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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(184)

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(3)

Free Wine Course

14 June 2014 (15:00 - 16:00)

Free Italian spotlight tasting.

RSVP

Free Seasonal Tasting

14 May 2014 (18:00 - 20:30)

A selection of 20 wines of our range, from £7-£25.

RSVP

Free Spotlight Tasting

3 May 2014 (15:00 - 16:00)

Free Chilean Spotlight tasting.

RSVP

Store Tasting(6)

What we're tasting today...

Meet the team...

  • Alex Trainee Manager

    Islington is my second store, in a previous life I worked in the Banbury store in North Oxfordshire. Next week I am of on a trip round Louis Latours' vineyards where I hope to further my understanding of the wine making procedure and have a fabulous time in the process. With Majestic I have passed my WSET level three exam and have a good knowledge of all the wine in store. Currently my favorite grape is Viogner, the Yalumba Eden Valley really impressed.
  • Ali Trainee Manager

    I am currently in my second store, before i was in the lovely town of Surbiton.... slight contrast! Enjoying my education into wines. Currently loving big Italian reds.
  • Felix Senior Manager

    This year will see me into the ten year club at Majestic. Within those years I've experienced vendange at Durius, sampled Meursault in the cellar of Louis Latour in Corton, drank '83 Cristal from magnum and nearly cried over a perfectly roasted leg of goat with a glass of Clos Erasmus in Falset. But it hasn't all been bad.
  • Jon Assistant Manager

    This is my third store after working in the Finchley and Shoreditch stores previously. I've been lucky enough to try some amazing wines since I joined Majestic, and I'm a big fan of White Burgundy and full bodied reds from Italy, Australia and Argentina.
  • Marcin Driver

    VIP
  • Neil Senior Assistant Manager

    There are many highlights from my Majestic career thus far. Without boring everyone or getting too geeky, these include, tasting a 1964 bottle of Chateau Musar, sampling different styles of champagne with a flavourist & a Michelin-star chef, & nearly collapsing after a 7 course tasting menu with wine to match in Tuscany & not because I had drank too much but because I had gorged myself on wood fired wild boar & duck ragu. I love Italian wine; the grape varieties & appellations never cease to amaze me!
  • Peter

    Very important person
  • Tom Trainee Manager

    Islington is my second store! After previously being in the beautiful west country for 4 months. As I continue to develop my wine knowledge I am constantly trying new wines. At the moment I am really liking big, robust Argentinian Malbecs.

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