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Welcome to Majestic

Aberdeen

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

Store facilities

  • Fine wine available
  • Free chiller bin loan
  • Wine Courses
  • Free local delivery
  • Free glass loan
  • Free parking
  • Free tasting every day
Store News(61)

How to Taste WineDate published: 29/07/17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next time you're in-store, ask one of the team to talk you through tasting one of the wines on the tasting counter; we'll be happy to guide you through and show you how it's done.


Producer Focus – ViñalbaDate published: 29/07/17

Producer Focus – Viñalba

Producer Information

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


Viñalba Selección Torrontés 2016 Lujan de Cuyo £8.99

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


Viñalba 50/50 2013 Uco Valley £9.99

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


Viñalba Gran Reservado Malbec 2014 Mendoza £14.99

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


Wine of the Week: Vina Ardanza Rioja Reserva 2005 - £21.99Date published: 29/07/17

Wine of the Week: Vina Ardanza Rioja Reserva 2008 - £21.99

We've got a pretty special Fine Wine as our wine of the week this week, the Ardanza Reserva 2008. It is produced by Bodega la Rioja Alta, one of Rioja's most respected properties. As they own the majority of the vineyards used for production (which is unusual for Rioja) the Bodega can have a greater degree of quality control. Vina Ardanza is produced in only the finest vintages, with 2008 being regarded alongside 2004 and 2001 as the greatest in the last 20 years. The wine is produced very traditionally, with over three years barrel ageing for the 80% Tempranillo and 20% Garnacha that constitute the blend. The excellent vintage has provided sufficient power of fruit to balance the intense sweet spice character that result from ageing in American Oak.

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

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

Party ServiceDate published: 29/07/17

At Majestic, we’ve been helping our customers plan successful parties for years.

We offer the ultimate party service:

Free Delivery

Free Glass Hire

Ice and Chiller Bin Hire

Sale and Return on all wine and un-split cases of beer or cider

Free tastings

Whether it’s a casual drinks bash or a full scale wedding we will make sure your party is one to remember.

Not sure which wine to choose or how much wine to order? Need help with glasses and chiller bins? We can help! These are questions we help answer every day and our expert staff are here to help.

We really enjoying offering our expertise to help take this weight off of your mind, allowing you to get on with having a great time. With our extensive range of drinks including soft drinks and spirits we can save you time with one point of contact, one delivery and one invoice.

We even offer in store tastings so that you can be sure the drinks you choose will be perfect for your occasion.



Wine of the Week: Parrilla Malbec Date published: 29/07/17

Argentinian Malbec has a real following here in Aberdeen and it's easy to see why - with the warmer weather, it's ideal with the BBQ! Indeed, the name Parrilla is exactly that a barbeque, albeit slightly different to one you might do in your back garden - they can be up to 20ft in length and the meat may be cooked for anything from 45 minutes to many hours.

An exclusive to the Majestic range, Parrilla Malbec is produced by one of our favourite producers Vinalba. It's a more fruity style than other Malbecs you may have tried before due to the fact that only 30% of the wine is aged in oak barrels.

Give it a try and we think you'll agree, it's excellent!

Tasting ClubDate published: 20/05/17

Psst, heard about Majestic's Tasting Club? If not, you're missing out! Here's the inside scoop: every month, we run a diverse programme of Tastings in the store, each one based on a different theme. These are ticketed events but, in exchange for your ticket price, we give you a guided tour of the region or style being covered and you get the value of your ticket back to spend on wine! Don't miss out, have a look at our programme of events and get your place booked today!

Fine Wine of the Month - LFE 900 Single Vineyard 2013Date published: 05/05/17

LFE 900 Single Vineyard 2013

An exciting addition to our When-It's-Gone-It's-Gone section, the LFE900 is a top quality Chilean red for a good price. Louis Felipe Edwards are a top Chilean producer and already make some of our most popular wines, but this is a step up in quality.

So named because it comes from a Colchagua Valley vineyard half way up a mountain, 900 metres above sea level. This altitude gives the grapes plenty of sunshine without it being too hot, helping them to develop serious concentrated flavours while remaining fresh and accessible.

It's worth opening up or decanting earlier in the day to really get the most of the deep, dark and boisterous fruitiness. Blackcurrant, plum, blueberries and other concentrated, dark fruits are complimented by an earthy, chocolatey complexity. It has a lovely full texture, and the year in French oak has really smoothed out those tannins and brought all the flavours together.

Coming in at £14.99 this wine is a bit of a bargain. It will age for another 5 years, if you can resist for that long!


Fine Wine Good Friday!Date published: 13/04/17

To celebrate Easter Weekend, we've chosen one of our favourite producer's top Malbecs! 

Named in honour of his wife, Diane, former Bordeaux vigneron Herve Fabre has produced a classy drop produced with fruit sourced from high altitude, old vines from the best vineyards of his Mendoza estate. In classic Mendoza style, this is a fruit-driven, rich red wine, aged for 16 months in French oak which exhibits real complexity and a long, smooth finish.

We love it but, don't just take our word for it, come and try it for yourself!

Majestic Loves..........Date published: 31/03/17

We're delighted to announce the arrival of our latest, own label, wine - the Majestic Loves series! Regular customers will be aware of both our Parcel Series and Definition ranges but now, in addition, we have 4 new wines, wines which are delicious, approachable and, above all, fun! After an exhaustive search which involved blind tasting over 300 wines (tough job but someone's got to do it), we selected the ones which we believe represent the best value and flavour for the price of £5.99.

Have a look for them next time you're in and see for yourself why Majestic Loves these great new wines!

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

Producer Focus

Marisco: Beyond 'The Ned'

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

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

The King's Thorn Pinot Gris 2013 - £9.99

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

The King's Favour Sauvignon Blanc 2012 - £9.99

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

The Ned Pinot Noir 2013 - £9.99

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


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

Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel - £6.66

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

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

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


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

Wine of the Week

Jordan Lemon Grove Chardonnay 2012


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


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


Mark


Only £12.99


Rose!Date published: 22/03/14

Rose!

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

Black Cottage Rose 2013, Marlborough - £9.99

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

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

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

Pinot Grigio Rose 2012, Cantina Breganze - £6.99

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wine of the Week


DMZ Chardonnay 2013 De Morgenzon, Stellenbosch


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


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


Only £8.99

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

More great offers for a limited time only!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Your favourite Sauvignon Blanc at only £6.99 a bottle!

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

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

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


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

Producer Focus – Bodegas Muga


Producer Information

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

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


Rioja Blanco 2013 Muga £9.99

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


Rioja Reserva 2009 Muga £14.99

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


Prada Enea 2005 Muga £30

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

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

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


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

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


Only £9.99

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

Picks of the March Pick 'n' Mix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beer In Focus: Brooklyn Lager

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

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

ABV - 5.2

Brooklyn Lager (6x355ml) is £9.99


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

Malbec! Malbec! Malbec! etc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Free Delivery on All Orders!

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

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


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

Wine of the Week: El Rescadato Albarin

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

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

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

£9.99 


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

February Wine Showdown: Week 2 Results

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

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

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

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

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

James

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

February Wine Showdown, Week 2 Update


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


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


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


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

Quiz AnswersDate published: 14/02/14

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

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

Answer: Torrontes Riojano.

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

Answer: Bonarda.

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

Answer: Madiran.


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

Answer: Calchaquies Valley.


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

Answer: Cordoniu.

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

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

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

Vinalba Reservado Chardonnay (£9.99)

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

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

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon (£9.99)

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

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

Ben Marco Malbec, Dominio del Plata (£12.99)

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Vinalba Reservado Chardonnay (£9.99)

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

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

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon (£9.99)

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

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

Ben Marco Malbec, Dominio del Plata (£12.99)

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

Vinalba Reservado Chardonnay (£9.99)

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

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

Catena Cabernet Sauvignon (£9.99)

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

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

Ben Marco Malbec, Dominio del Plata (£12.99)

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

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

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


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


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

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

James' Pick: Passimento 2011, Pasqua £8.99

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wines of Argentina QuizDate published: 11/02/14

Wines of Argentina Quiz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February Wine Showdown Week 1 Results

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

Twitter: #teammark 2 #teamjames 1

Tasting Counter: Team Mark 4 Team James 5

Pat's Pick: Team Mark 1 Team James 0

Total: Team Mark 7 Team James 6

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

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


James

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

The Wines of Argentina - Overview

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

Climate

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

Regions

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

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

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

Grape Varieties

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

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

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

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

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

Wines of Argentina Tasting Week

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

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

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

February Wine Showdown Week 1 Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New arrivals for Spring 2014

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


Tournelles Voluptabilis 2010, Buzet - £6.66

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

Gavi Araldica, 2013 - £7.99

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

Vina Mayu Malbec Elqui Valley, 2012 £9.33

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

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

February Weekly Wine Showdown!

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

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

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

Regional Focus: Marlborough, New Zealand


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Random Facts:

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


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

Wine of the Week

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

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

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

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


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

Wine of the Week

Villemarin Picpoul de Pinet 2012
Côteaux du Languedoc


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

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

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

Only £6.49


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

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

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

Taste

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

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

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

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


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

New in stock: Black Isle Brewery

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


Black Isle Organic Blonde Lager 12x330ml - £23.40

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

Red Kite Ale 12x330ml - £22.80

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

Yellowhammer Organic Ale 12x550ml - £28.20

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

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

Wines of the Rhône Valley


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


Domaine Grosset Cairanne 2012 Côtes du Rhône Villages £11.99

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


Côtes du Rhône Belleruche 2012 M.Chapoutier £7.99

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


Gigondas 2011 La Bastide Saint Vincent £15.98

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


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


Mark

The Rhone ValleyDate published: 18/01/14

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


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


 Fast facts:

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


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


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


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


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


Mark

Wine for WeddingsDate published: 15/01/14

Wine for Weddings


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

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

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

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

Wine of the Week - Testimonio 2011 Luigi Bosca

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

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

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

This powerful red is great value at only £7.99.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark



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

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


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


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


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


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

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

Producer Focus – Bodega Matsu


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


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


Matsu El Picaro 2012 Toro £7.99


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


Matsu  El Recio 2010/2011 Toro £12.99


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


Matsu El Viejo 2010 Toro £20.00


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


Mark

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

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

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

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

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

Time for SherryDate published: 27/11/13

Time for Sherry

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

Pedro's Almacenista Selection Fino - £8.99

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

Pedro's Almacenista Selection Amontillado - £9.99

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

Pedro's Almacenista Selection Oloroso: £11.99

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

Pedro's Almacenista Selection Palo Cortado: £14.99

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


Tokaji!Date published: 27/11/13

Tokaji


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

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

Royal Tokaji Late Harvest - £9.99 (50cl)

Royal Tokaji 5 Puttonyos - £19.99 (50cl)


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

Grape of the Month - Viognier!


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


Staff recommendations:


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


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


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



Italiano!Date published: 20/08/13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Prosecco vs. ChampagneDate published: 22/07/13

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Ruari's Picks:

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

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

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

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

Decant before servingDate published: 13/04/13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Meet the team...

  • Robbie MacAskill Manager

    My Majestic career of 9 years has taken me to England, France, various locations throughout Scotland and now to The Granite City . My favourite wine changes all the time but I always return to white Burgundy and Pinot Noir in most forms, though especially from New Zealand.
  • Anna Noeth Assistant Manager

  • Jon Malsingh Trainee Manager

  • Pat Atkin Driver

    Pat is responsible for getting wine to our customers throughout Aberdeen and the Shire who aren't able to visit us instore.

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