arid climate.

An inky, almost opaque wine with a blackish-purple hue. The flavours are of plum, bramble and ripe blueberries, delivered with a forward, vigourous manner tempered by sweet, spicy oak.

Best enjoyed with red meats seasoned with mild aromatic spices and served with roasted vegetables.


CellaringDate published: 17/10/14

Cellaring wine involves storing young wines until they are at a point where the optimum drinking pleasure can be achieved.

Some wines not only become more interesting with age but can actually require ageing to make them a pleasant drinking experience! The other reason to store young wines yourself for drinking at a later date, is the scarcity of mature wines to be had at a price you'd want to pay. Buy them when they are young at a cheaper price and you just have to wait for the wines to mature.

Medium to high quality wines can benefit from ageing but cheap wines will simply deteriorate. The choice of wine therefore is vital. Also pick wine styles you like! No good having mature wine you don't want to drink. The grape varieties that can age best are (reds) Cabernet Sauvignon Blend, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah and (whites) Chardonnay, Riesling and Sémillon.

For regions, it is safest to stick to Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône, Chablis, Sauternes and the top Piedmont, Super-Tuscans, Mosel, Californian and Australian wines.

Really there are only two places to store your wine; either in a wine warehouse (either with the merchant from whom you bought it or another warehouse) or at home. Wherever the wine is stored, it should be on its side, lying down; at a steady temperature between 8 - 13°; in the dark and away from vibrations.

For more on buying wine en primeur and long-term storage why not pay a visit to the folks at Lay & Wheeler at www.laywheeler.com


Craft Beer focus: IPADate published: 17/10/14

Most people love the occasional IPA, but what exactly is an India Pale Ale..??

The term pale ale originally denoted an ale that had been brewed from pale malt. Pale ale started off lightly hopped and quite different from later pale ales. But as brewing processes evolved over the next half century, pale ale was mostly manufactured with coke-fired malt, which produced less smoking and roasting of barley in the malting process, and produced a paler beer.

One such variety of beer was "October beer", a pale well-hopped beer which became popular among a richer audience, and was brewed widely at home and could be cellared for a couple of years.

India didn't come into the story until George Hodgson began selling his "October beer" to the East India Trading Company. Apparently the long sea voyage and ship's conditions benefited the beer. Over the next few decades, due to various new taxes and duties involved in the sale of beer in Europe, many brewers were forced to look at other sources of revenue. Following Hodgson's lead, many brewers began making a similar style and the term "India Pale Ale" starts getting used. With their global trade routes, the British IPAs find their way into America and became very popular and have since evolved into an almost signature style.

An India Pale Ale is a very "hoppy" tasting style that you either love or hate. The flavour is almost citric and bitter, but has a very refreshing palate. Served cold, it is a lovely change from generic tasting lager. 

At Majestic we have a few options that are excellent examples: Goose Island, Curious IPA and Punk IPA. 

They form part of our "craft beer" selection, all priced at £9.99 for a pack of 6 (when you buy any 2 packs)


Sancerre Comte Lafond is back in stockDate published: 16/10/14

Sancerre Comte Lafond 2013 Ladoucette

£25.00

When you buy any 2 selected fine wines!

Ladoucette is one of the top Pouilly-Fumé producers and this is his marvellous Sancerre. Refined and elegantly balanced it boasts an aromatic complexity of ripe gooseberries and rhubarb.


Veuve Clicquot only £29.99Date published: 16/10/14

Need I say much about Veuve? The iconic orange label is enough to twig anyone in the know about champagne. Sponsors of Polo events, the first house to invent the crucial 'riddling rack' and the progenitors of sabreage (opening a bottle of champagne with a cavalry sabre!) Veuve Clicquot is as historic as it is delicious.

Oh yeah, and did I mention we're currently selling for £5 less than the cheapest super market?

Veuve Clicquot Champagne, £29.99 per bottle.


Come and meet the new team!Date published: 16/10/14

If you've noticed a few new faces here at Islington then you've met some of the new team!

We all have several years in the wine industry both within and outside Majestic. 

We all come from different backgrounds and have different areas of specialty, so we'll definitely be able to find you the ideal bottle.

We look forward to seeing you soon!


Shiraz and SyrahDate published: 16/10/14

In a nutshell - yes.

However, it isn't quite that simple, they are the same grape but a bottle labelled as Syrah will rarely taste the same as one named Shiraz.

In France they tend to use the word Syrah and produce a very elegant wine with a real focus on the spicy and peppery edge of the grape. A fantastic example of this is the Hermitage region in the Rhone valley where there is a pronounced peppery note on the wines.

Conversely in Australia, arguably the home of Shiraz, they produce big beefy wines with much more emphasis on the fruity and meaty aromas of the variety. But in Australia, and in other New World sites, the word Syrah is used to denote a more restrained (French) style of wine.

Keep an eye out for the different styles we have and maybe try a selection next time you pop in!


Wine of the WeekDate published: 14/10/14

Corolla, Nero d'Avola, 2012, Sicily


Brand New in!


Our wine of the week is a delicious red from Sicily. Sicily is the largest of Italy's wine regions and Nero d'Avola is its most traditional variety of red. Nero d'Avola's home town, d'Avola, is found in the south-east corner of Sicily where temperatures often exceed 40 degrees Celsius. Despite the heat, Nero d'Avola reds are among the best to come out of Italy. They are known for being balanced, elegant wines with fine tannins and a plum and mulberry character.


The Corolla is made in a modern style and has a pleasing black fruit flavour, especially of blackcurrant, with hints of black pepper. Aromas and flavours of light red fruits - raspeberries and redcurrants - give the wine a refreshing clean finish. The wine has middleweight tannins which help give it a pleasing texture which makes it very easy to drink on its own, but it's also great with food.


The Corolla will go especially well with hearty winter dishes such as a lamb casserole, beef stew or beef ragu.


£6.74 Buy any 2 selected wines and save 25%


OR


£8.99 single bottle(as part of a mixed case)

New Guest Ale - Proper Job!Date published: 08/10/14

Starting this month Majestic is launching a new concept where by we will receive a new "Guest Ale" from local sources. This months ale is Proper Job which could be described as being a traditionally styled IPA but with a somewhat spicy modern twist. Proper job is brewed blending the imported hops Cascade, Chinook and Willamette which give it a citrusy tang and is stylistically somewhere between the traditional English pale ale and the new American IPA's. 

To keep new guest ales coming in, Proper Job is only available whilst stocks last. Proper Job is also our beer of the month and a will be available on our tasting counter for you to try. 

Wine of the week - Alsatian Ace...Date published: 08/10/14

Clos St Jacques Riesling

 £14.99 or buy any 2 'save 33%' 

= £9.99

We're excited about this fresh, new arrival on our tasting counter this week! Come in  and have a taste. 

Why so good? We've chosen this beautiful Alsatian Riesling as our wine of the week  to show you how good quality Riesling should taste.

Swirl, smell and sip...A dry, crisp white with classic lemon and lime character of the Riesling grape. It has a soft floral edge which makes it very appealing.Beautifully clean and elegant on the palate, this is a sophisticated , balanced number to impress friends.A great aperitive  or partner to food. Think Peruvian ceviche, or scallops and pea purée
Love or hate it? Let us know what you think of our wine of the week! @majestictwi #wineoftheweek 

Cheers!


Prosecco- an insight into the fizz that's sweeping Britain!Date published: 08/10/14

Why does everyone love Prosecco at the moment? Is it because of its mellow fruit flavours? That subtle hint of sweetness that makes it devilishly easy to drink? Its lightness a delicacy? Or just that it's half the price of champagne and still goes pop?!

We'd wager all the above, but whatever your justification, Prosecco is popular and delicious! Made in northern Italy using a grape called glera (this used to be named Prosecco too, but had to be re-titled to stop cheap knock offs), Prosecco offers an ease of drinking not seen by other sparkling wines due to the neutral fruit flavours of the aforementioned gape and the way it's made (we won't go into too much detail here, but it basically involves a big tank, some very large bubbles and no aging!).

One last word on the fizz that defines Italy- if you're ever having a competition to see how far you can fire a cork (a super middle class pass-time) back Prosecco. The tank, of charmat method in which it is made and the fact that it's a very young wine imparts way more fizz to it than a champagne. Wager £10 on the contest, and hey presto, you've got enough for another bottle!

Our current offers (8/10/14) on Prosecco:

£6.66 Soffia DOC

£6.66 Rivamonte DOC

£7.99 Zonin DOC

£7.99 Pasqua DOC

£8.66 La Marca Treviso DOC

£9.99 La Marca Cuvee DOCG

Tip- look for words like Connegliano and Treviso in the names of your prosecco, these denote the better growing areas in the region. Also study the tag around the cork- DOCG means it is subject to yearly taste tests by the ministry of agriculture (what a great job...) so has to meet a certain quality standard.


Short Term Deal - Gestos MalbecDate published: 08/10/14

Gestos Malbec 2013 Finca Flichman, Mendoza

One of Flichman's top wines, combining the unique characteristics of two terroirs in a single grape variety. Tupungato at 1,100m altitude gives freshness and structure while Barrancas, at 700m, adds colour and density. Aged for over 6 months in American and French oak.

An intense red colour leads to aromas of plums combined with delicate oak, spices and chocolate. Red berry fruit continues on the palate where it is met with a hint of herbal spice.

A complex wine and a perfect match with steak or rich sausages. Alternatively, at the end of a meal with a chocolate filled pudding.

£9.99 £6.66

Buy 2 save 33%


She's a Lady....Date published: 07/10/14

Remember Mister Shiraz? Well this is his Lady Sauvignon - with characteristic garish label she's hard to miss!  She's on taste this weekend too!

Chilean Sauvignon is perfect for those who want to try something different to New Zealand fruitilicious wines.

Casablanca Valley is thought of as Chile's first cool-climate wine region. Its first vineyards were planted in the mid-1980s and quickly established a reputation for producing crisp, focused white wines, owing to the cooling effects of maritime fog and sea breezes. Lithe and lively Sauvignon Blanc that showcases Casablanca's trademark style. Invigorating tropical fruit aromas and herbaceous notes are set against a backdrop of tangy, refreshing citrus. Chill well and enjoy on its own or with fresh seafood.


Members of the MCC- A message for you!Date published: 07/10/14

MCC Card Holders

Do you have an MCC Card with us?

Good news! If you are lucky enough to have a Marylebone Cricket Club Card you will now receive 10% discount in any Majestic store, plus, the monthly limit has been increased to £500. 

Howzat!


A great new £4.99 wine.Date published: 07/10/14

Silver Ghost Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Central Valley

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape in Chile, and was among the first of the noble varieties to have been brought over from Europe in the mid-1800's. This example is made by one of the Central Valley's major wineries, based in Cachapoal.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape in Chile, and was among the first of the noble varieties to have been brought over from Europe in the mid-1800's. This example is made by one of the Central Valley's major wineries, based in Cachapoal.

A versatile pairing for many foods, from spicy kebabs to roasted veg.

£4.99


What is Phylloxera?Date published: 01/10/14

A few vine cuttings from the New World brought to Europe spread a tiny insect called Phylloxera vastatrix, which feeds on the roots of vines. The only way to save all of the European grape vines was to graft native American vines to the European rootstocks. While some European vines are justifiably hallowed, none of them are pristine and without an American element after the mid 1800s.

Carmenere explainedDate published: 27/09/14

Carménére is originally a Bordeaux grape variety that was abandoned due to pests attacking and ruining the crops. Due to this the grape moved location to Chile, with a lot of wines combining it with Merlot in the 19th century. 

The grape was identified in 1994, originally thought to be Merlot, it is very similar in terms of being a light, low tannin wine. Much investigation has undergone trying to seperate Carménére from Merlot, however so far there have been no major notable differences to be found. It is a late harvesting grape that is more successful in hotter climates with more sunlight. Therefore the grape has been a lot more successful after being cultivated into Chile than when it was originally planted in Bordeaux. The wine benefits from a full bodied, deep black fruit characted and is known to have slight hints of tobacco, oak and a slight smokiness which adds a little complexity to the wines taste. 



#CellarCircle - Start your Wine adventure with our exciting new #FineWine Service!Date published: 19/09/14

Start Your Wine Adventure With Cellar Circle!

If you love the idea of building a cellar full of diverse and exciting wines, or if a 10% discount here at Majestic would be invaluable, we have the answer for you! Majestic and Lay & Wheeler, our fine wine partner, are very proud to launch Cellar Circle, giving  you all the support and advice you need to realise the cellar of your dreams. You decide the level of guidance that you require, and your own personal adviser will always be on hand to answer any queries.

Membership starts from £100 a month, all of which will go towards your wines. Exclusive benefits and rewards include:

· 10% discount at Majestic Wine

· Free delivery to any Majestic Wine store, for collection at your convenience

· One year’s free professional wine storage for customers new to Lay & Wheeler

· A free case on the first anniversary of your membership, as a thank you from the Cellar Circle team.

For more information and to sign up visit www.cellarcircle.com. You can also give the team at Lay & Wheeler a call on 01473 313300, or to find out more, pop in and have a chat with us in store.

Join us on facebook www.facebook.com/cellarcircle


Fine wine of the week - Reserve de la Comtesse de Lalande 2006 Pauillac £37Date published: 12/09/14

Fine wine of the week - Reserve de la Comtesse de Lalande 2006 Pauillac £37

This is the second wine of the 'super second' estate Château Pichon Lalande 2006 Pauillac, 2ème Grand Cru Classé. It has higher proportion of Merlot than the big sister wine at 32% and this lend a weighty, velvety smoothness that is totally flattering. Though very approachable now, it will definitely reward further ageing and should begin to peak at about 2018, where it should remain and age effortlessly and gracefully for a decade at least. 

I had this with a selection of cheeses, though it would also go very well with game, a nice black grouse with a clove bread sauce or a haunch of venison would be sublime. It had plenty of red and black cherry on the initial attack, with cassis and sweet spice, (vanilla, cedar wood, perhaps a hint of clove) coming through on the mid palette after some time in the decanter. An elegant graphite mineral finish, rounded of what is a very well balanced wine with a long elegant finish, real treat to drink. 

New Arrivals - WhitesDate published: 12/09/14

We're always excited by new arrivals, but the latest batch of newcomers are becoming fast favourites among Majestic staff!

Graham Beck Sauvignon Blanc, Coastal Region, South Africa (£5.99)
If you find the New Zealand Sauvignons over the top, with their intense passionfruit and grass flavours, you'll be relieved to taste this beautifully balanced Sauvignon from Graham Beck. There's still crisp gooseberry and mango, but all balanced against a bright acidity. A no-brainer to pair with roast cod loin. 

Trebuchet Chardonnay, Western Cape, South Africa (£6.66)
Forget about the over-oaked Chardonnays you've tasted before. This is a wine of soft fruit, perfect balance of rich texture and fresh acidity, and an ideal match for crab or prawns. A massive hit from our first sip!

Barbi Grechetto, Umbria, Italy (£6.66)
If you like Pinot Grigio, this wine offers a similar soft, pear character, but packs more fruitiness into the bottle. Great with a grilled chicken salad, or simple pasta dishes. 


The Parcel Series, Shiraz, Clare Valley 2012Date published: 12/09/14

The Parcel Series, Shiraz, Clare Valley 2012

£9.99 each or

£6.66

When you buy two or more.

An exclusive bottling for Majestic, of a rare high-quality Shiraz. A special parcel of a high quality, 'when it's gone it's gone' has never been more applicable. From the prestigious Clare Valley on the outskirts of Adelaide this has undergone a year in French and American oak.

Fruit-focused, it also has hints of spice and savory notes. Perhaps not as full bodied as some Auzzie Shiraz, this instead offers a smooth finish that develops with every sip.

Snap it up whilst you can at this bargin price!


Samuel Adams Boston LagerDate published: 12/09/14

This fantastic larger is on a special offer at the moment and well worth the money. 

This is the lager that kicked off the whole Samuel Adams brand and is still their flagship craft beer.

Price

Case of 24 x 330ml bottles £24 (only £1 per bottle!!)


Fancy trying something new? - Plage Du Sud Alicante 2013Date published: 12/09/14

Grape

Syrah-Shiraz, Alicante

Origin

Alicante Bouchet, to give it its full French name, is notable for being one of the few red grapes that has red flesh as well as red skin. It produces richly coloured yet soft wines, and this example has been blended with Syrah for added complexity and structure.

Taste

Deep, dense cherry red wine offering a lush, juicy palate of ripe red berry flavours with a rounded, mouth-filling texture. Subtle aromas of violets, vanilla and pepper.

Enjoy

Great partner for pizza and roasted vegetables.

Price

Single bottle £9.99 or

£6.66 when you buy any two or more bottles on the 33% off offer 


Fantastic Champagne Deals!!Date published: 12/09/14

Once again we have a lovely selection of Champagnes reduced by 33% and three of them are my favourite!!!

Perrier Jouet Grand Brut at £24.99 - The style is friendly and open, with a refreshing ripeness to the soft, appley fruit and a zesty mousse. Perfect with canapes and ideal as an apéritif.

Louis Roederer Brut Premier NV at £29.98 - From the maker of Cristal, 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.

Pol Roger Reserve NV at £33.31 - Pol Roger's historic underground cellars are 33m deep and average particularly low temperatures. They thus provide an environment uniquely suited to slow fermentation, and are responsible for this Champagne's famously super-fine mousse.

By far and away these are my three favourite Champagnes... not to be missed on these offers so try and find an excuse to pop a cork!


New Arrivals: Spanish reds under £10Date published: 12/09/14

MO Monastrell 2012 Alicante - £6.66 (Buy any 2 save 33.3%)

The Sierra Salinas winery was founded in 2000 in Villena, in the DO of Alicante, to make modern wines mainly from traditional indigenous grapes. In this case Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Monastrell (Mourvèdre) are used. 

Deep violet-tinged crimson, this wine offers a pleasing balance between youthful vigour and polished maturity. Bramble and cherry combine with lightly savoury spice and balsamic flavours.

A great match for Mediterranean cuisine. 

Finca Resalso 2013 Emilio Moro, Ribera del Duero - £8.99 (Buy any 2 save 25%)

Finca Resalso is a collection of vineyards ranging from 5 - 15 years of age; the youngest vines in the Emilio Moro estate. The wine is a lighter alternative to their signature wine, still of 100% 'Tinto Fino', having undergone less extraction and oak ageing.

Dominated by primary fruit character, combining ripe mulberry and cherry with forest fruit characters. Subtle notes of liquorice and spice add a hint of savoury depth.

Merguez, Chorizo and Jamón ibérico are all ideal pairings


Curious Brew Lager back in stockDate published: 12/09/14

Chapel Down Curious Brew

Chapel Down as a winery has became very popular in the past decade. With multiple awards to their name, and lots of excellent press coverage this flourishing business it set to be the future of English wine.

There are many difficulties a British wine firm has to take into account when it comes to creating a wine worthy of the current market. The major issue being of course, weather. Lack of heat and too much rain can completely ruin a crop. However, with cultivating a greater area of land to vine, one can hope the excess grape juice can be stored in stainless steel tanks for many years to come.

What is unique about this beer is that they ferment it with Champagne yeast which adds a distinct flavour I have tasted in no other. With the Curious Brew winning a gold medal award at the International Beer Festival, this distinct flavour is clearly desirable. 


Discover CarmenereDate published: 09/09/14

Carménére is originally a Bordeaux grape variety that was abandoned due to pests attacking and ruining the crops. Due to this the grape moved location to Chile, with a lot of wines combining it with Merlot in the 19th century. 

The grape was identified in 1994, originally thought to be Merlot, it is very similar in terms of being a light, low tannin wine. Much investigation has undergone trying to seperate Carménére from Merlot, however so far there have been no major notable differences to be found. It is a late harvesting grape that is more successful in hotter climates with more sunlight. Therefore the grape has been a lot more successful after being cultivated into Chile than when it was originally planted in Bordeaux. The wine benefits from a full bodied, deep black fruit character and is known to have slight hints of tobacco, oak and a slight smokiness which adds a little complexity to the wines taste. 


A great, great wine...Date published: 09/09/14

Of these, one of our best sellers and store favorites is the De Morgenzon 2013 Stellenbosch.

Recently opened on our the tasting counter this wine won a lot of acclaim, especially with those of us who were not particularly fans of Chenin Blanc. 

Made solely from Chenin Blanc.

Situated on slopes stretching from around 200-400 metres above sea level, 'The Morning Sun' vineyards are so named as they are the first parts of the Stellenbosch valley to receive the sun's light each day.

This Chenin is gloriously rich, with fermentation in barrel and lees ageing adding notes of honey on top of the rich oak and dazzling tropical fruit.

A powerful and full-bodied white like this really needs food, and would really suit a hearty roasted pork belly dish.

A very impressive wine and an absolute bargain at  £16.99 each when you buy 2 or more.

New Fine Albariño- Organistrum 2011 Martin CodaxDate published: 09/09/14

This spectacular Albariño comes from a selected south-west-facing plot, which tends to ripen earlier than the rest of Martin Codax's vineyards. Fermentation begins in stainless steel under temperature control, and is completed with a brief period in French Allier oak. The wine has a medium-intensity nose that is subtle and complex, with notes of stone fruit, vegetal tinges and nuanced with spice. Excellent roundness and enduring acidity provide a firm and characterful palate.

£25.00 Buy 2 bottles save £10 = £20.00


Craft Beer of the WeekDate published: 09/09/14

Craft Beer of the Week

Einstock Pale Ale

Made 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the brewery takes it's water from local rain and prehistoric glaciers whichflowed through the lava fields and waterfalls resulting in the purest of waters.

An interesting combination of hops (Cascade, Hallertau Tradition and Northern Brewer) conspire to produce an lightly, but noticeably, hoppy style matched maltiness and with a gentle bitterness.

Refreshingly Icelandic”

£13.99 per six-pack or £10.99 when you buy any 2 packs of craft beers.


Do you like our L'Extra par Langlois Brut, NV?Date published: 09/09/14

Do you like our L'Extra par Langlois Brut, NV?? Then you will love the brand new L'Extra par Langlois Rose, NV!!

Made from 100% Cabernet Franc, this fantastic Sparkling wine is made by the Langlois-Château which has been owned by the Bollinger family since 1973, and is recognised as one of the Loire's premier producers of sparkling wine. This rosé is made from Anjou-Saumur-sourced grapes, and rendered sparkling using traditional bottle fermentation. It's delicate and peachy pink in colour and similarly delicate in aroma, with light summer berry and gentle leafy notes coming to the fore. Fresh, clean and easy-drinking. This fantastic Sparkling wine would be superb for a garden party or wedding reception.

It's part of our Mix and Match promotion so it's yours for just £9.99 a bottle!!! (Single bottle price: £14.99)


Great new offers starting todayDate published: 09/09/14

Today, we have introduced some fantastic improved deals.

Hurry, as the offer is for 2 weeks only and ends 3pm Monday 22nd September.

Pinot Grigio Rose £8.99, or buy any 2 wines from our 33% off selection = £5.99

Gavi Montiero £8.99, or buy any 2 wines from our 33% off selection = £5.99

Rioja Crianza Vina Eguia £9.99, or buy any 2 wines from our 33% off selection = £6.66

Prosecco Rivamonte NV £9.99, or buy any 2 wines from our 33% off selection = £6.66

Prosecco Zonin NV £11.99   £6.99 SPECIAL OFFER!!

Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial NV £43.50,  or buy any 2 wines from our 33% off selection =£28.98

You can place your order on-line via www.majestic.co.uk, over the phone on 0207 700 4188, or pop in and see us in store.  Don't forget minimum purchase is 6 bottles, any mix.


Having A Party? This Is How Much You Need!Date published: 06/09/14

One of the most common questions we are asked by people planning a party, or even just a slightly larger gathering than usual, is how many glasses you can get out of a bottle. The guidelines below are a handy crib sheet to keep on you when planning something big - but remember, the quantities are based on our Majestic glass sizes (available for hire). The wine glasses are approximate to a pub standard sized small, about 125ml, and the flute are similarly on the small side!

One bottle of sparkling wine = 6 flutes 

So for 10 guests you will need 3 bottles (18 flutes glasses)

For a sit down dinner we recommend 1/2 bottle of wine per head.

One bottle of wine = 5 glasses 

So for 10 people 5 bottles will be perfect etc (25 glasses)


New Fine Albariño- Organistrum 2011 Martin CodaxDate published: 06/09/14

Organistrum Albariño 2011 Martín Códax, Rías Baixas

Grape: Albariño

This spectacular Albariño comes from a selected south-west-facing plot, which tends to ripen earlier than the rest of Martin Codax's vineyards. Fermentation begins in stainless steel under temperature control, and is completed with a brief period in French Allier oak. The wine has a medium-intensity nose that is subtle and complex, with notes of stone fruit, vegetal tinges and nuanced with spice. Excellent roundness and enduring acidity provide a firm and characterful palate.

£25 or £20 when you buy two or more.


New South African Wines!Date published: 06/09/14

We have had a few new wines come in to store, in particulary from South Africa. Therefore here's a rundown of what is new in South Africa:

Fish Hoek Malbec 2014, Western Cape:

A dark ruby colour with purple flashes, this is a deeply fruit-driven wine that offers an abundance of ripe bramble, plum and black cherry fruit, with hints of smoky spice. Enjoy with char-grilled steaks. Only £5.99 when you buy any two wines from our Summer Selection. 

Trebuchet Red 2012, Western Cape:

Deep garnet-purple colour, offering flavours of of ripe blackberries and plums, accompanied by earth undertones. Firm tannins provide ample weight and structure, smoothed by gentle oak. Enjoy with rib steak. Only £6.66 when you buy any two wines from our Summer Selection.

Graham Beck Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Coastal Region:

Full of intense gooseberry and passion fruit flavour, offset by subtle notes of ripe figs, lemongrass and capsicum. Crisp, lively acidity and an enduring, stony finish. Partner with flavourful barbecued fish. Only £5.99 when you buy any two wines from our Summer Selection. 

Ondine Shiraz 2013, Western Cape:

A backbone of wild and black berries, with characteristic hints of cloves and other sweet spices. The tannins are weighty and abundant, yet soft and ripe in texture.


New in: Fish Hoek MalbecDate published: 06/09/14

NEW ARRIVAL : Fish Hoek Malbec 2014 Western Cape

The Fish Hoek range of wines was the brainchild of Bruce Jack, founder of Flagstone Winery, which is famously housed in an old dynamite factory on the outskirts of Cape Town. This wine is a blend of Malbec with 10% Pinotage.

A dark ruby colour with purple flashes, this is a deeply fruit-driven wine that offers an abundance of ripe bramble, plum and black cherry fruit, with hints of smoky spice.

Pair with char-grilled steaks, or cream of sun-dried tomato soup.

£8.99 or buy ANY 2 bottles from the 33% offer = £5.99

Riesling - the Wine Trade's Favourite GrapeDate published: 06/09/14

Riesling is one of my favorite grapes.  Much maligned since the 80's, where people associate it with sweet Liebfraumilch; even though much was made with Muller Thurgau or Silvaner grapes.  Riesling can often be dry these days, and when it's from the New World can be dry and around 13% alcohol.  

 We have a few styles from Australia and New Zealand.  One is the Jim Barry Lodge Hill Riesling, recommended by Jancis Robinson and winner of a Bronze Decanter Award.  Zippy citrus with a finish of mandarin and peach, this is a great example of a modern Riesling which has some of the delightful German qualities of old, and it's only £12.49


New Web Exclusive ParcelDate published: 06/09/14

Web Exclusive MOSEL RIESLING PARCEL

Straight from Germany, our latest special parcel is a delicious bunch of mature Mosel Riesling from two historic producers.

We can’t resist the focused, pure, peach fruit and floral nature of Mosel Riesling plus the perfectly poised balance between ripe natural sweetness and mouthwatering acidity.

Don’t miss out – shop online by 3pm, 10 September or until stocks last. http://www.majestic.co.uk/mosel-riesling-parcel


The Big DebateDate published: 06/09/14

Screwcap or cork?

We are now seeing evermore wines bottled under screwcap. They certainly provoke debate, with many displeased with their appearance as well the loss of the ceremony of opening a bottle sealed with a cork. A myth that immediately needs dispelling is that wines do not age under screwcap as it is a perfect seal. This is untrue, a screwcap is far from a perfect seal and does allow some oxygen ingress. More expensive screwtops are even designed to allow a prescribed amount of oxygen transfer into the bottle. What's more, after trials by many wineries, wines are said to age better under screwcap and certainly more consistently than under their natural counterparts. It is estimated that 1-3% of bottles sealed by cork suffer from the dreaded cork taint. Admittedly very long term aging of wines hasn't been completed under screwcap and screwcaps often can give 'reductive' aromas and flavours in younger wines; where sufficient oxygen hasn't entered the wine to prevent sulphur compounds forming. Many screwcap advocates will, however, say that this can be easily dealt with if the wine is treated correctly at the winery. 

In all honesty it is hard to present a case for corks. They are a natural, renewable resource and cork forests do support a huge and diverse ecosystem and harvesting the bark of the cork trees is actually essential to sustaining this. That is probably the best I can say for them. I think that it is very telling that when the Plumpjack Winery of Napa Valley put half of its $150 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon under screwcap and half under cork, the screwcapped wine sold out first. I certainly know which closure I would prefer my most precious bottles to have.  


South Africa wine tasting- Book now!Date published: 06/09/14

Free Spotlight Tasting: Wines of South Africa Thurs 11/09 6.30pm

We're still taking bookings for our free tasting we're running in store next week.

A half hour introduction to South African wines whilst sampling 6 different and delicious examples. One of our team will be on hand to talk you through our selection, covering things like climate, grape varieties and winemaking. All stuff we love talking about as much as we like tasting wine too! 

Why not come in to taste, learn and explore.

Sign up by sending us an e-mail to isl@majestic.co.uk or call us on 0207 700 4188


Corte Alta Prosecco? NO! Meet Rivamonte...Date published: 06/09/14

We are sad to say that we are no longer selling the Prosecco Corte Alta but are glad to say that we have replaced it with this great party fizz that is excellent value for money and sure to be a crowd pleaser. Currently selling for just £7.49 as an introductory offer get the bubbles flowing at your next event.

https://www.majestic.co.uk/Prosecco-Rivamonte-zid23043?tracking=|searchterm:rivamonte


Bargain New World Pinot NoirDate published: 06/09/14

First Class Pinot Noir: £5.99 when you buy any 2 Summer Selection Wines

This wine is sourced from the Casablanca Valley and vinified at a state-of-the art winery in neighbouring Maipo Valley. Following a cold soak, the grapes are fermented with selected yeasts, and matured without oak for a fruit-focused character.

Jam-packed with red fruits on both nose and palate, this Pinot Noir is awash with raspberry, strawberry and redcurrant fruit, framed by supple tannins and gentle hints of floral and pepper hints.


Argentina Spotlight Tasting Thursday 4th Sept, 6.30pmDate published: 30/08/14

Join us for a fun-filled half an hour tasting all things Argentinian. From big, robust Malbecs to exploring their expressions of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Spaces limited, RSVP required.

What is an India Pale Ale?Date published: 22/08/14

The term pale ale originally denoted an ale that had been brewed from pale malt. Pale ale started off lightly hopped and quite different from later pale ales. But as brewing processes evolved over the next half century, pale ale was mostly manufactured with coke-fired malt, which produced less smoking and roasting of barley in the malting process, and produced a paler beer.

One such variety of beer was "October beer", a pale well-hopped beer which became popular among a richer audience, and was brewed widely at home and could be cellared for a couple of years.

India didn't come into the story until George Hodgson began selling his "October beer" to the East India Trading Company. Apparently the long sea voyage and ship's conditions benefited the beer. Over the next few decades, due to various new taxes and duties involved in the sale of beer in Europe, many brewers were forced to look at other sources of revenue. Following Hodgson's lead, many brewers began making a similar style and the term "India Pale Ale" starts getting used. With their global trade routes, the British IPAs find their way into America and became very popular and have since evolved into an almost signature style.

An India Pale Ale is a very "hoppy" tasting style that you either love or hate. The flavour is almost citric and bitter, but has a very refreshing palate. Served cold, it is a lovely change from generic tasting lager. 

At Majestic we have a few options that are excellent examples: Goose Island, Curious IPA and Punk IPA. 

They form part of our "craft beer" selection, all priced at £9.99 for a pack of 6 (when you buy any 2 packs)


Our Bank Holiday hours Date published: 22/08/14

This August Bank Holiday we will be open everyday between the following hours

Friday 22nd 9am - 8pm

Saturday 23rd 9am - 7pm

Sunday 24th 10am - 5pm

Monday 25th 10am - 5pm


Why are Napa Valley wines so darn good?Date published: 14/08/14

Nappa Valley lies on the North Coast of California.

Nappa has the most expensive vineyard land and most prestigious wines in California.

The climate is warn Mediterranean and grape ripening is helped with the cooling effects of the fog rolling in from the coast. Rainfall is mostly in winter and the dry hot summers mean irrigation is needed (this is an expense) Spring frosts are also a problem, meaning vineyard management is crucial. 

On the Valley floor there is Rutherfood AVA, Oakville AVA and Yountville AVA. Here the soils are volcanic and Cabernet Sauvignon dominates. The high-quality wines can show wonderful dark cherry fruit with soft tannin and medium to high alcohol.

Towards the South of Nappa Valley the gently rolling land of Carneros AVA sits between Napa and Sonoma. Here there is a larger cooling effect from the ocean meaning premium Pionot Noir and Chardonnay can be grown.

A good example of Nappa Valley wine is our Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 blending with a little Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot for added structure and complexity, much like a classic Bordeaux. Though this wine has something extra, as it has been aged in new American oak for 25 months and a further 20 moths bottle aging. A big bold, intense wine with boysenberry fruit and a gamey finish. At the premium price of £90 I think this wine is something of a Nappa Valley treat!

Organistrum AlbarinoDate published: 08/08/14

The other day I had the pleasure of trying our Organistrum Albarino by producer Bodegas Martin Codax. £20.00 on the fine wine multi buy deal.

We have some lovely Albarino grape wines in majestic, but this is a cut above the rest.

Grown in Rias Baixas on a south-facing plot.

High intensity of delicate vanilla, white stone fruit and a hint of grapefruit, The Organistrum has been aged 3 months in French Allier oak then allowed to rest a further 7 months in steel tanks.

A complex , profound wine with a long finish. 


Perfect with seafood or tapas in the garden this summer.



Favorite Fine Wine - Cristom 2010 £30Date published: 07/08/14

Favorite Fine Wine - Cristom 2010 £30

Last night I re-watched sideways with a friend and opened a bottle of Cristom's  Mt Jefferson Pinot Noir 2010 Willamette Valley from Oregon to get us in the mood. If you have seen the film then you will know how much Pinot noir is raved about and we were very glad we chose this wine. I found it to one of the most Burgundian US Pinot noir offerings I have ever tried, first impressions were pleasant but after decanting and much swirling the wine opened into the most fantastic complex beauty. 

The initial attack is a blend of forest fruits that reminded me very much of rainier cherry's with hints of blueberry and strawberry, lots of sweet spice mainly cinnamon back up the fruit. After a while the flavours seemed to develop notes of violets and a seductive savory gaminess that was much discussed. This wine definitely falls into the memorable category and probably hasn't even peaked yet, so will reward those with patience. We drank it with conversation only but would be a great match for nice pink duck breast with a fruit based sauce. 

      

Great wine at a Great PriceDate published: 05/08/14

The Arrowfield Show Reserve Semillon, Hunter Valley.

This is one of those wines that offers great value for money, at only £6.96 (multi-buy).

Semillon as a grape variety is often used in sweet wines, famously Sauternes and Barsac. It is usually a blending partner with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle. It's relatively thin skins make Semillon highly susceptible to botrytis especially in a warmer climate.

In the Hunter Valley, Semillon is known to produce long-lived, complex, mineral-scented dry wines from early picked grapes, to ensure minimal botrytis and thus a dry wine. 

This example from Arrowfield is a wine produced from old, low-cropped vines. It is made in a modern, youthful style using only stainless steel for fermentation to keep a fresh, vibrant style. Nevertheless Semillon is known to age particularly well, therefore it would be worth putting a bottle away for several years, where it would produce a more richer, honeyed profile.

Well integrated aromas of lemon and lime, with hints of floral character on the nose, while the palate is soft-textured, yet crisp with a nice long citrus finish. 

Food & Wine Match of the Day Date published: 02/08/14

Food & wine match of the day: Chicken Noodles & Bellingham 'The Bernard Series' Viognier 2011

I bought a bottle of this awhile back to increase my knowledge of our South African range. It had been knocking around in the fridge for a week or two when I chanced to open it just before being lazy and ordering Chinese take away. It was a very serendipitous moment, this wine displays gorgeous tropical aromas of peaches, lychees & rose petals. On the palate it's rich, generous and long with fruit laden flavours of lychee peach and hint of white pepper, it was perfect  with my stir-fried chicken noodles with water chestnuts and bamboo shoots and mixed vegetables.

Bellingham 'The Bernard Series' Viognier 2013 Currently £9.74 when you buy 2 bottles as part of a mixed case


Marvelous MeritageDate published: 31/07/14

Marvelous Meritage

Having bought a bottle of Benegas Lynch's Meritage a few months back with the intention of sitting on it till next winter, I succumbed to temptation and opened it at the weekend and proceeded to drink it over the next three days. It is a truly fabulous wine with many layers of deep black fruits complimented with vanilla, spice and an unctuous viscosity that was eminently rewarding. 

By the third day however it was truly marvelous, the fruit had delineated and the spice characteristics had developed additional nuances and complexity, while the initial slightly bullish tannin had softened to a more complimentary role. This wine has a really bright future ahead of it and if one can resist temptation for the next few years one will be exceedingly well rewarded. 


Bollinger £25.50Date published: 30/07/14

We have managed to secure a great deal on Bollinger Special Cuvee, currently selling at only £25.50 (buy 2 bottles save 15%).

Made from first run juice only (the cuvee) from some of the best Premier and Grand Cru vineyard sites to ensure the best possible grapes are used. This is a rich, full-bodied Champagne, with lots of elegance and class. Expect a nose full of citrus, and on the palate some lovely brioche and toasty notes and feel those flavours lingering on. 

This is the perfect Champagne for any celebratory and social occasion

Snap up a case now while its at this price (ending 4th August) 

Muga Rose, Back but not for long £9.34Date published: 28/07/14

Muga Rosado 2013 £9.34

Grapes, 60% Garnacha, 30% Viura and 10% Tempranillo.


Grown on clay/calcareous and alluvial soils in Haro, Rioja.  This wine spends about twelve hours macerating with the grape skins and ferments for 25 days in small, 1000 litre wooden vats, which is where it is kept for 2 months before being bottled.

This vintage was hallmarked by generous rainfall, which meant that the vines practically never stopped growing throughout the cycle. As a result, the canopy development was a key factor and conditioned the organoleptic features of the wine, in particular its aromas and acidity.

The grapes’ natural acidity was enhanced, especially the malic acid, leading to typical “green apple”, Granny Smith-type descriptions of the aromas, and fruits at just the right point of ripeness, such as cherries, peaches, pineapple and citrus fruits intermingled with pasty shop style aromas, from careful use of short term lees aging and stiring. Salmon-pink evolving towards bright copper in the bulb an absolute joy to drink.


Food and wine matching...Meatballs and Valpolicella RipassoDate published: 26/07/14

Last night I was treated to some homemade meatballs served with wholemeal pasta and a delicious rustic tomato sauce. Seeing as I didn't have to lift a finger in the preparation of this feast, I decided to bring a nice bottle I'd had my eye on for a while but hadn't found the right excuse for splashing out on. Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore Ca' del Laito 2010 from Tommaso Bussola for £17.

After decanting for a half hour or so it opened up into a rich, ripe full bodied monster of lushiousness that went down a storm. Bussola is somewhat of a star in Negrar producing some of the very finest Amarone and Valpolicella available and this is no different. Heaps of black cherry, damson, fig, sweet spice, dried fruits  and complex higher notes of treacle and pungent spice intermingle perfectly and really dazzle. A superb wine and married the rich tomato and savory meatballs perfectly. This wine would also match well with rich gamy dishes like pot roasted pheasant or slow cooked beef. 


Staff Recommendation - Dry Furmint 2011 Royal Tokaji £7.99Date published: 21/07/14

Staff Recommendation - Dry Furmint 2011 Royal Tokaji £7.99

After my first foray into the realm of Tokaji I was hooked. The rich honey, quince and marmalade laden lusciously sweet wines are a real joy in life. This is their dry version, made from the main grape used in the sweet wine, Furmint which comes from the word 'froment', the Hungarian word for the wheaten colour of its wines.

This wine represents serious value for money, not being from a fashionable area like Marlborough or being a well know grape variety like Sauvignon blanc, it can only rely on its own merit and of that it has plenty. Very complex aromas of quince, stone fruit and traces of honey and elderflower give way to a rich mineral backed palate and well balanced acidity. It does contain a whopping 14% ABV but it doesn't taste out of balance in any way. 

Partner with a variety of cheese's, rich seafood and poultry dishes or pulled pork and smokey hog roasts, also great with steak tartare.

A real bargain at £7.99, but be quick as they don't make much and it is disappearing fast 

Wine word of the day - RipassoDate published: 20/07/14

Wine word of the day - Ripasso

In the late 20th century, a new style of wine known as ripasso (meaning "repassed") emerged. With this technique, the pomace of leftover grape skins and seeds from the fermentation of Recioto  and Amarone are added to the batch of Valpolicella wines for a period of extended maceration. The additional food source for the remaining fermenting yeast helps boost the alcohol level and body of the wines while also leaching additional tannins, glycerine and some phenolic compounds that contribute to a wine's complexity, flavour and colour. As the production of Amarone has increased in the 21st century, so too has the prevalence of ripasso style wines appearing in the wine market, with most Amarone producers also producing aripasso as a type of "second wine". An alternative method is to use partially dried grapes, instead of leftover pomace, which contain less bitter tannins and even more phenolic compounds.

The first Valpolicella producer to commercially market a ripasso wine was Masi in the early 1980s. When the style first became popular in the late 20th century, it was rarely noted on the wine label. There was also debate about whether it was even permitted to be included under DOC regulations. If it was mentioned at all it was relegated to the back label wine description notes. Today the term ripasso is freely permitted to be used, with several examples on the wine market labeled as being made in the ripasso style. In late 2009, Ripasso della Valpolicella received its own DOC designation.

Chill out with red wineDate published: 19/07/14

Chill out with red wine

If you are a confirmed red wine drinker but are finding your usual tipple a touch over baring in this heat, why not try a lighter style of red that chills well and is enjoyable at a lower, more summer friendly temperature. 

Red wines that work well from the fridge need be low in tannin, high in fruit and have fresh finish, usually provided by an above average acidity. Such wines include Beajolaise and it's various cru's like Fleurie, Morgon, Brouilly, Julienas etc. all examples of a wine made from the Gamay grape. Other examples that work very well are the reds from Loire such as Saumur Champigny (Cabernet Franc) and Menetou Salon (Pinot Noir) as well as the Pinot Noir's from Alsace. Burgundies offerings are best enjoyed a touch warmer at about 16 degrees so they don't feel flabby. From Italy the light fresh Bardolino, with its cherry scented fruit is perfect for chilling and enjoying al fresco. 

Also remember that in this very warm weather, room temperature is higher than is ideal for red wine (unless one has air-con). So a judicious of an ice bucket or fridge for one's reds is a very good idea to bring them back down to a sensible drinking temperature even if they are not meant for chilling.

Bring a friend to MajesticDate published: 19/07/14

Bring a friend to Majestic

Next time you shop with us, bring along a friend who is new to Majestic and if they also buy 6 bottles, you both get a free bottle chosen specifically for you, up to the value of £10.

It couldn't be simpler - a free £10 bottle with your next purchase when you introduce a friend to Majestic.

Grab a friend and Come and Explore wine together - it's the best way!


A little on ChablisDate published: 19/07/14

The town Chablis lies in the valley of the River Serein, surrounded by hills. The best vineyard sites are on the well-exposed slopes as here they receive most sun and also protection.

Chablis AC: Can be a little bitter with green-plum fruit character and high acidity. Perfect for a less expensive easy drinking dry white for these summer evenings in the garden.

Chablis Premier Cru AC: These vineyards are always on the well-exposed sites. They show riper fruits flavour with lemon citrus, more body with a softer, creamier texture. They will also have more mineral aromas and acidity. Names to look for are: Montèe de Tonnerre, Vailluons and Fourchaume.

Chablis Grand Cru AC: Vineyards lie on the hillside across the river from Chablis. These wines may have more complex characteristics with smokey aromas and beautifully mouth-watering finish. The names to look for are: Les Clos, Vaudèsir, Blanchot and Grenouilles, to name a few.

My personal suggestion is our Chalis 1er Cru 'Mont de Milieu', Domaine Pinson £23 A steely dry Chablis, with richness and crisp acidity. Definately worth a try if you want to treat yoourself!

Heat Wave WinesDate published: 18/07/14

Heat Wave Wines

With this current spell of relentless heat upon us it is very important to stay well hydrated and to consume lots of fresh water especially if doing any sort of exercise.

That said, once one reaches home and is in relaxation mode, might I suggest a glass of chilled Manzanilla La Gitana Hidalgo as the perfect way to unwind and cool down. It is an incredibly fresh wine, with a salty, tangy character reminiscent of a sea breeze. The  complex, nutty palate and crisp, palate-cleansing finish is simply divine with pre-dinner nibbles such as olives, almonds or a bit of Manchego and for me the most enjoyable way to combat heat fatigue.




Wine term of the day - Carbonic maceration Date published: 15/07/14

Wine term of the day - Carbonic maceration 

Carbonic maceration is a winemaking technique, often associated with the French wine region of Beaujolais, in which whole grapes are fermented in a carbon dioxiderich environment prior to crushing. Conventional alcoholic fermentation involves crushing the grapes to free the juice and pulp from the skin with yeast serving to convert sugar into ethanol. Carbonic maceration ferments most of the juice while it is still inside the grape, although grapes at the bottom of the vessel are crushed by gravity and undergo conventional fermentation. The resulting wine is fruity with very low tannins. It is ready to drink quickly but lacks the structure for long-term aging. In the most extreme case, such as with Beaujolais nouveau, the period between picking and bottling can be less than six weeks.

Joven style Rioja's also frequently utilise this technique as well as many wines designed to be easy drinking and fruity in style. Some of the telltale signs that a wine has been produced by carbonic maceration are; a deep purple colour combined with low tannin, hints of kirsch or banana on the nose and sometimes a bubblegum like aroma. If your wine displays all of these characteristics then almost certainly it has been produced this way

Rosé of the Week - , Commanderie de Peyrassol Rosé 2013 Côtes de ProvenceDate published: 14/07/14

Commanderie de Peyrassol was founded in 1308 by the Knights Templar. In addition to 80ha of vines, it also shelters 2500 olive trees, 200 oak truffles trees and a private hunting area with deer, hinds, mouflons and wild pigs.

A blend of Grenache, Syrah & Cinsault. This dry rosé has a spicy warmth to the fruit, lifted by refreshing acidity and a peachy edge. Notes of strawberry and raspberry predominate, with background notes of white pepper and a creamy finish. This wine always reminds me of an Eton mess.

Currently on a buy 2 save 25% offer down from £12.99 to a very attractive £9.74

Enjoy fine wine at restaurants without breaking the bankDate published: 13/07/14

Enjoy fine wine at restaurants without breaking the bank

Have you ever sat at in a restaurant longingly gazing at the lower portion of the wine list, where the Montrachet's, Pauillac's and other finery lives and thought to yourself I'd like to, but £100 is far to much to spend on a bottle of wine? Maybe you've even bit the bullet and just jumped in there. 

Restaurants are very guilty of running every product they sell trough the accountant margin machine. The accountant says you must make 76.62% GP across the board and you'll at least break even. Having produced many a wine list myself I know the temptation to be lazy, however that isn't really the answer. Restaurants can make the same level of cash profit, maybe even more by staggering margins and not over charging for expensive wine, that way more will be drunk and less will stay as expensive window dressing. 

A typical restaurant GP is between 65% - 80% which in real terms means that the house wine which they are charging £15 for has cost them £3 - £5.25, which i can understand a restaurant needs to make profit to survive, but when that same formula is applied across the board it means that that £100 Montrachet actually cost no more than £35 and probably closer to £20, why do restaurants feel justified doing this? I can understand food margins being that high as the food has been sourced, quality controlled and prepared by qualified professionals. With a wine list usually they do no more than broker the wine, ok hopefully some thought and expertise has gone into the selection and service, but that much profit, really? 

So my advice is this, next time you plan to dine out, call ahead and say something along the lines of "...it's our anniversary  and we have a special bottle of wine given to us by my beloved uncle and I was wondering if you'd allow us to bring it and charge us corkage..." or some variant on the theme. Most restaurants will allow this and corkage is usually about the same price as a bottle of house wine (£10 - £20). Then dig out that lovely bottle of Premiere Cru Saint Aubin you bought in your last Majestic shop, chill it down and bring it along. Even with the extra charge you will still be enjoying much nicer wine at a fraction of the cost than if you bought off of the list.

I do hope people will do this more and maybe the restaurants will take note and start taking a more sensible approach to their wine list's.

  

Royal Tokaji Late Harvest 2012 £9.99Date published: 12/07/14

Royal Tokaji Late Harvest 2012 £9.99

Possibly the best value most versatile desert wine in the Majestic range, this late harvest wine displays a slightly more complex profile than in previous vintages. This is due to adverse weather conditions that meant that a lot of the grapes infected with botrytis, that the Aszú wines are produced from were lost on the vine. So there will be no Royal Tokaji Aszú wines from 2012 and all of the berries harvested before the adversity were used to improve the quality of the late harvest wine. Less than 10,000 cases were produced.

This wine is exceptional this year and a real bargain at the price, pale gold in colour that is reminiscent of dried bales of golden hay. A rich and ethereal nose with a hint of quince, pear and gingerbread spices and an occasional mint flash. The richness of the nose and palate coupled with a seam of elegant acidity provide a perfect balance with a long finish. Best served at 12-13 ºC as an aperitif or with blue cheese, foie gras or fruit tarts and light desserts. 


Australian spotlight tastingDate published: 12/07/14

We're focusing on our Australian wines this weekend, ranging from some old favourites through to a few new comers.

Vasse Felix Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot is always a winner. Notes of Menthol ( classic Margaret River aromatic) blend with lush dark fruits on the nose, with some tannin grip matching up with bold fruit on the palate. Drink it with something slow roasted.

We have a parcel of 2007 Semillon from the Hunter Valley producers Arrowfield which is well worth its £6.99 price tag. It still has a firm backbone of acidity, so a lot of lime/high citrus flavours remain however developing flavours of honey and lanolin add pleasing complexity.

A few of the good old D'Arenberg range have resurfaced recently. If you haven't tried them it is well worth it. We are currently stocking Laughing Magpie (Shiraz/Viognier blend) and The Custodian  (Grenache blend). Chester Osborn really knows his Grenache, so much so in 2010 he spoke at the Grenache Symposium, which is held in the Grenache international motherland, The Rhone. Not bad for an Aussie.

We have loads more on offer so come on down and see what takes your fancy. It's always a good idea to have a brace of Aussie reds in the cupboard, just in case a BBQ breaks out.

England's Finest - Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2009 £23.98Date published: 11/07/14

England's Finest - Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2009 £23.98

Nyetimber are located in West Sussex, and since their original plantings of classic varieties in 1988, have established themselves as England's premier sparkling wine house, making world class wines to rival (and often beat in blind tastings) the big names of Champagne. 

A beguilingly Champagne-like nose of citrus fruit, brioche and shortbread. The mousse is finely pearled, soft, yet mouth-filling and persistent. Elegantly shaped and supremely poised, this wine is very drinkable now but will age superbly and gain layers of weight, richness and complexity with time. An ideal present for those with the will power to resist instant gratification and anybody for whom 2009 marks a special year

The ultimate home-grown alternative to Champagne, for all special occasions and currently on the summer 33% off range down from £35.99 to a cracking £23.98.

Staff Summer FavoritesDate published: 09/07/14

Staff Summer Favorites

Quinta de Azevedo 2013 Vinho Verde £5.99

This  dry, crisp, refreshing white from northern Portugal is the idea thing for the humid muggy weather we seem to be enjoying right now. This wine has well integrated flavours of blossoms/white flowers, citrus and green apples.  A lively and zesty finish with an elegant petulance or slight fizz from some residual CO2 and a healthy acidity that refreshes the palate like home made lemonade. 

The quintessential aperitif or partner to shell fish, grilled white fish or salads, try with BBQ'd sardines or your favorite summer salad, a great bargain at £5.99  

Gavi Araldica 2013 £6.66 Perfect for Parties, Picnics & BBQ's Date published: 08/07/14

Gavi Araldica 2013 £6.66 Perfect for Parties, Picnics & BBQ's 

As part of the Pick 'n' Mix and down from £9.99 to £6.66 the Gavi from Araldica is a little gem of a wine and makes a refreshing change from Sauvignon Blanc. It has a great balance of pure citrus zest and cordial notes combined with galia melon and blossoms. A clean fresh finish with mouth watering acidity and good length gives this wine all the right ingredients for crowd pleasing. 

Great with salads, grilled white meat and fish or just with conversation as its 11.5% abv makes a nice change from the cranium busting 13+% that we have become used to. On offer till the end of July, so take advantage of a great deal while it lasts.


A brief history in TokajiDate published: 08/07/14

To make sweet Tokaji wine the pickers pass through the vineyard endless times in order to collect only the aszú (rotten grapes). The unaffected grapes are also picked and then a must of ripe grapes is made. Depending on the sweetness of the wine rotten grapes are then added to the must.

The history of this probably dates back to around the 17th century, the first wine region to classify sites, legend has it that just before a harvest all the warriors had to rush to defend the region from invaders.  When then return the grapes had shriveled and looked rotten. They picked them all and dumped them in a corner somewhere and felt hard done by. Then some bright spark tasted the puddle of juice that was forming from the unappealing mass and found it to be very appealing and suggested mixing it with some of the previous years wines and Tokaji aszú was born. 

The way of measuring sweetness is expressed as the number of 20-kilo puttonyos of the aszú berries, or vineyard hods added to the 137 litres (one gonci barrel). Today the way puttonyos are measured is a little more scientific they relate to the exact level of residual sugar in the must.

The legal minimum for sweet wine production is 60g/l which is 3 puttonyos which is more less equivalent to a German Auslese with four or five putting it in the Beerenauslese class. After six puttonoyos the Hungarians make a wine called  Eszencia which is only made from the free run juice of the aszú berries. This wine can take up to 7 or more years to complete fermentation and rarely reaches an ABV above 3%. It requires 6 years in aging in oak and used to be prescribed by physicians as a medicinal, if only one could get it on the NHS!!

The richest and finest wines maintain the highest degree of natural sugar hence the lowest alcohol (10.5% typical). Tokaji can best be described as having regal notes of orange & quince marmalade, apricots and honey. The Eszencia itself is a mind boggling concentration of intense orange and quince with an finish that seems everlasting.


Great Value Summer SparklersDate published: 05/07/14

Great Value Summer Sparklers

Codorníu Reina Maria Cristina Blanc de Noirs 2011 Cava Spain

After a lengthy legal battle Cava is now allowed to use champagne grapes in their blends. This new  Cava Brut was launched in honour of the Regent Queen María Cristina of Austria who in 1897 granted Codorníu with the title of “Official Provider of the Royal House”.

Made from 100% Pinot Noir in the traditional method, this wine displays elegant red fruit characteristics, layered with orchard fruits and delicate brioche and citrus aromas. 

A real bargain, vintage Blanc de Noir at £9.99!!!  Expect this wine to increase in price in future vintages as it gains a following. Definitely my pick of the summer selection 33% off sparkling range

New addition to our craft beer range.Date published: 27/06/14

Freedom Brewery's Pilsner & Organic Lagers are the latest addition to our ever expanding craft beer range.They join the likes of Einstock, Anchor Steam, Coopers Pale Ale & Meantime ( Lager & Pale Ale) & Punk IPA  along with legends such as Sam Adams &Paulaner. 

The majority of these beers come by the 6 pack for convenience & are under the Craft beers & ciders deal (Einstock, Anchor, Punk & Freedom). Usually we have Brooklyn Lager & their Summer Ale but due to popularity & the World Cup we've run out! But don't worry, it'll be back in no time. 

Word on the street is the Camden Brewery beers are just around the corner.  Watch this space.

June Wine courseDate published: 16/06/14

We're holding one of our infamous wine courses on Tuesday 24th June so if you want to learn more about wine, call up, sign up and become enlightened.

La Difese 2011 Tenuta San GuidoDate published: 14/06/14

La Difese 2011 Tenuta San Guido

This Super-Tuscan is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese. Tenuta San Guido is the producer from Bolgheri DOC in Tuscany on the outskirts of Liborno, not too distant from the coast.

It is believed that Bolgheri DOC practically invented the Super-Tuscan Phenomenon.

Tenuta San Guido cultivates fruit from several top quality plots around the Bolgheri region. Approximately 120,000 bottles of La Difese are produced annually.

Taste: Dried cherry, blackberry, leather and tobacco enhance the wine’s medium build and silky texture. There is a distant touch of overripe fruit at the very beginning. Le Difese is aged for 12 months in both French and American oak.

The wine is designed to be drunk in its youth but will benefit from a little bit of ageing. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018".

89 points. Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate.


Craft BeersDate published: 13/06/14

We have a great selection of craft beers available for you to enjoy over this hot summers weekend...and for the England game on Saturday evening! 

Brooklyn Lager & Brooklyn Summer Ale (6 pack) both priced at £9.99 (when you buy 2 or more packs of craft beer)

Coopers Pale Ale (12 pack) £15.99

BrewDog Punk IPA (6 pack) £9.99 (when you buy 2 or more packs of craft beer)

Anchor Steam (6 pack) £9.99 (when you buy 2 or more packs of craft beer)

Curious Brew IPA & Lager at £17.99 each

Meantime Pale Ale & Lager at £17.99 each

Arrowfield SemillionDate published: 29/05/14

Not so far back, we received a parcel of the Arrowfield estate wines, specifically the Semillon. If there's a bargain to be had, it most certainly is this lovely, aged, complex white. It's still fresh enough to give your palate a summer smile but it has developed nicely in typical Semillon fashion to boot. And of course it heralds from the Semillon capital of Australia; The Hunter Valley. How much? Well it's 2007, a few 2008, still fresh & well balanced. £15? I'd be happy with that. £10? Bargain. How about £6.97 (when you buy 2 or more in your mixed case).

Yup, sub £7. £2.50 more than a pint and it's been ageing graciously for 6 or so years. I had it last night with grilled Cod loin and a simple salad. Delicious.

You can order  online, via phone or the good old fashion way of popping into the store & have the added bonus of being enlightened by Team Islington. If you're a new customer, don't forget to collect your £10 off voucher (or a bottle of the same value) for your next order.


Queenslander!Date published: 29/05/14

The outcome is always the same so why not pass the time with a Coopers Pale Ale in hand. £15.99 a case.

#queenslander

Barolo Natale Verga 2009/2010Date published: 26/05/14

At the International wine challenge this year the Natale Verga won two gold medals for both vintages of his stunning Barolo. The Verga estate was founded in 1895 and Natale Verga is the fourth generation owner. Unlike 'old skool' Barolo's this wine is entirely matured in New French oak and by Barolo standards for a relatively short period of time only 24 months. This new way of maturing the Nebiolo grape leads to a much fruitier easier drinking style which can be enjoyed by the masses. The wine boasts an opulent bouquet of blackberry and dark cherry. A warming palate with undertones of spice and graphite.   

£18 when you buy at least 2 as part of a mixed case!

Seasonal tasting wine: Jackson Estate Grey Ghost Sauvignon Blanc 2011 MarlboroughDate published: 16/05/14

Origin

Marlborough frequently records the highest total of sunshine hours in the country. A long, sunny ripening season extending into April, combined with cool nights helps to preserve acidity. Grey Ghost is partially fermented in French oak and aged for several months on lees.

Taste

Pungently aromatic, as befits top Marlborough Sauvignon, but with Jackson's trademark restraint and focus. Nettle and gooseberry characters aligned perfectly with tangy citrus fruit.


Seasonal tasting wine: Pizarras de Otero Rosé 2013 BierzoDate published: 16/05/14

Origin

Bierzo is a small wine region of northern Spain, nestling between the coastal climate of Galicia to the north, and the hotter, more arid Castile to the south. The Mencía grape is found almost exclusively in Bierzo region, where it is more commonly used for red wines.

Taste

A vivid, deeply coloured rosé, with an intense raspberry and redcurrant character and leafy undertones. Firmly structured, with well-balanced acidity, good grip and a crisp finish.


Seasonal tasting wine: Ben Marco Malbec 2012 Dominio del Plata, MendozaDate published: 16/05/14

Origin

In 1999, as a result of the need to express their love and dedication to viticulture and winemaking, Susana and Pedro of Dominio del Plata, started their own project together. The grapes are handpicked from vineyards in the foothills of the Andes.

Taste

Deep red, with complex aromas of ripe red fruits. Cherry, currants and blackberries combine with notes of vanilla and coffee. This expressive wine has firm, sweet tannins giving a delightful finish.


Seasonal tasting wine: Grand Ardèche Chardonnay 2012 Louis LatourDate published: 16/05/14

Origin

The climate in the Ardèche, to the west of Rhône, certainly suits Chardonnay. Couple this terroir with Louis Latour's Burgundian expertise and the result is in the style of Meursault. It is treated as if it were grown in one of the Grand Cru vineyards of the Côte-d’Or.

Taste

Yellow-green in colour, with a subtle nose of vanilla. On the palate there are ripe apple and peach fruits with a nutty, buttery creamy texture and notes of vanilla and spice. A powerful and complex wine.


Seasonal tasting wine: Château de Berne Rosé 2013 Côtes de ProvenceDate published: 16/05/14

Origin

A stunning property and landmark of Provence, Château de Berne is a luxurious hotel and spa resort, located on an 18th-century wine estate and its historic cellars. This is their 'prestige cuvée' rosé in its iconic square bottle.

Taste

An attractive and delicate honeysuckle pink wine with a lifted nose of summer fruits and tropical suggestions of mango. Intense, crisp, well balanced and refreshing on the palate.


Seasonal tasting wine: Primitivo 2013 Natale VergaDate published: 16/05/14

Origin

The southern part of Italy is home to Primitivo, a grape now more commonly known elsewhere as Zinfandel. This example is from vineyards in the provinces of Brindisi and Taranto, in the south-eastern part of Puglia, the 'heel' of Italy's 'boot'.

Taste

An approachable, medium-bodied wine full of sunny red berry flavour and subtle hints of prune and violet on the nose. Smooth, drying tannins mingle with the rounded, juicy fruit.


Summer Wine EveningDate published: 15/05/14

Many thanks to everyone who attended last night, we hope you all enjoyed yourselves and picked out some new favourites!

The picks of the night were the Jackson Estate 'Grey Ghost' Sauvignon Blanc and the Esprit de Pennautier Cabardes - you will be pleased to know that we still have plenty of both in stock!

Team Islington 

Hello Summertime.Date published: 09/05/14

Nothing says Summer fun than an Aperol spritz. It even looks sunny. And we've got it. We've even got the Prosecco and soda to put in it.

For all the old-schoolers, we also have #Campari in stock for a good old Negroni. Make it your favourite tipple before it re-surfaces at a bar in Dalston.


Meursault Pierre Morey 2011Date published: 05/05/14

The Morey family have lived in Meursault since 1793 and have been growing boutique wines ever since. The have three plots of land that are located in the best locations in Meursault. Les Forges which is a shallow plot defined by the small pebbles that dot the area, Le Pellans which has a more gravelly character and a stoney crop of land located between Les Nauvaux and Blangny. The Meursault cuvee usually takes grapes from all three localities to exhibit a truly balanced expression of the Morey dynasty.

This wine exhibits incredible energy, which is guided by a powerful and forthright minerality that provides a clear, uncluttered wine. It has a regal and unassuming grace that flows like a glorious water source in the mouth. The Vintage achieved 91% on wine spectator and with good cellaring could be producing beguiling flavors for the next decade.

Majestic price £40

New Sparkling Wine!Date published: 02/05/14

Chandon Brut NV Argentina

Origin

Following two years of exploration, Moët & Chandon identified a fine vineyard location in Mendoza's Uco Valley, planting it in 1959. They have gone on to use their abundance of Champagne expertise to create this traditional-method sparkling wine.

Taste

A fresh and elegant style of sparkling wine, with a nose centring on citrus, pineapple and white peach aroma with subtle brioche hints, and a palate with great accuracy and length.

Enjoy

Celebrate any occasion with this great quality Champagne alternative, pairing with seafood canapés.


Le Difese 2011, Tenuta San GuidoDate published: 26/04/14

I had the absolute pleasure of trying the Le Difese wine from the 'super Tuscan' pioneer wine producers, Tenuta San Guido.Made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese the wine delivers a warm, ripe fruit taste with a seductively soft tannin and burst of freshness. Le Difese is aged for 12 months in both French and American oak which enhance the leather, herb and tobacco flavours. Due to the acidity this wine would pair well with game meat, as the acidity cuts through any fattiness.

Overall this wine is a steal for £16 on our multi-buy price deal, and would strongly suggest you invest in a glass you your Sunday roast.

"Please take time to appreciate the beautiful illustration on the label, which in my opinion depicts the character of the wine."

Pesquera Pesquera Pesquera!Date published: 23/04/14

You'll all be delighted to hear that we now have the following wines from this renowned Ribero del Duero producer in stock...

Pesquera Crianza 2011, Bodegas Alejandro Ferdandez: Rich, opulent and fruity, this wine is a real head turner and a great introduction to the style! £20 (when you buy 2 or more selected Fine Wines)

Pesquera Reserva 2008, Bodegas Alejandro Ferdandez: Aged for 24 months in American Oak and for a further 12 months in the bottle, this Pesquera exhibits delicious cedar and sweet spices aromatics. A true beauty! £28

Pesquera Reserva Especial 2003: This is a 'limited edition' Reserva made from grapes specially selected from the 2003 vintage. The wine has undergone a total of 30 months ageing in American oak and is now drinking extremely well following the last few years of bottle-age. Don't miss out!

Summer Wine EveningDate published: 23/04/14

Don't forget, on the 14th May we will be holding our bi-annual customer tasting! We open a range of wines, from fresh, summery whites to Champagne to fine wine. If you would like to join in, just give the store a call on 0207 700 4188, or e-mail ( isl@majestic.co.uk ) & we will book a spot for you - there are still spaces left! Want to bring some friends along? You sure can! We just ask to let us know how many people will be attending when you book.

See you on the 14th. And yes, it's free. It's our way of saying thank you for being friends of Majestic Islington. Who needs loyalty points!

Having a Wedding?Date published: 23/04/14

Did you know if you're looking to buy wines for your local wedding, you can come in and try them first at no cost!

Our expert staff will guide you through what can be a very daunting task with precision and ease. We understand that it can all be just a little stressful so why not give team Islington a call and find out how easy it can be.

We help you with your budget in mind buy guiding through our best offers, matching the wines to your food menu & of course we deliver it all for free. Plus, we offer sale & return. We offer professional advice on quantities however its always good to have buffer!

So if you're looking to tie the knot, give us a call. Don't forget the celebratory bubbles!

Easter HoursDate published: 16/04/14

Easter's just around the corner so please be aware that our opening hours are slightly different.

We will be CLOSED Eater Sunday & 10am-5pm Easter Monday. Good Friday sees us open as usual so you've got plenty of time to pop in for your Easter needs.

New to the fine wine counterDate published: 16/04/14

Château La Croix de Gay 2007 Pomerol

Origin

This small estate of 13 hectares only produces around 3000 cases a year and Majestic has snapped up a direct parcel at cracking prices. Comprising 80% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc, these wines are usually dark and direct.

Taste

With an aromatic nose of raspberries, cherries, smoke and espresso, the palate is rich and opulent with loads of fruit and a plush texture.

Enjoy

Drinking well now, this vintage ripened Merlot better than Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy over the next 4-5 years; decant before drinking.


Wine of the MonthDate published: 12/04/14

This last week or so has been all about Spanish wines. Our tasting counter has been inundated with beautiful reds and refreshing whites. My favourite has got to be the CUNE Imperial Reserva 2008. The Cune range never fail to impress me and the Imperial Reserva is a fine example of a traditional Rioja. As I love all things Rioja, I have tried all the Cune range, except for the Imperial Gran Reserva, which I am hoping will live up to my expectations.

Classic flavours of red fruits but with more depth with sloes, mulberries and spice and vanilla developing from its 1 year ageing in oak and 2 years bottle age. Dry, elegant, austere with a fine long finish.

Come and try this delightful wine on our tasting counter before it goes...

Négociant Date published: 12/04/14

A négociant is somebody who assembles the produce of smaller growers and winemakers and sells the result under its own name. Until the early 1980s almost all wine in Bordeaux and Burgundy would be sold through négociants. 

Négociants buy everything right from the grape to the grape must, in most cases the négociant performs almost all the wine making. In some instances though the négociant buys already fermented wine and transports the produce in large containers this is called 'en frac'. The négociant can then decide whether to age the wine further or just sell as it is. The négociant  would still use their name when selling the wine.

Historically the winemakers had no direct access to the buyers. It was usually too expensive for the growers to purchase the wine presses and bottling lines. Hence the need for négociant.

New to the fine wine counterDate published: 12/04/14

Meursault 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes 2011 Le Meurger

Maison Le Meurger is a negociant firm based in Beaune, who work with a number of vignerons in Burgundy, vinifying at their own fully-equipped winery. This Meursault is made from fully hand-picked grapes. Fermentation and maturation take place entirely in cask. Closer to the more weighty, voluptuous end of the white Burgundy spectrum, this is a classic Meursault, full of ripe golden apple fruit, hints of honeyed toast and a rich, satisfying texture.

New to the fine wine counterDate published: 12/04/14

Meursault Les Narvaux 2008 Le Meurger

Le Meurger are a negociant house who work with a number of partner growers, and vinifying at their own facility in Beaune. This wine is a benchmark Meursault, fully oak fermented to create the rich, well polished and approachable style for which the appellation is famed, with interesting nutty hints completing the picture.

Absolut joy.Date published: 11/04/14

We have Absolut on special at £15 a bottle ( as a part of your mixed case), so now that the sun's (trying) to come out, why not get the old cocktail recipe book out & spice up your Saturday afternoon with a classic Vodka cocktail. 

Just a Woo Woo for me please!

Islington Summer tastingDate published: 11/04/14

Come one, come all! On the 14th May, we will be holding a bi-annual customer tasting. We open a range of wines, from fresh, summery whites to Champagne to fine wine. If you would like to join in, just give the store a call, or e-mail ( isl@majestic.co.uk ) & we will book a spot for you. Want to bring some friends along? Sure you can. We just ask to let us know how many people will be attending when you book.

See you on the 14th. And yes, it's free. It's our way of saying thank you for being friends of Majestic Islington. Who needs loyalty points!

Majestic Wines wedding service.Date published: 07/04/14

Did you know if you're looking to buy wines for your local wedding, you can come in and try them first at no cost!

Our expert staff will guide you through what can be a very daunting task with precision and ease. We understand that it can all be just a little stressful so why not give team Islington a call and find out how easy it can be.

We help you with your budget in mind buy guiding through our best offers, matching the wines to your food menu & of course we deliver it all for free. Plus, we offer sale & return. We offer professional advice on quantities however its always good to have buffer!

So if you're looking to tie the knot, give us a call. Don't forget the celebratory bubbles!

New to the fine wine counterDate published: 06/04/14

Mendel Mendoza Blend 2012 Lujan de Cuyo

Origin

Mendel's estate vineyards are populated by some enviably mature vines, averaging around 80 years of age, which produce low yields of fruit that enjoy a lengthy ripening season afforded by the high altitudes. This blend is aged in French oak for 12 months.

Taste

A bold, inky, muscular wine with lashings of dark blackcurrant fruit matched by chewy, sinewy tannins. Brooding aromas of raisined fruit are accompanied by hints of woodsmoke.


Perrier - Jouët Date published: 22/03/14

This week we had the pleasure of tasting the Perrier-Jouët range. We had the Grand Brut, Blason Rosé and the wonderful Belle Époque Blanc and Rosé. Of course the Belle Époque was out standing which with the perfect balance between richness and classic PJ finesse. What a delicious way to spend a Tuesday evening.

The new vintage: http://www.perrier-jouet.com/

Penfolds Bin 128 Date published: 20/03/14

The Penfolds Winery in South Australia is an iconic pioneer in the production of Australian fine wine.

Created in 1962, Penfolds Bin 128 is a regional wine that reflects the unique climate and growing conditions of South Australia’s Coonawarra district and the relatively elegant style of cool-climate Shiraz. From the 1980 vintage, French oak replaced American, highlighting the pepper, spice and floral characteristics that define this style. Since this time, greater attention to fruit flavour ripeness has structurally resulted in a more complete and complex wine style. 


Matsu El Viejo 2011, ToroDate published: 20/03/14

Matsu is the japanese word for 'wait', this perfectly defines the pacients and care that goes into Matsu wine making. The organic company has produced a three vintage collection, that we love here in Majestic.

'The Old One' of the Matsu range is made from selected Tinta de Toro vines (temprinillo grape), averaging 110 years of age.The wine is immensely powerful and complex, offering cigar box, lavenderand graphite nuances against a backdrop of dense cherry and bramblefruit.

Perfect to drink with a meaty steak dish or roast, though also would benifit for some cellar aging.

New to the fine wine counterDate published: 20/03/14

Chapel Hill Grenache 2011, Mclaren Vale £22.00 when you buy two £17.00

Award winning winemaker Micheal Fragos is fortunate enough to have access to some of the oldest plantings of Grenache. Some planted as far back as 1926. Mclaren vale is located in South Australia near Adelaide and has a cooler more maritime climate than the nearby power house Barrossa. Often refereed to as having a more European climate than the rest of South Australia.

It has a classic old-vine Grenache profile it has a fresh raspberry and cherry backbone, surrounded by notes of white pepper and sultry yet grippy tannins.

 

New to the fine wine counterDate published: 20/03/14

Marques de Caceres Gran Reserve £22.00

At least five generations of wine growers forged the family spirit of Marques de Caceres.  Enrique Forner, who founded the winery in 1970, learnt the wine trade from his father, who in turn had learnt from his father and grandfather. The company philosophy is to produce high quality wines that are continually evolving with new technologies and innovation, but indifferent to the passing fashions which distort winemaking from time to time and lose sight of the fundamental objective of this business.

Dense, deep ruby red colour. On the nose, intense aromas of ripe fruits of the forest and Morello cherries blend with slightly toasted vanillin notes. Fresh, full and fleshy in the mouth, this wine delivers superb tannins that highlight its structure and complexity.


Tasting wines this weekDate published: 14/03/14

To reflect the warm weather we're having, we've put some cheery wines on the tasting counter to help you embrace the sun. Viva soleil!

Miguel Torres, of Torres Vina Sol fame, has developed an interest in Chile which is where Days of Summer originates. You can't get more cheerier than a name like that. It's of the Muscat grape, with a pleasing, in-the-sun-drinking friendly 12% ABV & more importantly tastes delicious. Muscat do I here you question? Don't be afraid. It has all you'd expect from the Muscat grape but in a dryer, brighter, less grapier style. The floral notes keep the palate alive & elevated. It's a little different, yes, but in a characterful way. 

Aligote. The forgotten grape variety of Burgundy. Screams of  Parisian wine menu oui? Well, why not do what as the Parisians do & top it up with some cassis for a refreshing Kir.

The gem of Southern France. A sophisticated, well balanced, intelligently oaked Southern French Chardonnay. The Ardeche to be exact.

Grand Ardeche 2011 by Louis Latour. It's in my top 5 wines for value in the store, has been for years, will be for years to come. You may have seen the Ardeche around, but the Grand Ardeche differs as it has been barrel aged in high quality Latour French oak barrels coopered on site. If you have a Meursault palate with a Macon budget, this is your wine. It's a £15 Burgundy in a £9.99 bottle. Taste the Ardeche sun in every glass.

Cold cuts & terrine for lunch on the porch? Look no further than Beaujolais Villages, Chateau da la Terriere. Beaujolais really comes into it's own when coupled with the right food & situation.

We've also added a new wine for Majestic, El Cometa del Sur 2013. It's from Terra Alta, 200km south west of Barcelona, Spain.

It's new so I haven't tried it. I could plagiarise the description on the label but that wouldn't be right.

Tasting note to follow this afternoon. 

For pricing and a little less esoteric descriptions, please check out our store website. isl@majestic.co.uk



Wine of Spain Spotlight TastingDate published: 10/03/14

Please sign up to our spotlight tasting on Saturday 5th April instore at 3pm!

Tasting some fantastic wines and learn a bit about wines of Spain!  Furthermore the tasting is free so there is no excuse!

 

South African Tasting WeekDate published: 10/03/14

We still have some wonderful SA wines open to taste until Thursday! Feel free to pop by and try a couple!  Browse the selection on our online tasting counter!

How Tokaj dessert wine is madeDate published: 02/03/14

To make sweet Tokaji wine the pickers pass through the vineyard endless times in order to collect only the aszú (rotten grapes). The unaffected grapes are also picked and then a must of ripe grapes is made. Depending on the sweetness of the wine rotten grapes are then added to the must.

The way of measuring sweetness is expressed as the number of 20-kilo puttonyos of the aszú berries, or vineyard hods added to the 137 litres (one gonci barrel). Today the way puttonyos are measured is a little more scientific they relate to the exact level of residual sugar in the must.

The legal minimum for sweet wine production is 60g/l which is 3 puttonyos which is more less equivalent to a German Auslese with four or five putting it in the Beerenauslese class. After six puttonoyos the Hungarians make a wine called Aszú Eszencia which is only made in the best harvests this wine requires 6 years in aging in oak.

The richest and finest wines maintain the highest degree of natural sugar hence the lowest alcohol (10.5% typical). Tokaji can best be described as having regal notes of orange, marmalade apricots and honey. The Eszencia itself is a mind boggling concentration of intense orange with an finish that seems everlasting.


Tokaj a historyDate published: 02/03/14

Tokaji dates back to 1703 when the Szepsy the Chaplain of Rakóczi started planting the the thin skinned Furmint grape in Oremus. Oremus and many of the other Tokaji vineyards are located in the foothills of the Volcanic Carpathian Mountains.

All possessing a southerly aspect and being able to take full advantage of the long dry Autumns. The Mountain range lies to the far east of Hungary near the Slovakian boarder.

The wine was originally thought to have restorative properties, the wealthy always kept a bottle beside their bed for a quick slug before bed. Indeed the patriot Prince Rakoczi of Transylvania used it to seduce Louis XIV and drum up support against his Habsburg overlords.

The area also benefits from the humidity provided by the Bodrog and Tisza rivers and their many tributaries. The humidity and the late ripening of the furmint grape are key to allowing the grapes to botrysize (which is translated as noble rot). It is also worth noting that the Tokaji wines were the first to do so, almost a century before any of the Rhine wines!


TokajDate published: 02/03/14

Tokaji dates back to 1703 when the Szepsy the Chaplain of Rakóczi started planting the the thin skinned Furmint grape in Oremus. Oremus and many of the other Tokaji vineyards are located in the foothills of the Volcanic Carpathian Mountains.

All possessing a southerly aspect and being able to take full advantage of the long dry Autumns. The Mountain range lies to the far east of Hungary near the Slovakian boarder.

The wine was originally thought to have restorative properties, the wealthy always kept a bottle beside their bed for a quick slug before bed. Indeed the patriot Prince Rakoczi of Transylvania used it to seduce Louis XIV and drum up support against his Habsburg overlords.

The area also benefits from the humidity provided by the Bodrog and Tisza rivers and their many tributaries. The humidity and the late ripening of the furmint grape are key to allowing the grapes to botrysize (which is translated as noble rot). It is also worth noting that the Tokaji wines were the first to do so, almost a century before any of the Rhine wines!

To make sweet Tokaji wine the pickers pass through the vineyard endless times in order to collect only the aszú (rotten grapes). The unaffected grapes are also picked and then a must of ripe grapes is made. Depending on the sweetness of the wine rotten grapes are then added to the must.

The way of measuring sweetness is expressed as the number of 20-kilo puttonyos of the aszú berries, or vineyard hods added to the 137 litres (one gonci barrel). Today the way puttonyos are measured is a little more scientific they relate to the exact level of residual sugar in the must.

The legal minimum for sweet wine production is 60g/l which is 3 puttonyos which is more less equivalent to a German Auslese with four or five putting it in the Beerenauslese class. After six puttonoyos the Hungarians make a wine called Aszú Eszencia which is only made in the best harvests this wine requires 6 years in aging in oak.

The richest and finest wines maintain the highest degree of natural sugar hence the lowest alcohol (10.5% typical). Tokaji can best be described as having regal notes of orange, marmalade apricots and honey. The Eszencia itself is a mind boggling concentration of intense orange with an finish that seems everlasting.


Walter Hansel Chardonnay 2010Date published: 25/02/14

Walter Hansel Estate Chardonnay (Buy two save £10)

After Tom's wonderful article on some of our Californian fine wines yesterday, I decided to follow on with another Californian fine wine which has just come down in price!

The Walter Hansel Chardonnay 2010 started the journey from grape to wine in Sonoma Country at the southern tip of the Russian River Valley near the Sebastopol hills. The location is ideal for growing Chardonnay, with perfect grape ripening temperatures.

After hand picking the grapes are bunch pressed into French oak barrels for fermentation. The primary fermentation last 2-3 weeks and malolactic fermentation can last until early spring of the next year, which explains it's huge complexity and depth. The expensive french oak barrels give the wine sweet notes of vanilla and popcorn plus a buttery, toasty finish. Fantastic value for money and a must for all lovers of hedonistic Chardonnays.


tasting counter updateDate published: 25/02/14

We've refreshed the tasting counter with a few bargain treats this week including one of my favourite whites- Cune Vina Real Blanco 2012.

It has a freshness thanks to the crispness of Viura, with lovely notes of sweet spice (cinnamon if you want to get picky) which adds up to a pleasing drop. I think versatility is the key word here; freshness to celebrate the breaking sun & a weightiness ready to take on the first bbq of the year of spiced grilled haddock with lemon butter sauce. Don't forget the capers.

Californian WinesDate published: 24/02/14

Just arrived in our Fine Wine Corner...

Foxen Pinot Noir 2012 - £24.00

New in, this is an exquisite wine from a small winery in Santa Barbera. It is quite different from its neighbouring styles of Pinot Noir from Napa and Sonoma in the sense that it offers spicy new oak scents combined with aromatic herbs, a core of black fruit characteristics and a ripe tannic structure. Whereas Napa and Sonoma Pinot Noirs are more likely to use old oak and red fruits are more prominent. I would recommend this with any sort of game dish.

Stag's Leap Merlot 2010 - £35.00

Hailing from the prestigious Napa Valley, Stags Leap have produced a rich, fleshy and complex style of Merlot. It is beautifully balanced, and the structure and texture hold this elegant wine into place providing great length. Primary characteristics of blueberry are complimented with natural spices. Highly recommended! Brilliant with any red meats and hard cheeses.

Stags Leap Cabernet Artemis 2011 - £40.00

Another excellent wine produced by Stag's Leap is full of classic Napa Cabernet characteristics such as cassis, blackberry, cedar and liqourice on the nose supported by depth and rich flavours of cherry, chocolate and coffee on the palate. Really ripe tannins and good acidity. If you are into your full bodied reds, this one is a no brainer!

Saintsbury Chardonnay 2011 - £17.99

From the Carneros region, this Chardonnay is fermented in 25-30% new French oak barrels and aged sur-lie (lees ageing) for 8 months. During the ageing process the barrels are stirred (batonnage) to increase yeast contact. The flavours of this Chardonnay really are evident from the oak such as the vanilla, hazelnut and toast, and the body and creaminess come from the lees ageing. Well balanced and a powerful finish. A must try! which will keep for another 3 years

Saintsbury Pinot Noir 2011 - £22.00

From the same producer, the ethos of producing wine that maintains the hallmark of the vineyard rather than simply the mark of the producer dominates the wine making philosophy for Carneros Pinot Noir. Great care is taken in picking the grapes, so hand-picking is essential. Classic red fruit aromas with flavours of vanilla, spice and tobacco coming from time spent in oak give this wine texture and firm integrated tannins. Fantastic weighty finish. Like the Foxen, will partner well with any game dishes.

Guigal update.Date published: 24/02/14

Our Guigal Cotes du Rhone £7.99 offer ends tonight at 8pm.

Why not take advantage of the deal and we can deliver out  to you at your convenience.

PIck'n'mix gemsDate published: 17/02/14

The end of the February Pick'n'mix is not to far away so waste no time on pondering whether or not to pick up a mixed case. There are a few great treats that perhaps may not be instantly recognisable but are well worth trying out.

 A classic is the Casa D'Aragona, Salice Salentino. A blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera, it evokes the warmth of Puglia with it's pleasantly rustic dark fruit & spice. There's some well balanced tannin in there too, rarely found at this price point. A guilt free gem worthy of a cheeky Tuesday night, because at £5.99, it's not going to break the bank.

On more of a traditional note, the Guigal Cote du Rhone at £7.99 is a no-brainer. Someone should tell Kevin about this one. Only until 24th Feb, mind.

Is the love still lingering in the air? Let it carry on eternal I say. What better bubbles are there at £17.99 than Cloudy bay Pelorus Rosé to say 'I do'?

Having lamb roast? Why not delve into the Mas des Montagnes 2011, Cotes du Rousillon Villages. Again at £5.99 you can afford to throw in pudding as well.

Don't forget if you're currently flush for wine but you want to take advantage of the prices (getting married?), we're more than happy for you to buy a case or two now, and we can deliver it out to you at your convenience.

Champagne Vintage & Non-VintageDate published: 16/02/14

Styles of Champagne

Non-Vintage: This is a producer's most commercially important wine and represents the style they seek to maintain. These blends are based on current vintage with reserve wines added when necessary. By law non-vintage wines must be aged for a minimum of 15 months with 12 months spent on the lees. House styles can vary from light and crisp to rich, full-bodied and yeasty.

Vintage: These wines are made in only the best years and can be made only from grapes that come from the stated vintage. However a producer can only use a maximum of 80% of the grapes from any harvest to make a vintage wine. Vintage Champagne's are made from the best parcels of wine made that year and are blended to show the producer's house style. They have to spend a minimum of 3 years on the lees and most benefit from further ageing. 


Champagne Traditional MethodDate published: 16/02/14

Traditional Method

You may have heard of producers commonly referring to their sparkling wine to being made in the traditional method. This is the process that they follow in order to make sparkling wine and it is traditional to Champagne. The following will explain the stages:

Harvest & Pressing
Mechanical Harvesting is forbidden in order to avoid damaging the grapes and the risk of colouring the juice, therefore hand-picking is the only process allowed. Grapes are neither destemmed nor crushed and they are pressed as quickly and as gently as possible after picking. Consequently press houses are found throughout the vineyard area to ensure this happens. If grapes are pressed too hard then it runs the risk of extracting too much colour and tannin. As a way of maintaining quality only 102 litres can be extracted from 160 kilograms of grapes. The first 82 litres is called the cuvee and the remaining 20 the taille.

Primary Fermentation
Fermentations generally take place in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats, but some producers still use oak vats and barrels for some, if not, all of their wine. Before fermentation starts the juice is clarified by sedimentation to minimise the development of the savoury non-fruit flavours, making the base wine completely dry with a neutral flavour, high acidity and moderate alcohol. Most base wine is used to make up blends the year after harvest, however some is stored in inert vessels to use in future years in blends. 

Blending
Champagne is dependent on blending due to the unpredictable weather and cool climate. Therefore the best way of ensuring consistency and house style year on year is to blend wines from either stored base/reserve wine from previous years, different villages and different grape varieties. Large producers can use as many as 70 wines in their blends.

Secondary Fermentation
Once the blend is made up a small proportion of Liqueur de tirage (mixture of wine, sugar, yeast, yeast nutrients and a clarifying agent) is added before it is bottled. The bottle is then sealed with a crown cap before being stacked horizontally in the producer's cellars where the temperature should be between 10-12 degrees. The secondary fermentation takes 6-8 weeks to complete. This encourages flavour development, the alcohol is raised by 1.5-2% abv and the CO2 generated by the yeast dissolves into the wine which creates the sparkle.

Yeast Autolysis
Once the ferment is completed the yeast die and form a sediment of lees in the bottle. Over a period of months or even years the dead yeast cells break down releasing proteins and other chemical compounds into the wine. This process is known as Yeast Autolysis. These compounds contribute to the flavour of the wine such as the bread, toast, biscuit notes you can commonly find in sparkling wines made this way. Yeast Autolysis has been known to last for as long as 10 years! once complete the lees can keep the wine fresh for years or even decades!

Riddling & Disgorgement
After maturation the lees sediment is removed using Riddling & Disgorgement. Riddling involves moving the bottle very slowly from a horizontal to vertical position. The yeast sediment falls to the bottom of the bottle under the crown cap, and is then removed. Machines now take this process to a whole new level using around 500 bottles at once to speed up the process. 

Disgorgement involves freezing the neck of the wine where the sediment is held. The crown cap is then removed and the pressure created by the dissolved CO2 ejects the frozen wine taking the sediment with it. The wine is topped up with Liqueur d'expedition (mixture of wine & cane sugar that determines final level of sweetness) before being sealed with a cork. This whole process is again mechanised and takes a matter of seconds.

Bottle Ageing
The last stage of the process allows quality-conscious producers to age the wine for a few months to allow the Liqueur d'expedition to integrate with the wine. The yeasty character of Champagne continues after disgorgement, which is why some Champagne producers prefer to age for longer to gain more yeasty characters. 


Champagne Grape VarietiesDate published: 16/02/14

Grape Varieties

The 3 main grape varieties used in the making of Champagne are: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. Generally they are all used together in a blend. Chardonnay offers acidity and floral/citrus fruit character, Pinot Noir provides body and structure whilst Meunier gives youthful characteristics to the blend. 


Champagne Climate & ViticultureDate published: 16/02/14

Champagne is unique among the AC wines of France in that one appellation covers all the wines, there are no sub-divisions or quality classifications. However certain villages within the region have a cru status in which 44 of them are rated Premier Cru and 17 Grand Cru.

The 3 most famous areas in Champagne which are close to the major production centres of Reims and Epernay are: Montagne de Reims, Vallee de la Marne and Cote des Blancs.

Climate & Viticulture

With Champage being at the most northernly point of France it adopts a cool continental climate, meaning there is a large difference between the temperature in the winter and the summer months. Champagne's temperature during the growing season just about reaches 16 degrees which just fits into the ideal 16-21 range that a vine needs in order to successfully grow. Consequently this can trigger problems such as winter freeze, spring frosts and cold and wet weather. However if the vine is perfectly maintained these weather conditions can permit high acidity and low sugar levels in the grapes which play a significant part in the making of Champagne. 

Soils in Champagne are dominated by chalk which provides good drainage for the vine, and as rainfall is considered low at 650 millimetres (in comparison to 800 millimetres in Bordeaux) the chalk retains a sufficient amount of water to ensure there is always water when the vine needs it. As previously mentioned frost is the biggest viticultural challenge Champagne faces and viticulturalists are trying to minimise this by planting vineyards on slopes and using specific pruning methods.


Moulin à VentDate published: 06/02/14

A solitary windmill overshadows the appellation steeped in history and decadence. Moulin à Vent produces wines to lay down and really savor. The granite hillside is run through with veins of manganese producing wines with a deep ruby hue and sultry spicy aromas. The proof is in the pudding! 


MorgonDate published: 06/02/14

Morgon 'morgonnes', has its very own name for the glorious way that it flourishes with age. The terrior lends its signature to fleshy and powerful wines with strong personality and great aging potential. 


ChenasDate published: 06/02/14

The most rare and unknown of the Cru Chenas always excites and was the favourite wine of Louis XIII. Brooding regal flavours of wood and honeysuckle can only be enhanced with a few years of cellaring.


BrouillyDate published: 06/02/14

Brouilly the Cru is on the summit of, strangely enough Mount Brouilly and it is the largest of the Beaujolais cru, the andesite terroir here produces thoroughbred wines that play on their sublime minerality and structure. 


JulienasDate published: 06/02/14

Named after Julius Ceaser, Julienas is an appellation that has a good diversity of granite and scist terrain giving the wine imperial qualities of juicy red fruit and a nose of iris and black pepper.


FleurieDate published: 06/02/14

Some names that are given to places are just meant to be! Fleurie is one of those, the wines produced are subtle, delicate and sensual. The pink granite that underlies the region gives the wine added character and panache. The fleurie that we tried certainly fitted the bill the delicate and beautiful with a touch of oak wich gave it an added flavour.


The Glory of GamayDate published: 06/02/14

We were treated to a great evening with Tim Atkin at the Beaujolais wine tasting. Tim began by telling us about the region and how beautiful the area is with its undulating hills and beautiful sandstone walls. We also learnt that now is the time to buy in Beaujolais for all those budding wine growers out there. Many of the older producers are selling off their vineyards at reasonable prices compared to the rest of Burgundy.


The history of Beaujolais originated when the Gamay grape was outlawed in the rest of Burgundy and the the edicts pushed Gamay plantings south where they flourished on the granite based soils of Beaujolais. The real asset of Gamay is its ability to create a balance between alcohol and acidity, producing fruity, young wines as well as wines with good aging potential.


George Duboeuf the 'King of Beaujolais' is a small wiry bright eyed man with a very serious passion for gamay. He started off his adult life as a PE teacher in Paris. He quickly became unhappy with city life and of his seemingly endless commute on the Paris equivalent of the central line. So he escaped to Beaujulais. After years of grafting and endless hard work he has come out on top with the biggest area under vine in the Beaujolais region.


The evening was kicked off with a couple of distinctly average wines. Firstly a cold fermented chardonnay that was seriously lacking in anything to warrant it any merit and a rose that left me wondering whether I had even drunk anything at all! However the night was young and the wines had only just been poured, we had far more to excite our palates throughout the evening.


During the tasting evening we learnt about the Beaujulais 12 cru. For the sake of simplicity we can group the cru into soft: fleurie, medium: Julienas and Brouilly. The last group of wines were those that will benefit from aging. The cru that are most famed for there aging potential are Chenas, Morgon and Moulin à Vent.

Some names that are given to places are just meant to be! Fleurie is one of those, the wines produced are subtle, delicate and sensual. The pink granite that underlies the region gives the wine added character and panache. The fleurie that we tried certainly fitted the bill the delicate and beautiful with a touch of oak wich gave it an added flavour.

Named after Julius Ceaser, Julienas is an appellation that has a good diversity of granite and scist terrain giving the wine imperial qualities of juicy red fruit and a nose of iris and black pepper.

Brouilly the Cru is on the summit of, strangely enough Mount Brouilly and it is the largest of the Beaujolais cru, the andesite terroir here produces thoroughbred wines that play on their sublime minerality and structure.

The most rare and unknown of the Cru Chenas always excites and was the favourite wine of Louis XIII. Brooding regal flavours of wood and honeysuckle can only be enhanced with a few years of cellaring.

Morgon 'morgonnes', has its very own name for the glorious way that it flourishes with age. The terrior lends its signature to fleshy and powerful wines with strong personality and great aging potential.

A solitary windmill overshadows the appellation steeped in history and decadence. Moulin à Vent produces wines to lay down and really savor. The granite hillside is run through with veins of manganese producing wines with a deep ruby hue and sultry spicy aromas. The proof is in the pudding!

As well as learning about these enchanting appellation were reminded of the news that Beaujolais has had a recent run of stellar vintages. Of note were the 09,10 and 11 could 2013 be the next....?


Wine QuoteDate published: 01/02/14

"The best wines are the ones we drink with friends."

WSET studiesDate published: 01/02/14

My studies continue...today's topic: types of yeast

Did You Know?Date published: 01/02/14

Biodynamic wine-makers in Burgundy soothe their vines after hail storms with homeopathic doses of arnica.

Fascinating stuff.

Bargain Hunt SelectionDate published: 01/02/14

There is still time left to grab a few bottle from our Bargain Hunt selection - some fabulous wines at pretty special prices!

Come visit us to find out more!

Wine QuotesDate published: 25/01/14

'Cooking with wine will make you feel fine.'

Ali Dighe, 2013

CoopersDate published: 25/01/14

Celebrate 'Australia Day' this year with an ice cold brewski.

Brewed in Adelaide, South Australia with care and precision, Coopers has been keeping the Aussies cool for decades.

This beer is made for the Australian climate in a light and fresh style. That serves as the ultimate refreshment for a weary Aussie after a day of messing around with Koalas and Kangaroos in the outback.

Why not buy a couple of cases and be just like our Australian cousins.


Australia day celebration toolsDate published: 25/01/14

If you're celebrating or otherwise Australia day tomorrow, why not take advantage of our 20% off Australian wines deal & Coopers Pale Ale 2 pack deal.


Wine QuoteDate published: 25/01/14

'One should always be drunk. That's all that matters...but with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose. But get drunk.'

- Charles Baudelaire, circa 1850s

Wine QuoteDate published: 25/01/14

'My only regret in life is that I didn't drink enough Champagne.'

- Robert Noecker

Free Wine Course!Date published: 25/01/14

Fancy attending an informal wine course with some of Islington's most knowledgeable wine experts? The first course is at 6pm on February 13th. 

Still places left so sign up today!


Desert Island WinesDate published: 25/01/14

Alex would go for...Alain Grignon Viognier! £6.99 at Majestic when you buy 2 or more bottles!

Wine QuotesDate published: 25/01/14

'It takes a lot of good beer to make great wine.'

Brian O'Donnell, Winemaker

Wine QuotesDate published: 25/01/14

'Wine improves with age. The older I get the better I like it.'

Wine QuoteDate published: 19/01/14

'Wine is a peep-hole on a man.'

- Alcaeus

Wine QuoteDate published: 19/01/14

'I pray you do not fall in love with me, for I am falser than vows made in wine.'

- William Shakespeare, As You Like It

Wine QuoteDate published: 19/01/14

'In wine, there's truth.'

- Pliny the Elder

Wine QuoteDate published: 19/01/14

'What wine goes with Captain Crunch?'

- George Carlin

Wine QuoteDate published: 19/01/14

'Beer is made by men, wine by God.'

- Martin Luther

Wine QuoteDate published: 19/01/14

'His lips drink water, but his heart drinks wine.'

- E. E. Cummings

Wine QuoteDate published: 18/01/14

'Penicillin cures, but wine makes people happy.'

- Alexander Fleming

Majestic Islington are on Twitter!Date published: 18/01/14

Come and check us out - @majesticisl

Free Wine CourseDate published: 18/01/14

Fancy attending an informal wine course with some of Islington's most knowledgeable wine experts? The first course is at 6pm on February 13th. 

Sign up now!

Southern FranceDate published: 18/01/14

Southern France

This is a diverse region which is improving year on year, especially its value-for-money wines. The warm mediterranean climate has long sunshine hours with warm summer temperatures, mild winters and low levels of rainfall which makes it a very suitable area for grape growing. However it can often suffer from strong winds which in turn affects grape quality.

The main black grape varieties grown here are: 

Grenache (most widely planted, thriving in the warm and dry conditions)
Syrah (performs better in the more moderate sites)
Carignan (can produce quality wines on old vines)

There are also other significant, yet smaller plantings of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault. Blendings are common, and Cinsault is often used as a partner to Carignan to add fruit and aromatic flavour. Mourvedre plays an important role in blends by adding richness, colour and complexity.  

The main white grape varieties grown here are:

Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc (most widely planted, adapt well to Mediterranean climate)
Viognier (significant increase in plantings)
Muscat (used in production of Vins Doux Naturels (lightly fortified wine, adding sweetness and perfumed aromas)
Grenache Blanc (often blended with other local varieties, adding body)

Other smaller plantings include Picpoul, Mauzac and Maccabeu to name a few. Blending is again common with Marsanne (adding richness and weight) & Rousanne (adding acidity) commonly used.  

This week is all about Southern France, so pop by Majestic Islington and try our selection at the tasting counter.

 

Wine QuotesDate published: 18/01/14

'Either give me more wine or leave me alone.'

Rumi, circa 1200s

Wine & food? How about a cider match?Date published: 17/01/14

With the arrival of our new cider, Burrow Hill, I remembered an absolutely delicious food match with cider.

Seared scallops with cauliflower puree. The slight sweetness of the cider enhances the sweetness of the scallops whilst the crispness refreshes the palate. And it's easy to make. But remember, none of this trawled scallops business.

Revision Fact of the DayDate published: 17/01/14

Carbonic Maceration

Is the process of placing whole bunches of uncrushed grapes in vats that have been filled with carbon dioxide. Due to the lack of oxygen, grapes are forced to get the energy they need by converting glucose into alcohol, carbon dioxide and energy. The grapes consequently burst, and then they are pressed and the juice is separated from the skins. 

This process is generally used by winemakers to extract colour and to give softness, fruit flavours and less tannin to the wine.

Carbonic Maceration is most commonly associated with Beaujolais Nouveau.

Desert Island WinesDate published: 17/01/14

If you were stuck on a desert island, which wine would want to be stranded with?


Neil's choice: Pingus Ribero Del Duero, 2001.

WSET studiesDate published: 17/01/14

Phew...now that the Christmas rush is over, I can finally hit the books and continue my WSET studies.

Currently reading about growing environment... anyone want to hit me with some knowledge?? 

Wine QuoteDate published: 17/01/14

'Life is too short to drink bad wine.'

- Anonymous

Wine QuoteDate published: 17/01/14

'In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat you need it.'

- Napoleon Bonaparte

Food & Wine Match of the Day!Date published: 17/01/14

Today...Roasted duck and Pinot Noir - a true classic!

Is it the best?Date published: 16/01/14

Some have argued, & probably mostly the producers, that our new cider Burrow Hill is the best cider in the UK.

Burrow Hill Cider features on the lists of many Michelin starred restaurants. Owner, Julian Temperley, (who has featured on River Cottage and Rick Stein shows) is an out-spoken traditionalist with no interest in selling his cider through major supermarkets. All the apples are home grown on 160 acres of orchards, and are then pressed and blended in a very traditional, medium/dry style.

They take great pride in their cider, there's no doubt. If you're a ciderite, why not check out the website for more info.

www.ciderbrandy.co.uk


Chat From The Stack...Date published: 15/01/14

Forthcoming from Majestic Wine Islington. Watch this space...

Wine QuotesDate published: 15/01/14

'Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.'

Louis Pasteur

Food & Wine Match of the Day!Date published: 15/01/14

Today's choice - Shepherds Pie with lamb mince and our Berberana Gran Reserva 2006!

A steal at £8.99 a bottle (when you buy 2 or more)!

I think I'll get a bottle for tonight...

Food & Wine Match of the Day!Date published: 12/01/14

As its Sunday, the perfect food and wine match would be...

A full bodied Syrah blend from the Rhone Valley or an Aussie Shiraz to go with your traditional British Sunday Roast.

The body and weight of both will match perfectly with the richness of the roast.

Food & Wine Match of the Day Part IIDate published: 11/01/14

As its saturday we thought we would treat you to two food and wine matches.

Here we would recommend in particular the Yalumba 'Y Series' Viognier. Yalumba which was founded in 1849, has had great success with the rare and aromatic Viognier grape.

This ripe, full bodied white would match perfectly with tuna or seared swordfish due to its aromatic qualities.

Food & Wine Match of the Day!Date published: 11/01/14

Seafood and Sancerre!

There is nothing better than the simplicity of a lovely refreshing Sancerre and a rewarding side of Paella. Imagine this, with the backdrop of the Med glistening in the evening sunshine, pure exhilaration.

Food & Wine Match of the Day!Date published: 10/01/14

Today's Food & Wine match is...Pizza & Copertino 2008!

Made with a grape called Negroamaro, the Copertino 2008, Masseria Monaci is a medium bodied wine with delicious plum fruit flavours and a soft round feel on the palate.

It is an ideal partner for all sorts of Italian food, but why not keep it simple and try it alongside a quality thin crust pizza with fresh toppings!

Mouthwatering...

Bargain Hunt!Date published: 10/01/14

The bargain hunters have been successfully foraging for the remaining wines in our range this week.

We still have the most excellent Cape Mentelle Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon left, Valdivieso Sauvignon Blanc for something a little more citrussy. If you're still in Christmas mode, try out the McGuigan Shortlist Chardonnay. Having a do? Nothing better than plonking a magnum on the table to impress; Marques de Caceres Crianza should do the trick. 

You'll have to be quick, they're going fast! See you on Saturday or give the store a call.

Food & Wine Match of the Day!Date published: 09/01/14

Sauvignon Blanc with smoked salmon!

The acidity of the Sauvignon cuts through the oily texture of the salmon to create pure bliss on the palate!

My recommendation would be Sancerre Vacheron:

Origin: A hilltop town, Sancerre lies to the east of the Loire region, facing Pouilly-Fumé opposite the river. Known for its racy, mineral and pungent expression of Sauvignon Blanc, this is textbook Sancerre from probably the best producer in the region.

Taste: Fabulously aromatic nose, concentrated gooseberry fruit flavours, all carefully balanced by a rich smokiness and steely dry palate. A mineral, elegant and long finish.

Wine QuoteDate published: 08/01/14

"A meal without wine is called breakfast" Anon

Food & Wine Match of the Day!Date published: 08/01/14

Steak & Argentinian Malbec

This really is a match made in heaven! A full-bodied, slightly spicy malbec is the perfect accompaniment to a tender slab of medium-rare beef. 

Mouthwatering!

Food & Wine Match of the Day!Date published: 07/01/14

Fish & chips and champagne!

Sounds bizarre but it actually works really well. The acidity of the champagne cuts through the fat and the biscuit flavours in the fizz complement a crisply battered piece of fish.

Give it a try...

Wine QuotesDate published: 07/01/14

"Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup.  All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle. "  Coelho

PradikatsweinDate published: 07/01/14

Pradikatswein


Pradikatswein indicates quality wine with special attributes. It differs from lower level wines in that the must cannot be enriched. This process is known as chaptilizationwhen the must weight is altered pre fermentation to change the wines characteristics. Which narrows down the areas where the grapes can be harvested making it more prestigious. The different levels are laid out ...


Kabinett: these wines are the most delicate and are usually medium sweet. They have a high acidity and Rieslings in this style have green apple flavours. A sweeter style will have an alcohol level between 8-9% whereas drier styles can reach 12% abv.


Spatlese: literally 'late harvest' typically semi-sweet (but not always). More concentrated than a Kabinett and the green apple has been replaced by citrus aromas. The grapes are harvested 7 days after the harvest which carries the risk of the crops being ruined by the rain. Although it is a 'late harvest wine' it is not a desert wine a term often used with US wines.


Auslese: the highest level of wine that can still be a dry wine, Auslese means 'select harvest'. It is richer than previous levels on the Pradikatswein. Particularly sweet ones can be labelled Goldskpel which indicates the grapes are harvested from particularly ripe bunches of grapes.


Beerenauslese (BA): made from overripe grapes individually selected from bunches and often affected by noble rot. Some varieties have been developed to achieve BA must weights without the aid of botrytis, but the resulting wines never have the complexity and refreshing acidity of a true Riesling Beerenauslese

Eiswein: comes from the frozen vine this requires temperatures below -8ºC. Harvesting often takes place on winter nights often as late as January. The grape musts must reach the same weight as a BA. The most classic eiswein style is not affected by noble rot but because the water in the grape is frozen the remaining juice is super concentrated.


Trokenbeerenauslese (TBA): means grapes that have been dried on the vine the grapes have literally shrivelled to tiny raisins. This wine is only made in exceptional vintages and are only produced in minute quantities. Top quality TBAs are among the world most expensive wines.


Bargain Hunt!Date published: 07/01/14

This January we've got a real bargain hunt going on. And the only reason we've reduced these wines is to make room for next season's selection.

With a delicious 33.3% off when you buy any 2 from the range of selected wines, you're bound to find some unbelievable bargains. The perfect way to perk up your January. 

But hurry - stocks will sell out quickly!

Opening Hours Over ChristmasDate published: 23/12/13

Our opening hours over the Christmas period are:

  • Monday 23 December: 9am - 8pm
  • Tuesday 24 December: 9am - 5pm
  • Wednesday 25 December: CLOSED
  • Thursday 26 December: CLOSED
  • Friday 27 December: 9am - 8pm
  • Saturday 28 December: 9am - 7pm
  • Sunday 29 December: 10am - 5pm
  • Monday 30 December: 9am - 8pm
  • Tuesday 31 December: 10am - 5pm
  • Wednesday 1 January: CLOSED

We're open our normal opening hours from Thursday 2 January onwards.

Brunello di MontalcinoDate published: 20/12/13

 Brunello di Montalcino
With Italian wine selling so well at the moment I thought I would give a small insight into Brunello di Montalcino. The region is hugely popular in the USA with 1 out 3 bottles sold being drunk there. The region received DOCG status in the 1980s (the first in Italy). Brunello (meaning brown) was originally thought to be a completely different grape variety from Sangiovese. After experimentation it was discovered to be the same grape but the name stuck.
Brunello di Montalcino needs to be 100% Sangiovese and requires a minimum ageing of 5 years the longest in Italy. Part of the reason for this is that the wine is oaked in large slovakian Bottes which means that the wine does not get as much contact with the wood. As a result young Brunello can be a little austere. MW Mary Ewing-Mullingan believes that the wine needs at lest 10 years ageing for the flavours to harmonize.
The region has one of the warmest and dryest climates in Tuscany and the grapes ripen a week earlier than nearby Vino Noble di Montalcino. The soil types vary hugely from limestone to volcanic marl. This contributes to the vast rage in quality and potential complexity of the wine.
Brunello has often been compared to Burgundian Pinot Noir the wine has smooth tannins and a ripe fruit driven character with a high acidity. This allows it to pair well with food such as grilled meat or game.
Brunello di Montalcino 2005 Gianni Brunelli
This DOCG from the town of Montalcino in southern Tuscany practises late harvesting, long, slow fermentation and ageing in barrels for at least four years. Gianni Brunelli was a larger than life character and his wines are at once concentrated, layered and nuanced.
TasteRich and full bodied. Fine, firm tannins and powerful, ripe Sangiovese fruit. Elegant and subtle, with dustings of chocolate and spice, this is a wine of considerable finesse.
Brunello di Montalcino 2008 Banfi
OriginCastello Banfi is a family owned vineyard estate and winery in the Brunello region of Tuscany. The grapes for this Brunello are sourced from hillside sites with calcareous sandy topsoil and rounded stones.
TasteA full bodied wine with hints of liquorice and chocolate complements the concentrated, velvety cherry fruits on the palate. Very well integrated 

ChablisDate published: 10/12/13

Chablis is a small settlement to the north of Burgundy in the Yonne region. The only grape that is allowed to be planted is the Chardonnay grape. In the best sites the soil is limestone overlaid with kimmergion clay which is mainly made up of marine fossils this gives the wines a unique 'iodine' character. It is believed that Chardonnay was first planted in Chablis by the Cistersian monks for every day use in the 12th century.

Jancis Robison believes that Chablis is the purest expression of the Chardonnay grape for the wine is rarely oaked allowing delicate flavours to flourish. Basic Chablis can be very austere with green apple flavours and a high acidity, better examples often show a stoney or smokey minerality. This flavour is sometimes described as "goût de pierre à fusil" ("tasting of gunflint").

Chablis has forty vineyards with the right to Chablis Premier Cru amongst the most famous are Vallions and Fourchaume. These vineyards are usually found on the well exposed slopes that fan out from the Grand Cru sites. Chablis then has seven adjoining vineyards that make up Chablis Grand Cru. Grand Cru vineyards usually need significant bottle age to show their best and can develop extraordinary smokey complex aromas.

Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons 2010 Domaine Louis Moreau

Louis Moreau is the 6th generation of Moreau family winemakers, and today manages an estate including parcels of vines in 5 of Chablis' 7 grands crus. Vaillons is located to the south-west of Chablis, on an area of Kimmeridgian limestone that is the region's hallmark. Thanks to the small and concentrated flavours produced by this vineyard's old vines, this Chablis offers a wonderful depth and complexity and an involving, mineral texture.

Chablis 1er Cru Fourchaume 2012 Séguinot-Bordet

A well respected family run winery dating back to the 1950s located on the right bank of the Serein The wine is pale golden yellow in colour with light greenish glints. The nose is an explosion of fine fresh notes, of elegant white flowers, fresh brioche and leafy tenderness. The taste reveals instantly all its power, richness and elegance-perfect balance of finesse, mineral, mellowness and vivacity. It generously offers us a full spectrum of aromas. The finish just goes on and on.


Cloudy Bay Late Harvest RieslingDate published: 07/12/13

A regal nose of concentrated tropical fruit and rich nougat which leads into a beautifully round pallet which has a fantastic viscosity.

You experience honey, orange blossom and ripe peach on a backdrop of buttered toast. The wine has a lingering zingy finish which is provided by the acidity of the ripe Riesling grapes that are included in the must.

In order to extract the full flavor a very long overnight press cycle is used. The winemaker then moves the must and racks it into stainless steal vats where it ferments for two months. The wine is then left to mature with grace in French oak for just over 8 months.

Serve with crème caramel, fruit puddings or with blue cheeses over the next 5 years.

£15.99 When buy any 2 New Zealand wines


BaroloDate published: 21/11/13

Barolo

With the dark winter nights now well and truly upon us, there is no better time for promoting our range of Barolo's. Barolo is located in the Northwest corner of Italy, the only grape that is permitted to be grown in Barolo production is Nebbiolo.

Nebbiolo has one of the longest growing periods. It is one of the first varieties to bud and ripens, mid to late October. This means that growers are in danger of hail storms in late summer and early spring frosts.

The grape itself is a dark blue, greyish colour covered with an abundant level of wax. The grapes produce a light coloured wine that is usually ruby or garnet in its youth and then gathers a brick hue in later life. However as with Pinot Noir production Nebbiolo never makes opaque wine.

A Barolo must have at least two years age in oak. For wines that are labelled Barolo Riserva five years total ageing is required. In recent history this length of time and more used to be the norm. Traditionally Barolo's used to be aged for minimum 10 years in the Botte whereas now Barolo's are more often aged in French barriques and the grapes are given a much shorter maceration time. In the 1970s and 1980s the trend changed in favour of younger more fruit driven wines this period of time was hailed as the 'Barolo wars'.

Our Barolo's

Dagromis Barolo 2007 Gaja £45.00


Dagromis is an estate in La Morra the most productive zone in the Barolo region. Dagromis is a tribute to the Gromis family that used to own the vineyard throughout the 19th century. Dagromis translates into English as 'at home with the Gromis family'. The 2007 vintage is rich with a round and appealing body. Expect notes of dried herbs, licorice and white truffles on the pallet. Drink now or hold for increasingly complex flavours to emerge.

Barolo 2009 Natale Verga £23.00 down to £18.00

The Verga company is one that has been past down from generation to generation for decades and is currently run by Enrico Verga. At Verga they champion 'elegance, enthusiasm and passion'. The wine is aged for 24 months in French Barriques giving a classic example of the new trend in Barolo. This bottle has a blackberry bouquet, accented with persistent notes of rose petal and subtle wood smoke. A warming palate with undertones of spice and graphite.

Barolo 2008 Ciabot Berton £28.00 down to £23.00 This small estate cultivates about 12 ha around the Roggeri vineyard. After a traditionally long period of maceration, their Barolo is then aged for two years in Slavonian oak barrels. Showing a splendid ruby red colour this wine is characteristic of Barolo with its high acidity and fleshy tannins. With classic aromas of rose petals and tar and high levels of plummy fruit.


Educational Visit to ChampagneDate published: 09/11/13

CHAPTER I

Champagne is such an emotive word it excites and thrills even the most de riguer of Champagne drinker.

So when I was recently given the opportunity to visit the Champagne region I obviously jumped at the chance!

Champagne derives from the Latin term campania, originally used to describe the rolling open countryside just north of Rome (Robinson, 2006). However, I wasn't here to look at the pretty countryside I was here to learn about Champagne!

I first visited the house of Ruinart one of my personal favourites. At the time the house was closed to the general public however I was not the general public. The new reception area and tasting rooms were fantastic!! The floor was decorated with pieces of Ruinart bottles and the colours all tied in with the browns, golds and creams associated with the Ruinart brand. I was taken into a lift and it rapidly descended. I stepped out of the gold and cream surroundings and into a dark, musty, cold and cavernous world. These were the vast cellars of Ruinart in which thousands of bottles of Champagne go through the important stages of ageing. The cellars are carved into the chalk and are hundreds of years old from when the first Champagne winemakers began producing wine. From the cellars we moved back to the reception area and we were greeted by Frederic, the Chef de Caves. He was a thoroughly interesting individual and it was amazing to be guided through the wines by such a gracious and enigmatic man. We managed to taste the R de Ruinart, Blanc de Blancs, Dom Ruinart 2002, Ruinart Rose and Dom Ruinart Rose 1998. It would be unfair to pick a favorite but I always enjoy the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. I feel it embodies the Ruinart Taste because chardonnay is at the heart of Ruinart Champagnes. On the nose there are fresh citrus notes twinned with a white flower and ginger character. On the palate the wine is clean and pure with notes of marzipan, citrus and ginger....all together crisp, clean and exhilarating!

The Ruinart range is available through Majestic. The Blanc de Blancs is £45.00 per bottle.

To be continued.......

On the next chapter I continue my journey through Ruinart, I visit Veuve Clicquot and I reflect on just how good Champagne is.........    


Amarone NegrarDate published: 26/10/13

This is an iconic italian red wine from the Veneto region of north western Italy, Amarone della Valpolicella is a blend of the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grape varieties. Grapes for the wine were dried on straw mats, increasing the sugar concentration, before being fermented and aged in oak barrels.

Brooding, deep, intense aromas of Christmas cake, chocolate, cinnamon, sweet fruits and spice. The concentrated palate offers a thick texture and soft velvety tannins, very rich fruit characteristics.

This wine can be aged for up to 5 years in the bottle, or enjoyed now. This wine goes particularly well with game, rich pasta, tomato dishes and cheeses. Also with Christmas creeping around the corner, this wine would be a perfect accompaniment to Christmas pudding.

This wine is currently open to try on our tasting counter!

£18.00 Multi-buy

(buy 2 selected Fine Wines save £10)

£23.00 Single Price


Wine of the WeekDate published: 19/10/13

Turkey Flat 'Butcher's Block' Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvedre  2010 Barossa

Turkey Flat vineyards are so named because they stand on an area of flatlands, on the banks of Tanunda Creek, that were once home to a proliferation of wild turkeys. The first Shiraz vines were planted in this area by Silesian settler Johann Fiedler in 1847.

The nose is floral with hints of five spice, plum, cherry and blackcurrant, with dinstinctive smoky, meaty undertones. The palate is generous, displaying juicy fruit with a firm palate structure.

Drink with all red meats, game pie, or chargrilled sausages.

£11.99 Multi-buy

(when you buy at least 2 bottles, as part of a mixed case)

£14.99 Single Price



CNDPDate published: 19/10/13

With colder weather creeping up on us we thought it would be a good idea to promote some of our warming Rhone wines with a focus on Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

CNDP is positioned on the Eastern bank of the Rhone valley. It holds a special place in the hearts of the French people as it was the first region to receive Appelation Controlee status. The area is also firmly entwined with papal history. Indeed the wines of the area were originally called Vin du Pape which later changed to CNDP.

The land around the village is flat with many different aspects and the soil types vary considerably. This is reflected in the amount of grapes that are permitted to be grown in the area which numbers a total of 13. Although in CNDP many successful wines are 100% Grenache and some just adding a small amount of Moverdere to add a gamey savoury quality. CNDP is famed for producing wines with concentrated spiced red fruit flavors. That balance well with the characteristic high alcohol that is associated with wines grown in the southern Rohne.

We recommend:

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 'Cuvée des Antiques' 2012


Price: 14.99 when you buy two or more bottles

This wine is dark ruby with a complex nose of spices and hints of pear. A smooth and lingering finish.

Enjoy this with rich, rustic flavoured dishes, especially meat and game


A little insight in to Sancerre...Date published: 15/10/13

Sancerre is located on the eastern side of the Loire Valley, and is widely known for producing some of the finest Sauvignon Blancs on offer. These wines are generally youthful and to be drunk at a young age, with bottle ageing of only a year or two.

A total of 14 villages and 3 hamlets hold the right to produce Sancerre. Two of the best Sancerre vineyards are the pebbly, chalky Chene Marchand in the village of Bue, which is known for making a mineraly, finally etched Sauvignon Blanc. The other being the Monts Damnes in Chavignol, where clay-limestone produces more broader, complex wines.

Sancerre is a dry white wine with high acidity, a steely minerality and is known to offer a gun smoky element. Common aroma characteristics can include classic Sauvignon Blanc flavours such as tropical fruits and gooseberries.

We recommend:

Sancerre Blanc 2012, Domaine Vacheron

Price: £17.99

Fabulously aromatic nose, concentrated gooseberry fruit flavours, all carefully balanced by a rich smokiness and steely dry palate. A mineral, elegant and long finish.

Food Match: The classic match to white goats cheese, this wine is also a brilliant partner to smoked salmon and poached trout.

Beer of the weekend.Date published: 05/10/13

Black Sheep ale is a truly scrumptious drop. It first appeared in pubs around the Yorkshire dales about 21 years ago. 

It is a full flavored premium bitter, with a rich fruity aroma. It is brewed with many generous handfuls of choice Golding hops giving a bittersweet malty taste, followed by a long, dry and bitter finish.

Majestic price £21.60 for a case of 12x 500ml bottles when you buy two cases of bottled ale.

Spanish Wines 25% off: Staff recommendations!Date published: 28/09/13

Spanish Wines 25% off: Staff recommendations!

‘El Chaparral de Vega Sinodoa’ Old Vine Garnacha, 2010 Navarra

100% Garnacha made from vines between 80 and 100 years old with low yields of high-quality grapes. The Atlantic influence in Navarra gives the grapes a higher acidity which balances the intense, vibrant ripe forest fruits of the wine. Bitter, dark chocolate tannins go terrifically with steak or roasted pork.

£9.99 or £7.49 when you buy any 2 Spanish wines and save 25%

Rioja Reserva Vina Ardanza 2004, La Rioja Alta

On the western edge of La Rioja region, La Rioja Alta is at a higher altitude than the rest of Rioja and this means the grapes have a shorter growing season which gives the wines lighter, brighter fruit flavours and a noticeably ‘old world’ style.

2004 was a 9/10 vintage in Spain and was particularly good for La Rioja Alta. A classic Rioja with red fruits, figs, vanilla and spice with silky smooth tannins. Shows its true depth of flavour after a few hours in the decanter.

£22.50 or £16.86 when you buy any 2 Spanish wines and save 25%


Spanish Wines 25% off, Grape focus: TempranilloDate published: 28/09/13

Spanish Wines 25% off, Grape focus: Tempranillo

With 25% off our Spanish wines in store, here is a little more information on one of my favourite grapes, Tempranillo.

Spain’s signature black grape variety and a key part of many of Spain’s most respected red wines. It is a thick-skinned grape variety and makes deep-coloured, age-worthy wines. Temprano means ‘early’ in Spanish and this is a grape that ripens early, up to two weeks before Garnacha. Flavours can include strawberries, spice, leather and tobacco leaves depending on yield levels and wine-making. It can either be bottled young or after some years barrel ageing.

Although the most widely produced grape in Rioja, Tempranillo is best suited to a cool climate and this has led to its expansion into Ribera del Duero, Navarra and Penedes. Naturally low in acidity and sugar content, in Rioja Tempranillo is commonly blended with Garnacha, Mazuelo (Carignan), Graciano and Viura.

A grape with many identities depending where it is grown, in Valdepenas Tempranillo is known as Cencibel. In Penedes Tempranillo is known as Ull de LLebre and is used to soften the local Monastrell. In Ribera del Duero it is known as Tinto Fino and is ideally suited to the cool-climate growing conditions so is the principal grape of the region but often blended with Bordeaux varieties, for example in the wines of Vega Sicilia. The grape can also be known as Tinto Madrid, Tinto de la Rioja, Tinto del Pais, Tinto Aragones and Tinta de Toro. Known officially as Roriz in Portugal, it is the second most planted variety in the Douro after Touriga Franca and is used for Port and unfortified wines. Its importance in the region is shown by the fact that Port vintages only tend to be declared in years where Tinta Roriz has done well.  


Superb SauvignonDate published: 28/09/13

St. Clair Pioneer Block Sauvignon Blanc

New Zealand is renowned for producing high quality sauvignon blanc, particularly in the Marlborough region. St. Clair began growing grapes in 1978 to supply local wine companies before establishing their own winery in 1994. Ever since that date, this producer has gone from strength to strength. Their Pioneer Block series showcases the differing terroirs in many of the vineyards in the Marlborough region, with this sauvignon blanc being a particular highlight.

This wine is vibrant and fresh, with aromas of citrus fruits and green herbs. On the palate, it displays further lime flavours with a long zesty finish. Delicious with seafood or lightly spiced Asian cuisine.

£15.99 when you buy at least 2 bottles (as part of a mixed case)


Two HandsDate published: 21/09/13

Last week team Islington were fortunate enough to attend a rare tasting session hosted by up-and-coming Aussie winery Two Hands. I have to admit that I was very excited about this, as I have been a big fan from the moment I tasted one of their wines for the first time – a bottle of the 'Sexy Beast' Cabernet Sauvignon.

We made ourselves comfortable and wasted no time in sampling the healthy selection on offer. The Two Hands Picture series wines were well represented, and included the Sexy Beast Cabernet, Gnarly Dudes Shiraz, The Boy Riesling and Brilliant Disguise Moscato. However, perhaps the most interesting choice from this series was the Brave Faces Grenache/Shiraz/Mataro. This didn't give much away at first but really opened up after a couple of hours – nicely structured with a hint of spice, we could see it being an excellent food wine!

Next up came a couple of big juicy wines from the Garden series, namely Lilly's Garden Shiraz and Bella's Garden Shiraz. Tasting both side by side really allowed us to compare the subtle nuances between the two.

The best was still to come though. Our final wine was the Ares Shiraz – a Two Hands Flagship wine. Wow, this was delicious! Really powerful, rounded and deep with loads of black fruit flavours on the palate and a long long finish. A great way to round off the evening!


Carl Van Der MerweDate published: 21/09/13

Carl Van Der Merwe

You may or may not know the name but you will definitely know his wines! Carl is the general manager and winemaker behind the DMZ wines. These are not wines made in the Korean Demilitarized Zone but rather some wonderful wines from Stellenbosch in South Africa and go by their formal name of De Morgenzon.

We had the pleasure of meeting the man himself last Sunday and tasted through some of his wines that we currently stock. We started off with the DMZ range from which we stock the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Syrah.

The Sauvignon Blanc comes from the cooler slopes in the Stellenbosch area and a small percentage of the wine is fermented in two or three year old French barriques to harmonises the wine. It is an exuberant, grassy and citrussy wine full of the hallmarks of a beautifully crafted youthful Sauvignon. The high acidity gives the wine an intense, mouth watering sensation that makes it a perfect partner to seafood (Buy any 2 South African wines - £8.24).

Next to taste was the Chardonnay which is partially fermented in French oak and aged in barrel for 10 months on its lees giving it a sublte support of delicate oak, spice, almonds and sweet vanilla. The clean tropical fruit and the peachy backbone is balanced perfectly with the secondary oaky characters of the wine making it a beautiful wine that could be compared to a Maconnais style of wine (Buy any 2 South African wines - £8.24).

The last wine from the DMZ range was the Syrah. This wine has slight proportions of Grenache and Mourvedre in the blend which adds to the roundness and fruitier aspects of the wine. This wine has an abundance of bright, youthful plum and berry fruit with touches of violet, vanilla and cinnamon. These spicier secondary characters come from the 11 month maturation in French oak barrels and the fruiter aspects come from the grapes being hand-picked and being partially fermented in stainless steel (Buy any 2 South African wines - £8.24).

After a short break and with customers intrigued as to who Carl was we introduced him to a couple interested in South African wine. This can happen only happen in Majestic!! They decide to buy a couple of Carl's wines after being throughly impressed by his Chenin Blanc. This was for me the stand out wine also – The De morgenzon Chenin Blanc. It is gloriously rich with fermentation in barrel and lee ageing giving notes of honey on top of the rich oak and dazzliing tropical fruit. This type of wine calls for a rich dish to match it.... namely fois gras or fillet of pork (Buy any 2 SouthAfrican wines - £14.99).

Not only were Carl's wines great they also come with an attractive price tag right now with 25% off South African wines you just can't go wrong.....cheers to the 'Morning Sun'!


Great Kiwi Pinot Noir vs Classic Burgundy Date published: 21/09/13

Great Kiwi Pinot Noir vs Classic Burgundy

Coney Pizzicato Pinot Noir 2011 Martinborough

On our Fine Wine deal, you'd be crazy not to snap up a few bottles of the Coney Pizzicato Pinot Noir. I cracked open a bottle of this last weekend and was reminded how good it actually is - smoky, delishiously savoury and with a slightly spicy finish, I would rate this as my favourite New Zealand Pinot Noir in the Majestic range.

£23 or £18 when you buy any two Fine Wines.

(Buy any two selected Fine Wines and save £10)

Beaune 1er Cru Rouge 2010 Louis Jadot


Made from grapes from Premier cru vineyards around Beaune this wine has violets and subtle redcurrants on the nose with a much more savoury finish than the typical New Zealand Pinot Noir style. Some approachable tannins just hold together the structure and give a pleasant mouth feel. Should improve for the next 5 years and would go deliciously with a duck liver pate.


£25 or £20 when you buy any two Fine Wines.

(Buy any two selected Fine Wines and save £10)


Veuve Clicquot Vintage Web ExclusiveDate published: 18/09/13

Veuve Clicquot Vintage Web Exclusive

Tomorrow we will be marketing the latest delivery of Veuve Clicquot Vintage as a web exclusive parcel. It will be available in un-split 6 packs for £180, the equivalent of £30 per bottle. The last time we offered Veuve Vintage at this price was May 2008! Online customers will be given priority access to the stock due in on Thursday and at this price we do expect to sell out. The best way to secure the wine is to order online at 10am on Thursday 19th September.

If you have any difficulties ordering online please call the Islington store on 020 7700 4188 and we'll see what we can do!

Good Luck!

South Africa now 25% off! One week only.Date published: 18/09/13

South Africa now 25% off! One week only.

Grape focus: Pinotage

This is South Africa's signature red grape and divides opinion across the wine world.

Its actually a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault and that makes a much hardier grape than Pinot Noir. It commonly produces rich, almost coarse red wines which can be tamed through time and good oak.

It can is also grown in Brazil, California, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.

Pinotage of the Week: Kanonkop Kadette 2011, Stellenbosch

50% Pinotage and 50% Bordeaux grape varieties, this is a truly classy South African red. Black fruits and plums dominate the palate with hints of spice and toasty oak from a year in French barriques. A brilliant introduction to the world of Pinotage!

Currently reduced from £11.99 to £8.99 for this week only.


Decanter Awards 2013Date published: 18/09/13

Decanter Awards 2013

Sometimes it's nice to shake off the work dungarees, slap on the suit and head off into town. Especially when you've been intvited to attend the Decanter Awards at The Royal Opera House. And what a pleasure it was. I never thought that Gerard Bassett, Michael (& Mrs. of course) Broadbent and myself would ever share the same room but ain't  that just life. 

We arrived a little later than desired, missing the chance to try all the finalists however my glass of Charles Heidsieck Rose '99 was  soothing compensation. During our meal, a smaller selection of finalists were chosen to match the meal, a nice touch. Rather than one wine being selected, a choice of three wines per course was offered. My picks were the Josef Chromy 2011 Chardonnay from Tasmania; very Burgundian with overtones of roasted almonds on top of crisp citrus fruit. Interestingly, the Chateau Joly Juracon Sec  2012 was also widely well received. With our main meal (with a selection of other reds) came the La Rioja Alta 890 Gran Reserva 1998 which was developing nicely with plenty of life still in it. Perfect with the herb crusted cannon of lamb.

I was on my best behaviour so hopefully next year I'll be sharing a table with the Broadbents.


Vina Ardanza 2004 MagnumsDate published: 17/09/13

If you're serious about Rioja you'll know that 2004 was a special vintage. It graced us with wines that have a longe life ahead of them, developing those oh so pleasing flavours and texture. To help you enjoy those pleasures much, much further down the track, we have received an allocation of Vina Ardanza 2004 magnums. If holding onto wine is not within your skillset then passing a magnum around a large table of family at Christmas is good too!


My Spanish favouritesDate published: 14/09/13

'Tis the season to be jolly! Why? Because it's 20% off our Spanish range (buy any 2 Spanish wines save 20%) & that is most certainly a reason to be jolly. I find the quality & value in Spanish wines is unsurpassed. From barrel-ageing in top quality oak, diverse soil types leading to exquisite complexity & texture, to refreshing reds still to be discovered & vibrant aromatic whites (oaked & unoaked) which are experiencing a well deserved blast of popularity which does not appear to be subsiding.

Ganarcha, Tempranillo, Albarino, Godello, Mencia, Gewurtztraminer, Viura; it's all there.

Here are a few of my favourites which I think are oustanding value but more importantly, trememdously delicious.

Cillar de Silos 2009, Ribera del Deuro. £17.49/13.99 What can I say. The first thing is it's £20 of wine in a £13.99 bottle. I continually bang on like a toilet door about this wine. Our Spanish buyer believes this is the best vinatge he has tasted since it's arrival at Majestic.

The vines are old and well established with the roots tunnelling deep down into the granite subsoil, adding a minerally streak to the library of flavours in this wine. It is meaty and savoury on palate yet it is not the blockbuster style you'd expect from The Duero. It has more freshness and class with a distinct oak background, all perfectly balanced.

CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva 2004 Rioja. £25.00/£19.99

Just when I thought the 2004 dream Rioja's had come to an end, out comes the CUNE Imperial Gran Reserva.

 The CVNE range; there's a few but you must start with the Imperial. It's just so pleasing to drink. If you're at the first step of entering the world of fine wine, this is a confident place to start. It's complex yet easy to understand so you don't have to try and find graphite, cola or cat's pee. On the palate there's lovely autumnunal fruit with warm sweet spice thanks to oak intergration. Try it with game or grilled lamb or save it for Christmas. Decanting is a must.

Also in the CVNE range is the Real Blanco 2012  £9.36/£7.49

Unfortunately often overlooked on the shelf, this gem is crisp, with higher end citrus notes such as grapefruit & a cinnamon tingle resulting from barrel fermentation. A great food wine due to it's lively acidity and weight. If you like unoaked Chardonnay or Roussane, put this on your things to drink list.

Pizarras de Otero, Bierzo 2012 £8.74/£6.99

£6.99! Amazing. Bierzo is a small region in North west Spain, producing refreshing, youthful, smokey reds akin to Pinot Noir with the relatively unknown grape variety Mencia. It's medium weight makes it perfect for lunch of cured meats.

This is only a small selection of favourites without going into the Marques de Vargas', Codax Albarino's, the Bordeauxesque Muga Reserva, which are all equally fantastic wines with definite individuality.

As always we have a selection of Spanish wines open to taste on our tasting counter so come in and explore the expanding, delicious and ever generous Spanish range.

Diada Nacional de Catalunya 11 September Date published: 11/09/13

Diada Nacional de Catalunya 11 September

Commemorating the defeat of the Catalunian fighting in the War of Spanish Succession but is our excuse to celebrate all things Catalan … like Cava!

Traditionally made using Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel-lo in the tradional (Champagne) method. Mostly made in Penedes area centering around the village of Sant Sadumi d'Anois.

My current favourite is the Selección Raventós made by one of the largest Cava producers, Codorníu. Made with Chardonnay, Macabeo and Xarel-lo. Pale lemon coloured with very delicate aromas of citrus and peach. It is full bodied with a refreshing crisp finish. Plus it has a pleasing chunky bottle!

Our customers on the Majestic website have given this Cava the thumbs up too with an average of 4 ½ stars making this the perfect way to celebrate National Catalonia Day.

Saturday Spotlight: ChardonnayDate published: 09/09/13

Saturday Spotlight: Chardonnay

Origin:

A white grape variety originating from Burgundy, but now the second most widely planted light-skinned grape variety in the world (after the Spanish Airen).

Viticulture:

A relatively easy grape to grow in high yields but needs to be controlled with either dense planting, low-vigour root stocks or canopy management as quality is affected by high yields. Buds quite early, just after Pinot Noir which puts the coolest vineyards at risk of Spring frosts. (Chablis, Champagne, Casablanca Valley). It also can suffer from coulure and rot due to the grapes thin skins. Chardonnay grapes must be picked before the latter stages of ripening to retain their crucial acidity.

It is the winemakers most versatile grape and can be cool-fermented or barrel fermented/matured with some of the highest quality fruits standing up to new oak. It can undergo malolactic fermentation and lees stirring and it can age in bottle extremely well (Champagne). It can also produce botritys wines if picked late (Maconnais, Romania and New Zealand).

Taste:

Basic Chardonnay can taste of apples and melons but Chardonnay can be truly representative of the terroir in which it is grown. At its best, with the right vineyard, low yields, good levels of acidity and skilled winemaking Chardonnay can produce tremendous savoury, dry, full bodied whites with a lean steeliness which are capable of improving in bottle for years.

Autumn Magic of Fine Wine Tasting! Jermann Pinot Grigio 2011Date published: 07/09/13

Autumn Magic of Fine Wine Tasting! Jerman Pinot Grigio 2011.

Wild, full-throttled and intense this Pinot Grigio is a real step up from your average Pinot Grigio. From a family-run estate in Fruili Venezia Giulia in North Eastern Italy this wine has a soft velvety mouth-feel, unusual for the grape. Would go excellently with pasta cabanara!

£23 per bottle or £18 on our fine wine offer.

Open to taste on our tasting counter today only!!

Curious Brew IPA by Chapel DownDate published: 01/09/13

Curious Brew IPA by Chapel Down

This India Pale Ale is made using three hops. Goldings, a fresh and sweet hop, Bramling Cross to add spice and Citra hop for a clean fresh zesty finish. A harmonious yet powerful hoppy IPA.

17.99 a case (12 bottles)

Discount at Divina!Date published: 30/08/13

We love the iconic Upper St. Cafe la Divina so we want you to love it too. So, when you spend over £50 in our store, we will give you a voucher which entitles you to a FREE bottle of wine with your meal (to the value of £20) at Cafe la Divina. You have to purchase two a-la-Carte however you'll probably want too anyway! 

What could be easier-Six bottles of wine, delivered free, spend over £50 & receive a voucher to get another £20 discount!

The Next Big Things in White WineDate published: 26/08/13

The Next Big Things in White Wine

Working in the British wine industry for over two years I have seen the rise of Sauvignon Blanc drinkers. This has grown on the back of ABC club (Anything But Chardonnay) which was a direct result of the production of cheap, poorly made heavily oaked Chardonnay in the 90s.

The Australian producers seemed to receive the majority of the blame. Oaking Chardonnay with staves of oak or oak chips and in some cases artificially with oak powder. This was a most unfortunate episode in the history of one of the worlds best loved grapes.

Sauvignon Blanc offers instant gratification for the taste buds which is hard to beat and I can understand why people like my Father drink nothing but. However, recently the trend seems to be heading back in the favour of well-made Chardonnay and more unusual grapes.

Viogner and Torrontes have become the wines of the more discerning palate. Both grapes are more tropical fruit focused similar to a New World Chardonnay. Torrontes boasts flavours of peach and melon and Viogner has flavors of apricot and pineapple.

Recently Viogner producers have spent more time matching the acidity with the other characteristics making it a much more balanced tipple. One of the methods used for this is picking the grapes during the night so that the grapes retain their acidity.

Other interesting styles of white wine that are on the increase in popularity are Roussane blends. Southern French producers have been using some very innovative blends of Roussane, Marsanne and Chardonnay to make top quality wines.

The couple that runs the vineyard at Domaine Sainte Rose make some fantastic wines. My particular favourite is the Vent du Nord which is a blend of Chardonnay and Roussanne. It depends on its namesake, the north wind to ensure gentle aeration of the berries and thus humidity-free maturation. It has delicious notes of honeysuckle and peach.

Whilst Sauvignon Blanc is still the go-to white wine for the majority, I am urging people to explore the wide range of other tasty grapes available on the market and maybe you'll find something much more interesting than you expected.


Chinese WineDate published: 26/08/13

We have an interesting situation with the Chinese wine market at the moment.  Not only are the Chinese trading down with 60% of people buying bottles at less than 25euros a bottle (Decanter, vol. 38, no. 11) we also have seen the first 500euro bottle of Cabernet introduced to the market and guess where it is from.....................China!

Interestingly I think we are about to see a lot more Chinese wine becoming common place in the market.  Obviously with wine the vines have to been planted years ago to become quality fruit established vines and now it appears we have some top quality wine (or so the price suggests!). 

Being in the UK we are perfectly placed to receive these wines having an established wine market with a taste for the new and exciting wines.  So look out for Chinese wines the next time you are wine shopping and explore the amazing and exciting world of wine!

 

Bank Holiday Champers!Date published: 25/08/13

What Champagne are you having to celebrate the bank holiday weekend?

Claire will be taking a chilled £25 bottle of Laurent Perrier Brut to the Notting Hill carnival. The most delicate of big name house Champagnes, Laurent Perrier is citrussy with subtle toasty notes making it the most elegant choice for a Summer sparkler!

Flavour fantastic.Date published: 17/08/13

With the entry of our new cider, Orchard Pig Reveller, it reminded me of a lovely dish to enjoy with a cool, dry cider. Grilled scallops with cauliflower puree. The sweetness/acidity of the cider works perfectly with the richness of the scallops and the floral notes seem to lift  the puree. It's an easy dish to make so give it a try. If you're really brave, try grilling the scallops on the shell placed straight on top of coals from the bbq. I saw it done on a Raymond Blanc cooking series, mastered by an Australian no less!


The Wine CriticDate published: 17/08/13

The debate has often raged as to the use of the wine critic.  Is the flowery, hand gesturing wine critic with a flamboyant dress sense a thing of the past?  Are we going to see a set of machine read chemical analysis as tasting notes?

A while back I attended the Champagne Summit in London and had the opportunity to taste some Champagnes with a flavourist.  He put samples of the Champagne and spun them in a mass spectrometer to break down the chemical compounds found in the wine.  He then used his findings to suggest that similar flavour compounds existed in say mushrooms and the specific Champagne we were tasting.  I found this a very enthalling lesson and one that has stuck with me throughout my wine studies and my general wine philosophy.

Of course in "everyday terms" when a mass spectrometer isn't just lying around, wine critiquing is of course subjective and mistakes or contradictory opions can be made.  However, at the end of the day is it any different to art critiquing, food critiquing, film critiquing or any other form of critiquing!!!!  We make opinions and then you are on your own. 

Smell and taste are senses that are very primitive, exciting and wild! Let's not always hang the critic because he/she gets carried away!  Yes I agree elaborate descriptions of 'haunted house' (yes somebody actually said this in a WSET class) or 'crushed rocks' maybe a tad over zealous but maybe they are just using personal phrases to try and jog their memory. 

I hope in the future we can enjoy a balance of science and human nature in the world of wine critiquing but until then, as long as it is honest to the critic involved, let the pen flow and the dress sense swashbuckling!!


MacQuitty Recommends Our Loire WhitesDate published: 14/08/13

Earlier this Summer The Times newspaper listed a number of lovely bottles from our Loire range. The three listed below are currently in stock and well worth samping!

 2012 Vouvray Domaine des Aubuisieres (£9.99) £8.99
"The chenin blanc grape is about to have a moment. This is a terrific, lively, lemony, richly
fragrant vouvray, with lots of fresh pear, quince and apple fruit character."

Pork chops with a cider glaze served with celeriac mash.

2012 Pouilly Fumé ‘Les Cascadelles’ (£11.99) - £9.99
"Delightfully poised, polished pouilly-fumé. Unlike many tart, skinny Loire sauvignons, Les
Cascadelles delivers mouthwateringly ripe greengage fruit, as well as all the sparky,
zesty, herby, gooseberry and nettle pizzazz that you would expect from a top-drawer
Loire producer."

Would be delicious with sea bass tartare and fresh fennel.

2012 Sancerre ‘Clos des Bouffants’ Neveu (£14.99) - £12.99
"Singing with smoky, steely, pierre à fusil gunflint and enticing new-mown grass flavours,
this stylish sancerre is worth it.Soft blowsy sancerre is on every wine list and shop shelf,
but this splendid 2012’s effortless style stems from the steep, sloping Clos des Bouffants
vineyard. Kick off any grand summer dinner with this as an apéritif."

Perfect match for creamy grilled goats cheese salad with a Walnut dressing.

Tempting!

Prices valid at time of posting.

The Pecorino GrapeDate published: 13/08/13

Love crisp refreshing whites, want to try something different?

Contesa Pecorino, IGT Colline Pescaresi

This stands out in our Italian Wine section due to the hand drawn sheep on the label! On the nose there are intriguing floral and lime hints. A really lovely refreshing citrus fruited wine.
(£9.99) On offer at £7.99  - well worth a try!

Perfect Party PlonkDate published: 10/08/13


We have a short term offer on one of our best selling New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs!

Giesen Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough - (£8.74  £7.49)  £5.99 when you buy two or more bottles!

This offer is on until Monday 12th August or while stocks last so call us on  020 7700 4188. We can also deliver for free if you buy at least 6 bottles and spend £40 or more!

Wine of the Week: Special German Parcel Wehlener Klosterberg Riesling Spatlese 2001, C. H. BerresDate published: 09/08/13

Wine of the Week: Special German Parcel

Wehlener Klosterberg Riesling Spatlese 2001, C. H. Berres

Due to a happy accident, our store has received a little extra of this internet-exclusive German parcel. The Wehlener Klosterberg Riesling Spatlese 2001, by C. H. Berres is open for tasting today!

The Berre's family estate in the Mosel valley has been producing wines there since 1510. 2001 was a 10/10 vintage in Germany with small quantities produced but exceptional concentration and class. The Spatlese are the triumphs of the vintage and have excellent ageing potential.

German wines are categorized by the ripeness of the grapes, measured by the grapes must weight. The Pradikat (or distinctions) are: Kabinett, Spatlese, Auslese, Beernauselese, Trokenbeerenauselese and Eiswein. Spatlese literally means 'late harvest' and the grapes are picked at least a week after a preliminary picking of less-ripe grapes.

With a classically Old World Riesling nose of petroleum and peach fruit, this wine also has tropical notes on the palate with hints of passionfruit. A good level acidity balances the sweetness of the wine. With complex honeyed flavours and a tantalising length, this wine is a superb quality with excellent ageing potential.

Best matched with lightly spiced Thai Green curry to match the medium sweetness of the wine or drink by itself as an aperitif. Yum!

Love Cocktails!- Aperol SpritzDate published: 09/08/13

Spritz

Have you ever tried Aperol?

Aperol is an Italian aperitif originally originally created in 1919. Its ingredients include, bitter orange, gentian and rhubarb. It is a perfect precursor to a Sunday lunch!

Although it looks, tastes, and smells much like Campari, Aperol has an alcohol content of 11%—less than half of Campari. This makes it a perfect cocktail ingredient!

We will be serving up mini Spritz samples Sat 10th of August after 12 o'clock, pop in to enjoy the experience.


Clarification on Veggie Wines!Date published: 09/08/13

A question we are often asked- Why does this bottle say it is vegetarian or vegan?

Wine may be made from vegetarian friendly grapes, but In order to remove very tiny undesired particles from the final product the liquid is fined. A variety of substances known as fining agents can be added to the vat to bind to these particles to allow them to be removed.

Agents such as: egg whites, isinglass (fish bladders), gelatine and milk can be used. In theory their addition would render the wines produced, as unsuitable for vegetarians and/or vegans. It is worth remembering that these products are used in very small quantities and the aim is that they will also be removed during the filtration/fining before hitting our shelves.


Not RiojaDate published: 09/08/13

I have always enjoyed Spanish food and wine but even more so when I am actually breathing the Spanish air, sitting in the Spainish sun and chatting to my extended Spanish family.

This manifested itself on a recent trip to Madrid, specifically the mountain range around Segovia and in particular a beautiful restaurant called Alto de Leon. It was here that I was reaffirmed in my proud advocacy of local wine with local food. Ok there are glitches in my near perfect scenario. Firstly, although delicious, eggs have long been the bogeyman at the table of wine. If I did pick a wine to match our course of eggs and asparagus it would be something that cleanses the palate with a high acidity. Possibly my pick would be the Montenovo Godello from Northern Spain (Buy 2 - £9.99). It has the right combination of lightness in weight but with a sense of texture that will cleanse the palate and leave a lovely pear and pineapple finish.

After consulting the wine list several times it was time to pick a red. The page of Ribera Del Duero wines made me salivate. I would bay like a hound to try a drop of Vega Sicilia's Unico but at 240 euros a bottle it was just out of my price range. I settled on a Majestic staff favourite Emilio Moro (Buy 2 - £14.99) at a more modest 27 euros. Firstly the wild mushroom and jamon worked beautifully with the fruit concentration of the wine and the salty, wild nature of the dish. The herby, smokey characters of the wine along with the firm tannin structure joined in harmony with the gamey characters of the dish.

Obviously being in a rural Spainish mountaintop restaurant with an extensive red wine list we had to choose beef steak as our main. Perfectly charred on the outside and bright pink in the middle the Emilio Moro had finally met its wedding partner. Ribera wines have a depth and richness that could be likened to a top flight Pomerol but arguably better value! The rich fruit characters accented with sweet oak, toasted herb, smoke and vanilla flavours worked beautifully with the charred, soft volumptous steak.

Emilio Moro is just one star in great wine producing zone. Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) has adapted to the Duero's climatic extremes and produces amazing wines without the help of any other grape variety. Extremes usually produce great wines and if you are looking for great wines that are value for money, go well with Spanish food and will put a smile on your face look no further than Ribera del Duero!


P.S. Look out for a new Ribera in our range.....Montecastrillo (Buy 2 - £7.99)!!!!

Great Kiwi Pinot NoirDate published: 09/08/13

While we have our 20% offer on New Zealand wines, you'd be crazy not to snap up a few bottles of the Coney Pizzicato Pinot Noir. I cracked open a bottle of this last weekend and was reminded how good it actually is - smoky, delishiously savoury and with a slightly spicy finish, I would rate this as my favourite New Zealand Pinot Noir in the Majestic range.

The Beef Kitchen/ BYO alcoholDate published: 05/08/13

The Beef Kitchen/ BYO alcohol (Pop up food event 1st- 3rd August)-

Worth having a look at the twitter/Facebook, I've heard they will appear at another London hot spot soon. Hopefully somewhere near here!

Link- http://www.thebeefkitchen.org/

Ed Sargent an innovative Michelin starred chef served up a fabulous five course meal from his portable kitchen. It really exceeded my expectations and got me thinking about food and wine pairings.

Crab Three Ways

The Bisque portion of this course was really concentrated and I had to defer to someone with more expertise on this one! Answer- Sherry, I wish I'd thought of that! The salty edge of Hidalgo's Manzanilla Pasada Pastrana (£11.99) is ideal with this seafood creation.

Salt Beef Scotch Egg

Bags of flavour and served with an salsa verde style dip. We paired this up our Inama Soave, but next time:

Soave 'La Rocca' 2010 Pieropan (£25.00)

A fresh combination of citrus, peach, and hints of exotic fruits.

Smoked ribs on Brioche with a generous helping of Corporal Ketchup

Now this is probably the easiest one to play with.

Moncayo Garnacha (currently £7.99), from Northern Spain, offering ripe red fruit and the right amount of sweet oak integration to compliment this full flavoured meaty treat!

or...

Roaring Meg's Pinot Noir, a fabulous example from Central Otago, on offer at £17.59. A lovely mix of red and black berry fruits with complexity from oak spice.

Dessert... Now what would you pair with Eton Mess?

If you need any advise on what to serve at your dinner party, just pop in!

Prices correct at time of publication.

Rioja MagnumsDate published: 05/08/13

Ardanza Reserva 2004. Now availiable in magnums! This superb wine is full of complex flavours, with cooked red fruits, blackberry and vanilla spice. The finish is perhaps the most impressive part of the Ardanza, allowing you to relish the flavour well after your last sip.

Order quick, they won't last long!

Old SpiceDate published: 03/08/13

Matsu 'El Viejo' Toro

'The Old One' of the Matsu range is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes from 110 yr old vines in Toro (an emerging Spanish region currently gaining more recognition for producing really exciting wines). The wine is then aged in French oak for 16 months. This rich, full-bodied red has great aromatic intensity, on the palate it is packed with dense dark berry fruits and hints of vanilla. The subtle notes of liquorice, spices and cloves will develop into a sublimely complex wine over the next five years if you can wait that long ...

… If you can't, enjoy as a special treat this weekend with steak tartare.

£25 per bottle or £20 when you buy 2 or more.

California dreamingDate published: 02/08/13

We've just received some great Zinfandel's from California which are definitely worth trying, particluarly if you're bbqing this weekend. 

Zinfandel's flavour profile matches perfectly with grilled meats- it's smokey with some gamey notes in the high enders, brambly fruit, sometimes stewed black fruit, there's spice and good gum friendly tannin. If you're feeling fancy, try The Ridge Geyserville 2011, Decoy 2010, Cline ancient vines 2011, which is on a two bottle deal* of £14.99 & of course we have the ever popular Ravenswood.


*as part of the six bottle minimum purchase

Loire & Beaujolais weekendDate published: 28/07/13

This weekend we kicked off the Loire & Beaujolais tasting week. There has been a great response to the Beaujolais range, which is good news. And why not? The weather has been perfect for the medium weight, joyful flavours of Gamay & matched with terrine, duck and cold meats you really can't go wrong. Even Mr. Martin left today with two bottles of Morgon Pizay for his afternoon treat of roasted Pork Belly. The Moulin-a-vent from Jadot has surprised a few and Morand Fleurie has also been showered in accolades. Clearly the weightier, fuller style from then northern Cru's suit the modern palate. 

It's on all week so come on down before the rain does.


Wine of the WeekDate published: 27/07/13

This week's wine of the week is Chateau Des Jacques, it comes from Moulin À Vent arguably the most prestigious appellation in the Beaujolais. Situated in the south of the region away from the traditional peasant North the wine is made using Pinot Noir vinification techniques. The must receives a 20-30 day fermentation by indigenous yeasts, followed by 6 months cask aging in French oak.

This Burgundian method of production enforced by Jadot gives the wine a far richer, bolder, food friendly style. The site itself was bought by Louis Jadot in 1996 and is now commonly believed to be the most Burgundian Cru of Beaujolais. Shying away form the more traditional North of the region.

This is red refreshment in a bottle. Its has intense aromas of raspberry, plum and cherry intermingled with irises, roses and hints of spice. It has surprising muscularity on the palate with dry, fleshy tannins and a firm acidic crispness to the finish. Jane MacQuitty described the wine as 'summer pudding in a glass'.

Enjoy after long and arduous bike ride or after putting in a good shift in the garden.


Dom PerignonDate published: 25/07/13

Last week me (Alex), Claire and Jon were treated to night of Dom!

We entered Moet Henessey's headquarters at 8pm on the dot with a gaggle of our excited Majestic colleges.

The tasting room had an array of circular tables neatly laid out in a rather uniform pattern, making the most of the available space. The walls of the room where littered with intriguing cubby holes containing the real reason that we were there in the first place, bottles of DP.

After a quick Introduction from Richard Geoffroy (Dom Perignon's ambassador) the first vintage that we tried was the 2004. This was billed as the more classic Dom vintage. Richard described the mouth feel as being liner and direct. Thus being focused and hitting all the senses with accuracy and power. I personally felt this was a very insightful way of describing the wine.

We then had a crack at the 2002 vintage which differed quite unrecognisably from the 2004. This wine was far rounder on the pallet. In my opinion was far easier to drink, it wasn't such an assault on the senses. That is not say that the 2004 did not excite me or that the 2004 should not be celebrated as a classic DP vintage. Just that the 2002 was more appealing and easier to drink.

We were then treated to a glass of the DP rose vintage 2000. When presenting this bottle they dimmed the lights to show the bottles labels had been lit up. Bright and lurid colours danced across the room and into our respective glasses. Richard alluded to the huge importance of the on trade in selling bottles of DP. This was just part of how they market the romance and iconic nature of the brand.

The wine itself had a had a classic nose of red fruit supplemented by aromas of almond and honey suckle. The pallet again had a rounder feel, the fruit flavours were there in abundance, I personally detected slightly stewed pear and black pepper.

Richard finished by telling us about some of the principles behind DP. Explaining all the hard work at the vineyard and the winery over the centuries, had gone into making DP so profitable.


Cloudy Bay Te KokoDate published: 25/07/13

The iconic Te Koko by legendary producers Cloudy Bay is back in stock. It's unusual but certainly not ostentatious style is something everyone must try at least once in their life. Expect flavours of caramel & nougat with lychees and almonds and much, much more.

Amazing and unique.

Nyetimber Vintage Rose 2009Date published: 21/07/13

Nyetimber Rosé 2009

We’ve moved on the 2009 vintage of this fantastic English Sparkling Rosé in our Islington store and so we gave it a try! From 1988 and the first plantings of Nyetimber in West Sussex this winery has won many awards and is thought by many to be a real contender in terms of quality to many Champagnes.

2009 was a great vintage across England and this Rosé shows real promise for development. It has a deep pink colour and aromas of strawberry and crème fraîche. On the palate, rich, ripe red cherries and strawberries dominate and the mousse is delicate but persistent. An impressive length and clean, fresh finish make this a truly delicious sparkler!

‘refined elegance’ Terry Kirby, The Independent on Sunday

Fancy a Bellini?Date published: 04/07/13

We've got Funkin White Peach Mixers on offer at 66p each (makes up to 5 cocktails). Grab a mixer and a half case of Prosecco Zonin for £54.60 (£8.99 per bottle) and that's your Summer party sorted!

'Stylish SancerreDate published: 04/07/13

The Roger Neveu Sancerre is a really terrific wine from the Clos des Bouffants vineyard. Complex but effortlessly fresh, expect lively citrus and mown grass flavours with a long steely finish. £11.99 when you buy 2 or more bottles - it is open on our tasting counter now so come in a have a taste!

As recommended by Jane MacQuitty in The Times (29th June)

Beer of the WeekendDate published: 29/06/13

Buy Bitburger £10.99 a case fantastic beer fantastic deal! (that's 92p a bottle)

Light German styled beer aromatic and full of flavor.

Plenty in stock but when it's gone it's gone

John

Wine of the WeekDate published: 23/06/13

Chateau Pigoudet is this week's wine of the week and it is produced in Aix en Provence. This wine is result of lifelong dream of a determined German family. In 1992 Bernhard Schmidt and his wife Elke Schmidt purchased Château Pigoudet after falling in love with the property. Following Bernhard's death the property is now run by Elke and her daughter. There is still a family atmosphere at Chateau Pigoudet and the family help out wherever they can.

The wine is made from a mixture of Cabernet and Grenache. The grapes are harvested at night to retain their acidity. The directly pressed juice is then left on its lees for 7 days at a temperature of 0ºC. This process preserves the first aromas, which release opulence and aromatic molecules during alcoholic fermentation.

This wine is pleasure for the senses, super-light and the colour of bright pink petals, the nose boasts red apples and ripe cherries. Fresh and elegant, this aromatic rosé lingers on with a beautiful finish.

It can be enjoyed with a summer salad or before a well-earned nap in the garden.

English excellence in the LanguedocDate published: 22/06/13

One of my favourite wine producers that I continually find myself recommending to our kind folk is #domainesainterose. Based on the River Thongue, English couple Charles & Ruth Simpson purchased Domaine Sainte Rose in 2002. After major investment in the winery to implement 'new world' focus on production & hygiene, the fans & medals started rolling in. The fans including myself, Jancis & Tim. The wine itself is so pleasing, so well priced it guarantees satisfaction everytime. The whites are fresh, rich and well balanced. Clearly the modernisation in the winery has paid off as the fruit is clean, bright & expressive. The reds are dense and ripe with distinct Languedoc personality. 

For me the Vent du Nord Roussane/Chardonnay blend is outstanding. An unusual blend indeed however it works beautifully. It's crisp enough to drink on it's own but equally weighty enough to compliment roasted herbed chicken. There's a creamy softness on the palate with flavours of melon, stonefruit & caramel maybe some honey notes, with a subtle floral touch. The La Nuit Blanche is a single varietal Roussane.The grapes are picked at night to retain acidity and freshness then fermented in oak. The result is an exquisitely rich yet lively wine that is absolutely delicious. If you're thinking about having roast pork or even a very extravagant fish pie, this wine is perfect. A significant factor of both these wines is length of flavour on the finish. Always a sign of quality.

All the Domaine Sainte Rose wines unbelievably are under £10 (well the La Nuit Blanche is currently £9.99) so if you're looking for a gem the search is over.

New Pic on the block Date published: 15/06/13

In the shadow of the recent Picpoul de Pinet fame sits the equally dry, equally delicious St.Michel Perlé from Gaillac. It's style sits comfortably between said Picpoul de Pinet and the ever-fresh, grilled sardine friendly Vinho Verde from Portugal. Lemon, grapefruit and apple flavours dominate with the slight petillant synonymous with Vinho Verde. Give it a go on your next picnic adventure.


Chateau Musar- taste a legendDate published: 15/06/13

When I met Serge Hochar he was dressesd unassumably in a grey, not so well fitting cardigan (sorry Serge) & 'at home' jeans. Not what you'd expect from a man who harvests his vines during Hezbollah/Israeli bombings, transporting grapes in an ex-army vehicle with Musar painted on the canopy to guarantee their security. And I guess that's a testament to the respect Mr.Hochar has acheived: don't bomb Chateau Musar.

The wine itself has the same distinct character. Developed flavours of prune, leather, subtle woody touches & stewed red fruit are enveloped in ripe tannins. Oddly they don't overtake on the palate by any means however the tannin structure allows this wine to be bold but also evolve for another 10 years at least. If you enjoy BBQ'd/grilled meats this is a match made in heaven. If you like Osso bucco, rabbit stew or roasted aubergine this is also for you. If you like drinking wine with character, individuality and intrigue, this wine is definitely for you.


Claire's Wine of the Week: Marquis de Pennautier Terroirs d'Altitude ChardonnayDate published: 06/06/13

Claire's Wine of the Week: Marquis de Pennautier Terroirs d'Altitude Chardonnay
After my recent visit to the Pays d'Oc, I am really enjoying this gem of a wine! Grown from vines directly in front of the spectacular Chateau since 1620 and the first Marquis de Pennautier. This is a full flavoured and oaky Chardonnay with a nice balance of peach and honeyed exotic fruits. It has a really long-lasting and rounded flavour and is a brilliantly well-made wine. It goes excellently with gamey meats or roasted rabbit, a speciality of the Pennautier restaurant!!


Wine of the WeekDate published: 02/06/13

Wine of the Week – Friday 31th May


Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2012


Buy two bottles £9.99 (one bottle £12.49)



Blind River is this weeks wine of the week and it comes from Marlborough: the beating heart of the New Zealand's quality Sauvignon Blanc production. Blind River is a family run winery, the couple decided to ignore viticulturist advise and learn wine production as the vintages went by. The now incredibly successful business is run by the two daughters and has gone from strength to strength.


The wine differs slightly from the majority of Marlborough Sauvignon's in that 10% of the batch spends time in new French oak barrels, which softens the acidity and adds body and complexity. While not wishing to be too oaked like a Sauvignon from the Bordeaux region, there is a desire for the seasoning to be evident.


An intense bouquet of passion fruit with underlying citrus notes. The palate has more tropical fruit, minerality and a richness brought on by the partial barrel fermentation. Enjoy this wine with fine seafood dishes.

Wine of the WeekDate published: 25/05/13

Wine of the Week – Friday 24th May

St Clair Pioneer Gruner Veltliner 2012

Buy two bottles £13.99 (one bottle £17.49)

This week's wine of the week is the Pioneer Block Gruner Veltliner, a new and exciting take on a vine variety which is widely planted in Austria. The Pioneer Block wines are sourced from outstanding parcels of fruit, identified by chief winemaker Matt Thomson. From a single vineyard, the grapes are hand picked and whole bunch pressed before being partially fermented in old oak barrels and finally matured on its lees.

Gruner ripens too late for most of Northern Europe but has found a new home in Marlborough, New Zealand where the growing conditions are just right. In the hands of the growers at St Clair this Gruner shows real perfume and substance which is sometimes lacking from other Gruner examples. The result is a wine that has a subtle nose and a palate that contains vibrant peach notes accompanied by a slight peppery edge.

In resent years Gruner has become incredibly popular in a number of restaurants and would go well with many fish dishes or even some firm cheeses.


Claire's Educational Visit to Rhone ValleyDate published: 17/05/13

Claire's Educational Visit to Rhone Valley

After arriving in Marseille airport we went straight off to Chateauneuf-du-Pape and had very pleasant lunch overlooking the Rhone valley at Hostellerie des Fines Roches where we tried Heritage Cote-du-Rhone white and rose. The rose much richer than the neighbouring Provence rose style and the white was well rounded and fresh and complimented my terrine de rouget perfectly.

We then toured the vineyards of Chateuneuf-du-Pape looking at the four different terroirs of the vineyards and later tried the wines from each terroir and saw how they represented the how they had been grown. For example the wine just from the vineyards with Les Galets roules (large rounded pebbles) was smoother and had a more rounded mouth-feel. It is the blending of these different vineyards which gives Chateauneuf-du-Pape its unique qualities.

In the evening we had a cooking lesson and dinner at the Bastide des Princes in Caderousse. We made locally sourced white asparagus wraps with smoked salmon to start. This we had with the Clos de l’Oratoire Blanc 2012, Ogier’s signature Chatauneuf white. Good minerality and intense stone fruits, the white tastes of peach and pear with hints of wild flower. For our main we made Pork rolled with olive terrine and courgette and ratatouille served with Clos de l’Oratoire Red 2009 and 2011. Mixed feelings on the 2009 vs the 2011. The 2009 is ready for drinking now but some of the group preferred the freshness of the ’11. Both had noses of ripe red fruits and liquorice and spice on the palate.

On the second day we toured the Ogier winery and did a vertical tasting of the Clos ’07, ’09 and ’11. The ’07 was the firm favourite from a very hot vintage leading to excellent quality grapes with good intensity colour and aromas. The wine had great ageing potential. Intense dark fruits with many layers of spice and dark chocolate gives a really full palate and all balanced by a good level of acidity.

Felix's favourite of the week.Date published: 16/05/13

I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a leg of lamb on Saturday night; Gratis. My favourite. I chose a wine to suit, as would be expected. It was chosen on the basis of blend- Sangiovese, a few other Chianti legend varietals lost in the shadow of the aforementioned, along with some Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon. Nice weight for the meat, cool climate acidity for the fattiness (Chianti Rufina) & a little added structure & tannin from the Cabernet because I like it. Vintage 2009. Now I expected it to be enjoyable as I had tried it on a previous occasion, which I thought good but young. Thanks to a bit of bottle age, any sign of it being green has gone, the Sangiovese is beginning to develop those lovely meaty aromas & flavours, the tannins are still there with grip remaining on the finish, great fruit & acidity balance, again working well with the lamb. Delicious on all accounts. It was so good I bought another bottle for my luncheon in Hastings with my dear friends #myerscough&mairs, purveyors of all things aesthetically pleasing. Seafood for lunch this time (it is Hastings after all), probably not the greatest match but again the lovely acidity keeps the wine refreshing on the palate thus not interfering with the delicate flavours of lunch.

The wine? Frescobaldi Nipozzano 2009 Chainti Rufina. It's on our Italian deal of buy any two Italian wines save 20% @ £14.99.

No bank breaker by any means. Enjoy!

Fine wine of the week.Date published: 11/05/13

Chateau Gloria has always been synonymous with good value Bordeaux  & we are happy to confirm it's true. Quite tight to start but after an hour decanting subtle yet complex aromas of tar, burnt herbs, developing red fruit  & distinct smoke aromas create a promising palate.

Savoury notes & cedar accompany the aforementioned with lovely tannin grip on the finish. What we enjoyed about this wine is it's lack of polish, it's beauty in wild, foresty, savoury notes & pre-Parker Bordeaux weight. Food? Good old rare roast beef thank you very much or perhaps for the modern diner Sous-vide sirlion steak & beef cheek with forest mushrooms.

£25.00? Most definitely. When you're paying £18.50 for house Pinot Grigio, why not?

Wine Evening 07/05/13Date published: 09/05/13

Many thanks to everyone who came along to our wine evening on Tuesday! It was a real success and a great opportunity for our customers to taste a number of wines in our range.

Thanks also to the representatives from Lay & Wheeler and Nyetimber for attending.

Customer favourites from the night included the Jim Barry 'Cover Drive' Cabernet Sauvignon and the 'Blind River' Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Nyetimber's Classic Cuveé 2004. All great wines!

We would also recommend the Chateaux l'Abbaye de Sainte-Ferme 2005 and the Meursault Vieilles Vignes 2010 Le Meuger, both of which were open on the night. The Chateau l'Abbaye is a really aproachable Bordeaux with plenty of ripe fruit flavours, as well as more complex licquorice and leather elements to it - an absolute steal at £7.99 a bottle! We found the Meursault to be lovely and rich, but with a freshness to it that would lend itself well to the summer months. Try it with quality poultry - an excellent match!

We hope to see you soon!

Sparkling Saturday: Oyster Bay Rose!Date published: 04/05/13

Open to taste in store all day, the weather may not agree but here at Majestic Islington we are starting Summer! This light and fruity sparkler has notes of cherry and strawberry and would make perfect easy drinking on a Summer's day. £11.99 when you buy two or more.

Islington Fine wine of the weekDate published: 27/04/13

Guidalberto is the younger version of the magnificent  Sassicaia (of Tenuta San Guido) from Bolgheri. The gravelly soil & maritime climate of the region is perfect for premium Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot i.e the famous Bordeaux blend. The aromatic complexity increases & palate evolves in the glass showing dense & floral dark fruits, fine tannins, delicious savoury notes & a good whack of alcohol. The pleasing cold climate acidity guarantees a good life (& enduring finish) but with such intensity of fruit & acidity, we believe drinking within 3 years is the way forward. With food we discussed venison ravioli, wild boar ragu and such like. The price? £26 each (buy any 2 Italian wines save 20%). Considering the price of its Bordeaux counterparts we consider this very good value. It may be a bit too intense fruit wise for the traditonal Bordeauxist however it has the character & individuality to raise the most austere eyebrow.

Portuguese wine of the weekend! Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde, 2011Date published: 19/04/13

Portuguese wine of the weekend! Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde, 2011

'Green wine' from the Minho region of Portugal.

A classic spring/summer white with white and tropical fruit flavours and a hint of fizz that adds freshness and a zingy finish.

Perfect for Summer parties and goes nicely with oysters!

£7.99 or £6.49 when you buy 2 or more  

Spanish parcel- Conde de ValdemarDate published: 15/04/13

If you enjoy aged Rioja, we have a range of old vintage Gran Reservas  from the producer Conde de Valdemar. It is a parcel, as we say, so stocks are limited. The vintages are '84, '89, '91, '94. To make things more exciting we also have the '96 & ''98 in magnum as well as the show stopping 5 litre in both vintages! We've tried the '94 which was rich & meaty whilst still being  defiantly medium bodied. We have had excellent customer reports on the '89 & I'm betting the '96 magnum will be in good form. The parcel is part of the Spanish promotion of  20% off so come in and explore.

Wine of the WeekDate published: 13/04/13

Wine of the Week – Friday 12th April

Plasisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Paarl

Buy two bottles £14.99 (one bottle £18.74)

Plaisir de Merle Cabernet Sauvignon is this week's wine of the week and it comes from the lesser known Paarl region in South Africa. The winery was developed in the 1990s under the supervision of Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux. The area has a history of planting mainly Cabernet and Chenin Blanc.

Originally farmed by Huguenots and still distinguished by its French place and family names, the valley is enclosed on three sides my mountains. It is more associated with fantastic restaurants and fabulous scenery than wineries. It has a slightly hotter climate than neighboring Stellenbosch as it is further from the cooling influence of False Bay

It has an intense nose of red berries, earth and spicy vanilla notes. The palate is full bodied and ripe, with dark chocolate richness and a more savoury, food friendly spiciness on the finish. This makes a great un-blended example of Cabernet Sauvingnon.

The muscular tannins of this wine suit any red meat pairing, perhaps a Aberdeen Angus burger.  

Wine of the WeekDate published: 06/04/13

Wine of the Week – Friday 5th April

Angelique de Monbousquet 2009, St-Emilion Grand Cru

Buy two bottles £17.99 each (one bottle £19.99)

This week's wine of the week is the Angelique de Monbousquet 2009, a Grand Cru wine from the St-Emilion region of Bordeaux. Chateau Monbousquet is an estate with a long history that can trace its roots back to 1540.

The Angelique de Monbousquet is the second wine of the chateau and is made from the same 32 hectare vineyards as the grand vin, which lie on sandy clay soils that are characteristic of the area. However, whereas the grand vin is designed with a longer period of cellerage in mind, this wine is designed to be more youthful and approachable.

The wine is dominated by the Merlot (60%) and Cabernet Franc (25%) grape varieties, but is also blended with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. It has aromas of liquorice, herbs and jammy dark berries. On the palate it is full of flavour, with ripe black and red fruit and a hint of spice, supported by muscular yet supple tannins.

Enjoy this delicious wine now or over the next 5 years. It would make a great match for rich casseroles or full flavoured beef dishes such as braised oxtail.

Wine of the WeekDate published: 02/04/13

Wine of the Week – Friday 29th March

Duckhorn Decoy Zinfandel 2010

Buy two bottles £20.00 (one bottle £22.00)

 

 

 

Decoy Zinfandel 2010 is this week's wine of the week and it comes from the Napa Valley in California. Duckhorn Vineyards was established in 1976 by Dan and Margaret Duckhorn, originally focusing on Bordeaux varieties. They have since embraced other grapes such as Zinfandel here, and grown to incorporate seven estates, representing the Napa Valley's various microclimates.

Zinfandel was regarded as California's own grape until it was established that it was previously known as Primitivo. This variety has been grown on the heel of Italy since as early as the 18th century. The vine ripens unevenly, some berries build almost unparalleled levels of sugar so that 'Zin' can be as strong as 17% alcohol.

There is a straightforward smoothness to this wine which is appealing when comparing it to other bigger, brasher Napa valley compatriots. It is also slightly less alcoholic than other Zinfandels of the region. It has a defined nose of blueberry, cherry and loganberry accented by soft vanilla oak. On the palate, it is gloriously fruity with fantastic balance and depth of flavour.

A great accompaniment to the savory flavours of game, venison or duck confit.

We are closed on Easter SundayDate published: 28/03/13

Please note that we will be closed on Easter Sunday, 31 March 2013. We are open our normal Friday hours on Good Friday and our bank holiday hours on Easter Monday.

Wine of the WeekDate published: 23/03/13

Wine of the Week – Friday 22nd March

Château Chantalouette 2007 Pomerol

Buy two bottles £14.99 (one bottle £19.99)

Château Chantalouette 2007 is this weeks, wine of the week and it comes from the much respected region of Pomerol on the right bank of Bordeaux. It is the second wine of Château de Sales, although the wine has the same mantra as its big brother.

One advantage to this region is that the wines are ready relatively soon for Bordeaux. Which has definitely added to its popularity as its chief grape is not the tough skined Cabernet savignon. The wine is made up of about 70% Merlot, the rest is made up of a mixture of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

This wine is slightly softer than Château de Sales, it is round and supple, yet enduring. It also possesses a pleasing complexity. At 6 years old it has only just reached maturity, so could be left for a couple of years. However I prefer my claret's to still have life and vibrancy to them which this one defiantly does.

This wine I think would be a fantastic match with the traditional roast lamb at Easter dinner. The subtlety and elegance of the wine would definitely match the slightly sweeter lamb.

Our wine courseDate published: 23/03/13

Well Wednesday saw our first wine course this year and all went well. All participants left informed, elated & impressed.

We are holding another course on the 3rd of April which is full however we my have cancellations so if you would like to go on our reserve list please do contact us. Otherwise we have another on on the Tuesday 23rd April.

If you would prefer just to sample our wares, we are holding our bi-annual customer tasting on the 7th May so put it in the diary.

Easter PickingsDate published: 21/03/13

As its Easter just around the corner I thought I should point out some of our better offers for you to to wheel away in your trolleys and uncork/unscrew at the dinner table.

I have chosen a sparkling wine from New Zealand, a French white wine from Langdoc and a claret from Pomerol. To go with my fictional Easter meal, their will be canapés of smoked salmon belinis, a starter of kedgeree and a main of traditional roast lamb.

The first wine to uncork will be the Cloudy Bay Pelourus 2007 to go with the belinis. I think this would be a imaginative choice and a great alternative to champagne. The wine itself balances a rich palate with finesse and freshness. This is not always apparent with many Champagnes. On the palate consumers should find rich and complex aromas of brioche, nougat and almond biscotti.

Made in the same traditional method as Champage, although slightly fruitier as the grapes are riper when picked. This, as with Champage will provide a cracking match with smoked salmon and should start the Easter celebrations off with a bang.

The second wine I have chosen is Paul Mas Chardonnay. Although this wine is not a New World Chardonany it tastes like one. Ripe, juicy pineapple over buttered toast, but with a nicely judged, clean, fresh finish. This wine is a fantastic all-rounder, partnering anything from a light blue cheeses to fish dishes. In my fictional dinner party it will be a brilliant match with my saucy and delicious kedgeree.

Château Chantalouette 2007 is my final wine and it comes from the much respected region of Pomerol on the right bank of Bordeaux. It is the second wine of Château de Sales, although the wine has the same mantra as its big brother. This wine is slightly softer, it is round and supple, yet enduring. It also possesses a pleasing complexity which I think will be a strong match with roast lamb.

At 6 years old it has only just reached maturity, so could be left for a couple of years. However I prefer my claret's to still have life and vibrancy to them which this one defiantly does.

 

Cloudy Bay Pelorus 2007 £16.99

Paul Mas Chardonnay 2012 £8.49 Buy 2 bottles save 5 pounds £5.99

Chantalouette 2007 Pomerol £19.99 Buy two bottles save 10 pounds £14.99

Wine of the weekDate published: 15/03/13

Wine of the Week – Friday 15th March

 

Barolo Ciabot Berton 2007 La Morra, Piemonte, Italia

 

Buy two bottles £22.00 (one bottle £25.00)

 

 

This weeks wine is grown in hilly La Morra, at the heart of the Barolo production zone. The wine is made from 100% Nebbiolo and is grown on predominantly clay. The wine itself has a longevity of around 12-13 years.

The wine maker Luigi experimented for many years before eventually coming the conclusion that 16-18 days maceration of the must at 30ºC was just right. He then ages the wine in traditional Slovenian oak barrels for two years.

The vineyard itself is named after a small burned out building, which used to belong to the local fireworks producer! This old ruin, which gave its name to the business, can still be seen from the winery.

It has a strong earthy nose with other scents of tar and spices. This classic style of Barolo has a high acidity and firm tannins. With flavors of black cherry, plums, strong tobacco and a glorious finish to boot.

This wine would go brilliantly with braised beef and seasoned cheeses. So why not treat yourself today to a bottle of rustic, Italian beauty!

Wine course datesDate published: 09/03/13

Hi all, we're back! And we're rolling out a few wine courses over the next 6 weeks so please do enroll to learn more about your favourite past time. The dates are as follows: Wednesday 20.03, Wednesday 03.04 & Tuesday 23.04. The course starts @ 7.00pm.

Come down and enjoy the new surrounds of Islington.

For more info, give the store and call and speak with one of the team.

Wine of the WeekDate published: 08/03/13

Wine of the Week – Friday 8th March

Craggy Range Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2011, Martinborough, New Zealand

SPECIAL OFFER £19.99 (down from £22.00)

This weeks wine comes from one of the best regions in the world for growing pinot noir and it's not Burgundy!

New Zealand pinot noir producers leave their fruit on the vine for much longer than is either possible or acceptable in Burgundian vineyards.

Plummy flavours and all round heavy textures consequently give the wine a heavier structure and are of a full-bodied character for pinot noir. This is therefore a good wine if you want to try something different to really heavy red wines but don't want a light, airy fairy, bubblegum-like Beaujolais.

This high quality example from Craggy Range is distinguished by savoury, earthy flavours backed up with black cherry and root spice. The grapes are hand picked and fermented with the vineyards own indigenous yeasts. The wine is matured in small French oak barrels without racking resulting in an extremely complex and 'natural' style of Martinborough pinot noir.

This wine is great with duck, game birds, lamb or porcini mushrooms.......treat yourself to a bit of new world pinot today and experience it for yourself!!

Christmas goody packs.Date published: 06/12/12

If you're looking around for a christmas gift, maybe corporate gifts or something a little special, look no further than our christmas spirits packs. Belvedere comes with a free 500ml bottle of the most delicious Fever tree Mediterranean Tonic, Tanqueray goes back to original  ballon gin glass, again gratis for your drinking pleasure. For the Cognac connoisseur of the house, that is dad, Remy Martin's Coeur de Cognac is accompanied by two Remy Martin cognac glasses & gift packaged too boot. Free glasses also come with The Singleton whiskey.

Champagne is always a winner when it comes to a thank you or merry christmas. Our Champagne in gift box are Pol Roger N/V, the most excellent Bollinger N/V, Laurent Perrier Rose, Veuve Clicquot Vintage & N/V, Krug N/V just to name a few.

For something extra special, Bordeaux in a wooden box never fails to impress. These are in limited amounts so get in quick!

Reserve Leoville Barton 2006 is a great start @  £240.00 (12 bottle case) is hard to beat. We also have Sarget Gruaud Larose 2002 @ £150.00 (6 bottle case) & Chateau Fonplegade 2007 @ £168.00 (6 bottle case). The Fonplegade is available to taste as a part of our Bordeaux tasting week.

We are also more than happy to put together bespoke cases for the more discerning wine drinkers. So come on in, beat the rush, enjoy the range & maybe discover your new favourite christmas wine.

Cloudy Bay Extravaganza Date published: 01/09/12

The Cloudy Bay Winery is about as famous as Louis Latour in the New Zealand stakes. And why? The cult winery has been producing high quality wines for decades and they have set the bench mark for Kiwi fine wines since.

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay 2009
This superb wine has benefited from a cool climate coupled with plenty of sun which means the grapes ripen slowly and give it a somewhat 'Burgundian' style. However, it still has all the delicious New World characteristics such as subtle butterscotch, pineapple, peach and a lemony backbone. The wine is held together with great acidity and fantastic mineral quality. Drink this wine now with anything from poultry to fish, even on it's own, or let it age for 3 years, if you can resist it..

£19.99
(when you buy and two New Zealand wines, £25.00 single bottle price)

Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2011
This Pinot is brilliantly suited to the climate and topography of the Cloudy Bay Vineyards. The nose displays confected red fruits and sweet cinnamon and cloves. Dark cherries and lush strawberries come through on the palate and the toasty notes reminiscent of Burgundy round the wine off beautifully. This wine will happily lay down for years, match the toasty savoury characters with a wild mushroom risotto or a rich roast pork belly.

£21.99
(when you buy any two New Zealand wines, £27.50 single bottle price)

Get your BBQs out for the lads..Date published: 18/08/12

Well, I don't need to tell you how glorious it is outside, every great BBQ deserves some great booze to accompany it. We've got it all here.

For an aperitif there isn't much better than a bottle (or two..) of Provençal rosé - this style of pink nectar was born to be drunk in the sun. Crisp, delicate, refreshing and very moreish.. M de Minuty Rosé is utter perfection.. And we've got a huge range to choose from.

If you fancy a long drink try the Sipsmith Summer Cup - a pimped up version of the classic Pimms (made in nearby Hammersmith) but packed with lots of botanical flavours including cucumber, orange zest and Earl Grey tea. It's so flavoursome that you don't need much fruit, just some lemon and a sprig or two of mint and topped up with lemonade. Hello summer!

When it comes to BBQing I think the simpler the better, tasty homemade burgers (mix in some pork mince to keep them moist), marinaded chicken and perhaps some giant prawns.

For this meat feast you'll need some chunky reds to stand up to them, a New World Cabernet or Shiraz would be perfect, the Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon is a superb match if you're having steak or lamb. If you're feeling really generous, an Amarone would be perfect with grilled red meat, and for something a little less extravagant the Spolverino Toscano which has fine tannins and soft dried fruits.

If you're having a lighter BBQ with chicken and prawns, try them with an aromatic New World white, the Yali Viognier is a winner and brilliant value too.

Enjoy!

Corte Alta is back on offer!Date published: 15/08/12

Prosecco Corte Alta is back on offer at Majestic Wine Warehouse! Prosecco is a brilliant alternative to Champagne, if you a fan of bubbles but you would rather have a lighter and more fruit driven wine. If so why not take advantage of the recent hot weather with the incredibly priced Corte Alta and the Corte Alta Rosado.

Expect a delicate body and fine bubbles. This is twinned with a refreshing palate that exudes fresh ripe apples, pears and apricots with the Rosado expect peach and red berry flavours. Enjoy as an aperitif a fantastic wine to kick start a long summer party.

Price:

Raboso Rosado Corte Alta £9.99 down to £6.66

Prosecco Corte Alta £9.99 down to £6.66

My new best friend.Date published: 14/08/12

Ms.Fresh & I have a penchant for Paris so off we pootled weekend just passed to celebrate life & my birthday.

En route, at a tres unsensible & possibly illegal hour we popped our first cork of many over the weekend. And what an absolute treat it was. I must admit I have tried it more than once, possibly twice, too be honest once more than thrice, and it is always beyond delicious. In fact, it's my new best friend. I'm proud to add that it's from this side of the lake as well. The Nyetimber Blanc de Blancs 2003 has that lively Blanc de Blancs citrussy  freshness combined with amazing weighty richness, which remains on the palate for (in terms of train travel) at least 2 stops only halted by my smoked salmon. The Nyetimber 2003 was a show stopper however I believe it has moved onto the '04 so I highly suggest taking advantage of the remaining 2003 BldBlcs and taste the English sun shining through this tantalising drop.

No, Sancerriously..Date published: 11/08/12

Sancerre Blanc 2001, Domaine Vacheron

This is a perfect expression of top Sancerre.
From arguably the top producer in the region, it's clear to see why this particular style of Sauvignon Blanc is so famous.

Tart gooseberries, fresh elderflower, asparagus and zesty citrus jump out of the glass. The palate does not disappoint. Great acidity and superb length make this wine something special. It has a delicious richness, tangy minerality and a subtle smokey quality that makes it a great food-wine.

There's a reason why Sancerre is the perfect match to smoked salmon.

Catch it while you can..

£17.99

Lost at sea.Date published: 07/08/12

On a recent trip back to the Motherland, I found myself, as one would expect, in a wine shop. A big wine shop. It was huge. A behemoth. It was more like a barn. In hindsight  I now have a comprehensive understanding & salute the accurancy of the term  'Liquor barn'.

And I was lost. I thought I had double vision. Triple vision. There were bottles everywhere. I was blinded by labels with animals and stories of the winemaker's dog and colours that made Joseph's coat look like a Marks & Sparks flasher jacket. I was lost in a sea of wine. I had to focus. I needed familarity to regroup so I sought solace down in the European section. Du Boeuf Beaujolais Villages. He really is the king of Beaujolais. Ok then. E.Guigal CDR $35 (cough, hack). Fair enough. Chablis Cave de Quelqu'un, $70,sacre bleu! That was about the extent of the range but it worked. I was back.

So what does a wine guy do when faced with such a predictament? I was in charge of the wine purchasing for the forthcoming Dry family events & I was accompanied by a sister with the attention span of a squirrel grabbing BOGOF after BOGOF without any thought process. I had to act. Fast. "Remember your training Crispin", I said to myself. "Use your own advice. Practice what you preach man." And that's exactly what I did. I was out of there with my pride intact, palate ready & awaiting. What steps did I take?

Firstly, I asked the wine guy. Funny how much a sweaty guy in a polo shirt pushing a pallet around knows about wine. Good start. Usual questions ensued however what followed is the first step to successful wine purchasing. Breaking it down from a massive barn full of booze to what you actually want to drink. I enquired about cool regions to suit my Euro palate. Adelaide Hills. Nice. Mount Langi. Spicy. Orange. Orange? I thought Orange was only good for Bathurst? Not according to Mr.Shaw it isn't.

From there I thought about what I wanted to drink thus grape variety. Semillion? Maybe. Sauvignon Blanc? Sister can by that on her BOGOF. Fiano?! Australian Fiano? Nebbiolo? Tempranillo from the Granite Belt? Interesting. Now it's about price. I love my family but no Henschke Hill of Grace tonight I'm afraid Mama Dry. The final question & often with these big stores quite important when buying whites- vintage. Use this one in context of the price. From there it was back to the fun part. Finding something exciting, maybe an up & coming region, maybe a bargain, a tipple at the tasting counter (always worth a go if not just to gauge instore quality vs. price) and that was it. Done.

Two days later as I was turning a tender cut on the Weber, Mama Dry leaned over my shoulder, cheered with her glass & complimented  "Well done Crispin, nice choice. How ever do you decide what to buy in such a large shop?"

"Fill your glass Mama Dry, It's a long story. Firstly, it's not a store. it's actually a barn."

Italian wine at it's best.Date published: 04/08/12

Brunello di Montalcino 2005,
Gianni Brunelli

This wine makes me smile. It's everything a great Italian red should be and more. This celebrated DOCG in Southern Tuscany has built up a reputation for incredibly powerful wines and this is no exception.

On the nose spice, cloves, raisins dominate and a subtle dusting of dark chocolate gives this wine great depth.
Sour black cherries provide the fruit and the spice follows through on the palate. Perfect acidity makes this wine a real winner. It is perfectly weighted and would be perfect with a rich gamey dish, such as venison casserole.

You could cellar this wine for another 5 years but I think it's drinking superbly now.

£30

French tripDate published: 01/08/12

We started of our trip at Vidal-Fleury where we were shown around the vineyard and their state of the art winery. The first part of the tour was being shown the vineyards located in the Côte-Rôtie where the difference between the Côte Brune and the Côte Blond was explained, the Côte Blond produces more balanced wines, made to be consumed earlier. Wines of the Côte Brune contain more tannins and as a result can be aged longer. Vidal make a wine that uses grapes from both Blond and Brune which has a strong savoury characteristics.

 


It was interesting as someone who has worked at majestic for over a year to see the Vidal-Fleury vines nestled in between the Chaputier and Guigal vines. We were told how the property came to be named Vidal-Fleury it was a result of a marriage between Monsieur Vidal to Mademoiselle Fleury, and a generous dowry from the Fleury family which allowed the replanting of the vineyards after the invasion of phylloxera. Vidal-Fleury is now currently owned by the Guigal family but both produce very different wines.

 


We were then taken on a tour of the cellar where the temperature is controlled at a chilly 14° and 80% humidity. It is here that the wines are aged firstly in stainless steel tanks, in new French Oak and are then finally bottle aged. At Vidal-Fleury a great emphasis is put on allowing the grapes to do the work avoiding too much control and only adding sulphites to avoid oxidation.

 


Then we were then able to taste the wide range of Vidal-Fluery's wines I was particularly impressed by the Saint Joseph 2010 (sold at majestic) which is 100% Syrah. It has great ageing potential, optimum up to 10 years, so we were drinking the wine too young but we were able to taste the depth of flavour characteristics just waiting to explode.

 


We were also able to taste the Côte du Rhône blanc which has a fantastic creaminess brought on by the lees ageing. The added Marsanne grape just brings a freshness to the wine that overshadows any of the oiliness associated with the Viongner grape.

 


The final wine we were able to taste is the flagship wine of Vidal Fluery was the Côte-Rôtie La Chatillone, it tasted almost feral with notes of forest floor and truffle. It was so complex the palate seemed to change every time I tasted it it. Guy the Vineyard manager left us with his personal view, that it is the flavours on the palate and not the nose which makes a fantastic wine.

 


It was then North to Beaune for the second part of the trip a much anticipated look inside Maison Latour and around the vineyards. In the morning we were shown Latour's in house cooperage which allows total control of the wine from harvest to ageing. Then underground to the be shown the acres of wines in being bottle aged in perpetual darkness. Finally we granted permission into the high-tec laboratory where the wine is given a wide range of tests before consumption.

 


We were then taken on a fast moving trip through the picturesque Burgundy countryside driving through Pommard, stopping at Saint-Aubin for a brilliant view over the Burgundy's Southern vineyards. We finished our tour at the Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru where we learned the story behind the appellation. The Lord of Puligny is said to have divided his land up between his children and this small but lucrative section of land was given to his bastard son.

 


After the tour of the vineyards and the winery we were allowed to taste the wines I had particular love of the Saint Bris Sauvignon after a short career in the wine trade I have tasted all types of Savignon blancs but none have left such an impression on me as the Saint Bris. It is grown on soils rich with fossils which creates a wine with a unique grassy nose. These unique grassy aromas twinned with the elegant French style of wine making, I think make an unbeatable Sauvignon.

 


We then tasted Louis latours classic lines which are also sold at Majestic such as the Macon Lugny and the Pouilly-Vinzelles which as always impressed with their power, elegance and overall balance.

 


After that we tasted the Pinot Noirs the Nuits Saint George really stood out for me because of its gamey nose, the Corton Grand Cru also stood out because of the complexity of the aromas and such a rich concentrated palate.

 


We were then showed around Aloxe Corton which was a huge treat for us majestic staff as it we have been selling the much loved and appreciated fine wine for a good few years. The emphasis in production is on tradition with essentially the same techniques being used now as when the vineyard was founded. Louis Latour's Marketing Manger: Florence explained that he felt that without tradition a person losses their soul. This sentiment is definitely upheld at Aloxe Corton and throughout the Latour vineyards and winerys. It is also worth noting that the great grand son of one of the founding staff members is currently working at Aloxe-Corton.

 


We then travelled deep into the wine cellars where wines reserved for the Latour family dating back to the 1870s are kept. It was a rather cramped experience especially for Chris another of the majestic staff who just managed to squeeze his ample frame through the door into the tiny spiral stair case. Florence told us of the last time the Latour family had opened a bottle over 100 years old they had to drink it within a minute as the wine evaporates so fast. The taste was was one that was dominated by mushrooms and other fungi.
 

Semillon Heaven..Date published: 28/07/12

Peter Lehmann 'Margaret' Semillon 2005, Barossa Valley

The Barossa Valley is normally known for it's chunky reds, this Semillon has captured the depth and complexity of the region whilst remaining distinctively elegant.

The nose is unmistakable, vibrant citrus, honeysuckle and toasty brioche jump out of the glass. Think lemon meringue pie. These flavours follow through on your pallet and the racy acidity keeps it rounded. A hint of hazelnut lingers on the finish making this wine a real treat.

Open today on the tasting counter..

£13.99
(when you buy any two Australian wines, £17.49 single bottle price)

Sparkling wine doesn't get much better than this..Date published: 21/07/12

Bouvet Ladubay Saumur, NV, France    -   £7.99

It's the second oldest sparkling wine producer from Saumur in the Loire Valley and is also owned by the renowned Champagne house, Taittinger. It's made by the traditional method however uses just the Chenin Blanc grape instead of the usual Champagne trio.

This gives it a delightful freshness, crisp citrus flavours dominate, but it also has a great body and depth of characteristics such as honeysuckle and acacia with a subtle floral finish.

It's as elegant as many good quality Champagnes but at a fraction of the price.

How can you resist.......?

Deliveries from Majestic Islington over the next few months..Date published: 18/07/12

As you're all aware, a certain sporting event is about to get underway. With this in mind, we just want to let you know how we'll be dealing with the road closures, extra traffic etc.

We will be delivering during the busy period, however with many roads closed and increased numbers of cars on the road we will appreciate as much notice as possible for delivery. Of course we will try to accomodate your wine needs as much as we can.

We will keep you updated on our website and also on our twitter @majesticisl or you can always call us to check on our delivery schedule.

Many thanks in advance for your co-operation.

And P.S. You can always order now to stock up!

It makes you proud to be British!Date published: 05/05/12

Nyetimber

The original Nyetimber manor is drenched in history, dating all the way back to the 11th century making their story a very interesting one indeed. The largest vineyard estate in the UK with 438 acres under vine, this is another vineyard that enjoys the luxury of geological similarites to the champagne region, and as such in 1993 thier Classic Cuvee won not only a gold medal but a trophy for the Best Worldwide Sparkling Wine at the esteemed IWSC. A later vintage was served at a Downing Street dinner hosted by the Queen in the year of her Golden Jubilee and come 2007, Nyetimber were selected to join the Walpole Group of British Luxury Companies as one of the first 'Brands of Tomorrow'.

With so much acreage already under vine and potenital plans for further additions, Nyetimber expects to grow to the size of a small to medium Champagne House. With the larger production opportunites this would offer, the company hopes to export all over the world helping them to realise the Nyetimber dream of becoming a leading global brand. High hopes for an English sparkling wine producer? I don't think so, I'd say they are right on track. Toast Her Majesty's 60-year reign with a glass of the current 2004 vintage this summer and you'll see why for yourself.

It's Party Season...Date published: 04/05/12

Whether you are toasting Her Majesty, cheering on the team or finding your own reason to celebrate, here at your local Majestic we've got everything you could possibly need to plan the perfect party. We're fully stocked with the best party wines and the finest fizz to suit any budget.

And in order to make your party run smoothly we can also help you with our FREE party services...

- FREE delivery*

- FREE glass loan**

- FREE chiller bin and ice bucket loan**

- EXPERT ADVICE on how much you will need to buy, as well as recommendations to suit specific menus, whatever your budget

- Ice, soft drinks and water available to purchase, as well as a wide range of lagers and ales by the case.

Download out Party Planner at majestic.co.uk/parties

 

*Minimum purchase 12 bottles of wine

** Deposit required - Glasses must be returned clean

Fine Wine Friday Date published: 29/03/12

This Friday we will be opening the Sarget de Gruaud Larose 2002 St-Julien as our fine wine.

Sarget de Gruaud Larose was introduced in 1979 as the second wine of the famous St-Julien second growth Gruaud Larose. Around 16,000 cases are produced every year. It has a great reputation due to its reliability, regularly producing elegant wines.

With a developing nose of pencil shavings, blackberry and plum, this is a fine example of St-Julien. The palate is generous with a silky texture, food-friendly structure, great length and complexity. Drink now or over the next couple of years.


At £25 per bottle, this is a great bargain! Come in tomorrow (Friday 30th March) and see if you agree!

Wines of ArgentinaDate published: 02/03/12

Come on down for our themed tasting week starting today.

Argentina has one of the best wine growing climates due to it's stable weather, high altitude vineyards, excellent diurnal range (google that, every day is a school day) & diverse soils. The result? Full bodied reds that maintain enticing varietal aromatics e.g Malbec, Cabernet & the Keyser Soze of grape varieties, #Bonarda  & elegant  whites, mainly Chardonnay & their indigeous grape Torrontes, just to name a few.

My favourites? #Catena Chardonnay & Mendel Malbec.

 

Tired of drinking the same old thing..?Date published: 02/02/12

To announce the arrival of our new wines for Spring we are running free tasting in store from Friday 3rd to Thursday 9th February.

No RSVP required - simply pop in and find something new and exciting to drink this season!

Buy of the weekendDate published: 28/01/12

6 x Corton Grancey 2002 - £210

6 x Meursault Blagny 1er Cru 2009 - £180

Nicolas Potel Bourgogne Chardonnay (Old vines, 2009)Date published: 03/01/12

Just a quick note to inform you that the Nicolas Potel Chardonnay is back in stock at Majestic Islington.

You may remember this wine was very much sought after following a recommendation from Tim Atkin on Saturday Kitchen.

Buy 2+ bottles at £9.99 per bottle (£11.99/single bottle)

Many thanks,

Majestic Islington.

Planning a wedding?Date published: 22/03/11

Wedding season is nearly upon us and we have had a lot of interest from people planning their big day. If you are currently arranging your wedding and want to know about how we can help you give us a call. We can set up an in-store tasting and guide you through our best products!

Store Events(4)

Free Spotlight Tasting

11 December 2014 (18:30 - 19:00)

We'll be opening 6 great wines from the Rhone valley. Book your place to taste it's not just about Cotes-du-Rhone!

RSVP

Free Spotlight Tasting

6 December 2014

Book your place quickly to enjoy a FREE tasting focused on the best wines for the season

RSVP

Free Spotlight Tasting

27 November 2014 (18:30 - 19:00)

Pop in for a FREE tasting of 6 great Californian wines.

RSVP

Free Seasonal Tasting

13 November 2014 (18:30 - 20:30)

Hurrah, it's nearly time for our annual Winter Tasting Evening. Book your FREE place to enjoy an evening of sampling 20 different wines

RSVP

Store Tasting(17)

What we're tasting today...

Meet the team...

  • Carly Senior Manager

    I'm now into my 8th year at Majestic, having worked at various branches around the country. I'm currently happily spending my evenings exploring the delights of Northern Rhone but also love a good G&T.
  • Gabriel Driver

    VIP
  • Hugo Trainee Manager

    I've just started working for Majestic after studying in Scotland for the last 4 years. I studied French and I spent a year living in Bordeaux, so at the moment you have to try hard to get me out of the Bordeaux section, although I do like a good Malbec as well.
  • Oli Senior Assistant Manager

    I started my Majestic career up North in my home town of Liverpool. I moved to London in March and this is my second store since. I love the classics just as much as the new kids on the block. What really gets me excited though is the off the beaten path unusual wines as well anything from Alsace or Champagne.
  • Rich Assistant Manager

    I'm new to Islington, but have worked in wine for around 7 years starting in Sydney and ending up in London. When I'm not swilling some '86 Lynch-Bages, you'll find me lurking in the Fine Wine area, wondering how best to spend my pay. In my spare time I enjoy monocle shopping and clay pigeon shooting. My favourite wine at the moment is the Turkey Slap Shiraz from Barossa.
  • Ryan Trainee Manager

    I'm the new trainee at Majestic and have been at Islington for about a month now. I'm enjoying learning about the complexities of wine and I can often be found over by the tasting counter sampling our selection.

How to find us