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Spring & Summer at Majestic

by Tom Cannavan. 05/06

Part I - 75 sparkling and white wines

This was a press tasting of all the newest lines/vintages available in Majestic for Spring/Summer 2006. Majestic have branches across the UK, and an excellent website with free delivery from your nearest store. Some of these wines will also be available in other retailers both in the UK and abroad.

Majestic has a number of promotions running until the end of August 2006, like 20% off all Italian, Chilean and rosé wines when you buy two or more, and 33% off a range of Champagnes when you buy three. When two prices are quoted below, the second is the promotional price for this summer.

See also part II - over 70 red wines (further link at bottom of page)


Dinstlgut Loiben (Austria) Pfaffrenburg Grüner Veltliner 2005
Light, spicy pear and cool stony white fruit. Palate has plenty of fruit and a lovely pithy dryness of citrus fruit; still with sweeter edges, but a bone dry finish. £7.99, £7.49. 88/100

Franz Haas (Italy) Alto Adige Pinot Bianco 2004
Big, mealy, richly layered oatmeal and hessian nose with plenty of creamy orchard fruit. The palate has mouth-filling ripeness, with a creamy texture and lovely apple and citrus acidity sweeping through. £10.99, £8.79. 91/100

Terredavino (Italy) Gavi 2005
Clean, fresh, essence of crisp pear fruit with a luscious hint of tropicality. Bone-dry palate, with a very cool, underripe pear and melon fruit, and a citrus acidity. Lacks a little punch, but elegant. £5.49, £4.39. 85/100

Cantina Breganze (Italy) Pinot Grigio Superiore 2005
Fresh, crisp, summery fruit with apple, pear and a hint of blossom. The palate is dry and racy, with a nice quality of ripe fruit and good balancing acidity. Well balanced. £5.99. £4.79. 85/100

Banfi (Italy) San Angelo Vineyard Pinot Grigio 2005
Lovely nose here, with a pungent, vivid herbal streak and lots of gooseberry fruit. On the palate this has good intensity and punchy, vivid orchard fruits, with a lovely streak of lemony acidity. £7.99, £6.39. 87/100

A Passoni (Italy) Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2005
Discreet, tight, lightly herbal nose with fine, mineral-streaked white fruit. The palate has a lovely rolling breadth of fruit that remains tight and focused, but elegantly balanced by clean as a whistle acidity and a hint of yellow plum richness. £6.99, £5.59. 87/100

Todini (Italy) Grechetto di Todi 2005
Ripe, lightly waxy and fat lemon fruit with a touch of mealy weight to it. The palate has plenty of cool, focused, citrus and crisp apple fruit and good acidity. Not quite as long as I'd hope, but very good. £7.99, £6.39. 85/100

Coste del Molino (Italy) Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi 2005
Lightly herbal with a touch of nettle and some oatmeal notes. The palate has lots of vivacious, racy lemon fruit that has zesty acidity and finishes very fresh. Needs some seafood. £5.99, £4.79. 85/100

Settesoli (Italy) Fiano di Sicilia 2005
Lovely ripeness and immediate richness of sweet-edged, pear and lightly honeyed aromas. On the palate lots of ripe, sweet, fat fruit that fills the palate. Joyous, weighty, straightforward stuff, with good acidity keeping it dry and crisp in the finish. A little gem. £4.99, £3.99. 86/100

Jacques Arnoult (France) Muscadet 2005
Fresh, crisp, ozone nose with oyster shell aromas. Similarly bright and clean palate, with perfect freshness and clarity and a delicate floral character coming through. Lovely balance and very good indeed. £3.99, £3.49. 86/100

Domaine de la Tourmaline (France) Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2005
Sur lie wine with a hint of toffee on the nose, lovely vivid fruit suggesting apples and light pear. The palate has plenty of juicy, ripe, clean and racy fruit with plenty of ripeness but clean acidity. £5.49, £4.99. 87/100

Jacques Arnoult (France) Anjou Chenin 2005
Lots of honey and gentle toffee notes at first, and a nice herbal, lightly grassy edge. The palate has a real edge of sweetness and a slightly cloying mid-palate, with decent acidity but a touch too sweet for me. £3.99, £3.49. 84/100

E Delaille (France) Cheverny Le Vieux Clos 2005
Quite a pungent, slightly sulphury nose, with decent fruit beneath. Plenty of richness and sweetness of fruit on the palate, and a nice punchy finish. £5.99. 85/100

J-C Borgnat (France) Quincy 2005 Quite subtle, fresh, crisp and white-fruited nose. The palate has a nice quality of white fruit, with a ripe, quite luscious edge and a nice sweep of fresh white fruit acidity. £8.49. £7.49. 86/100

M Sautejeau (France) Pouilly-Fume "Les Ferrees" 2005
Nicely herbal, grass and nettle punch on the nose, with a powerful acidity and concentration of crisp, racy fruit on the palate. Nice minerality in the finish. Quite stylish. £8.99, £5.99. 87/100

Grebet (France) Pouilly-Fumé Domaine des Rabichattes 2005
Cool, fresh, but quite rich and mealy fruit quality. Lots of vivid, lively, nicely focused fruit with a vivid, crunchy quality, a real orangy tang to the acidity and very good length. £9.99, £8.49. 88/100

D. Baud (France) Sancerre "Les Baudrieres" 2005
Slightly neutral but fresh and crisp white fruited nose. Clean, nicely textured palate with cool white fruit and a gentle but incisive lemony acidity. Classic. £8.99, £6.99. 86/100

Roger Neveu (France) Sancerre "Clos des Bouffants" 2005
More opulent, more ripeness and hints of opulence with lots of fruit and a touch of honey. The palate has an almost salty tang of freshness, with very breezy, linear fruit quality with hints of pungent, tropical guava and plenty of verve. £9.49, £8.99. 88/100

Vacheron (France) Sancerre 2005
Evident concentration here, with lots of tightly wound, concentrated fruit and a hint of herbal quality. On the palate it has searing citrus and mineral acidity and very clean, somewhat pithy fruit. This is classic, steely Sancerre that needs food but has great quality. £12.99. 89/100

Chateau La Gravette (France) Minervois Blanc 2005
Fresh, tangy, plenty of fruit and ripeness. Lots of fruit sweetness on the palate, with a touch of punchy, peachy weight and a crisp finish. £4.99, £4.49. 85/100

La Croisade (France) VdP d'Oc Chardonnay 2005
Fresh, Unoaked, apple fruited nose. Palate has some sweet-edged pear and gently peachy fruit and a good backbone of lemony acidity, but slightly dull. £3.99. 83/100

Domaine Begude (France) VdP d'Oc Chardonnay 2005
There's a nice toffeed nuance on the nose here, with a mealy richness. Lots of ripe, creamy peach and apple fruit. The palate has lots of sweetness and roundness, with a nicely balanced finish, but perhaps lacks a bit of verve? £5.99, £5.49. 85/100

Le Carredon (France) VdP d'Oc Marsanne 2005
Quite a rich, fruity, full peachy nose. Clean with just a hint of toffee. On the palate rather underpowered with a slightly dull finish. £4.49, £3.99. 84/100

Monastier (France) VdP d'Oc Viognier 2005
Very fine orangey nose, with lots of honey and touches of caramel. Cool, ripe, pear fruit on the palate, with a broad streak of acidity, but it is slightly short. £4.99, £3.99. 85/100

Laurent Miquel (France) VdP d'Oc "Nord Sud" Viognier 2005
A touch of toffee and a minty quality, with obvious oak evident. The palate has racy acidity and plenty of white-fleshed fruit, with a nice weight and texture. £6.99. 86/100

Chateau Rieussec (France) R de Rieussec Bordeaux Blanc 2004
Slightly neutral nose, but a gentle pear and apple fruit emerges, with a touch of toffee in the background. On the palate decent fruit, with a nice honeyed edge to clean, crisp apple and melon, and just a suggestion of weight and vanilla in the finish. Subtle but stylish. £9.99. 88/100

Guigal (France) Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2004
Bold, assertive fruit with punch and a note of fatness and buttery weight. The palate has good fruit, with a toffeed character and a chewy density, and a powerful presence. Weighty and balanced, with good acidity. £7.49, £6.99. 88/100

Chateau d'Aqueria (France) Lirac Blanc 2005
Fat, buttery, bold nose with plenty of fruit and a herbal edge. On the palate this is rounded and mouth filling, with weight and texture, but a nice acidity that really balances the finish leaving this poised and fresh. £7.99, £7.49. 88/100

Philippe Faury (France) Condrieu 2004
Big, herbal, strikingly nettly nose with pungent fruit, a hint of minty ripeness and plenty of presence. On the palate it has lots of peachy, nectarine fruit sweetness and a rounding of honey and toffee (must be some new oak?) before a clean, white fruit acidity. £19.99. 89/100

Chateau du Cray (France) Bourgogne Aligoté 2005
Minerals, fresh, ozone notes and a touch of dried herb. Crisp and sherbetty, with fresh lemony fruit and a charming balance. Summery and straightforward. £5.99. 85/100

Cave de Chablis (France) Chablis 2005
Up-front, fruity nose, with apple and white fruits evident. Plenty of freshness and crispness on the palate, with a lovely sour lemon acidity and fruit quality running through it. Quite simple, but very good. £7.99, £6.99. 87/100

Christophe Cordier (France) Pouilly-Fuissé "Terroir" 2005
Lightly toffeed and rich, with a peachy richness and nice fruit quality. On the palate it is rounded and quite fleshy, with concentrated, good quality of fruit that stays clean and focused, with a hint of richness but lovely balance of cool, quite mineral acidity. £9.99, £8.99. 88/100

V & M-C Perrin (France) Saint-Romain 2004
Burgundian, quite fat and buttery, lightly vegetal fruit. The palate has cool, pure fruit with a nicely vegetal background suggesting real ripeness. Good acidity too. £9.99. 88/100

Domaine Olivier (France) Santenay Les Coteaux Sous La Roche 2004
Big, Burgundian, buttered cabbage nose with lots of pungent, fruity aromas. A strong mineral streak too. The palate has plenty of ripeness - a really, sweet-edged fruitiness, backed up by a hint of minty, creamy oak and a really vivid streak of acidity. Lovely. £12.99. 89/100

Christophe Cordier (France) Vire-Clesse "Les Perrières" Vieilles Vignes 2005
Big mint humbug and fat vanillin oak overlay to sweet, very ripe and forward fruit. Lots of lemony acidity here, cutting through the modern, clean, ripe fruit. Very modern in style, but concentrated, fruity and beautifully balanced. £15.99, £14.99. 88/100

J-L Chavy (France) Puligny-Montrachet 2004
Nice clean nose, with a hint of toffee and plenty of juicy, fresh fruit. Nice freshness on the palate too, though the acidity is quite prominent and rather overshadows the fruit. Well made, not sure about longevity? £18.99. 88/100

Vincent Bouzereau (France) Meursault Les Narvaux 2004
Nettly, pungent nose, with herbs and bold fruit. The palate has a lovely weight and texture of fruit; lots of racy, fine, lemon-edged white fruits and a minerality. A clean fresh style in the end, with some herbal qualities and oak, but crisp. £23.00. 88/100

William Fevre (France) Chablis Grand Cru Valmur 2001
Lovely limpid nose, with beautifully maturing, limpid fruit with a touch of toffee and a lovely harmonious quality. Lovely fruit on the palate too, that is creamy and has a touch of caramel, and a big raft of herb-streaked, mineral acidity in the finish. A delightful wine, with great quality. £28.00. 93/100

Ermita Veracruz (Spain) Verdejo 2005
An old favourite still on form with a vivid, pungent nose of herb and gooseberry fruit, and plenty of verve and punch on the palate. Excellent pungency and vibrancy, with tangy fruit, vivid acidity and plenty of impressive punch. £7.99, £6.49. 88/100

Martin Codax (Spain) Albariño Rias Baixas 2005
Fresh pear and hard apply fruit, with a clean mineral quality. The fruit is really good on the palate, with lots of sweetness and lots of nectarine and peach hints of sweetness, but with a fine, racy backbone of acidity and terrific freshness and length. A lovely vintage of this. £8.49, £6.99. 90/100

Laborie (South Africa) Chardonnay 2004
Huge minty toffee nose, with plenty of oak. Bold, crunchy, forward fruit with masses of ripeness and tropicality. The palate has a nice sour apple acidity playing against the fruit, and this is really quite nicely balanced and savoury. £6.99, £4.99. 87/100

Klein Constantia (South Africa) Chardonnay 2004
Subtler, more refined oak on the nose, with a nice freshness of white fruits, and just hints of a peachier ripeness. Fine, racy, lemon-edged palate with very elegant white fruit, though plenty of it. Touches of toffee and a herbal, vegetal Burgundian ripeness in the finish. Lovely stuff. £8.49. 89/100

Southbank (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Very aggressively herbal, grassy nose. Lots of typical Marlborough fireworks with punchy fruit and green bean herbaceousness. Palate has a hit of grassy-edged, tropical fruit, definitely into the mango and passionfruit spectrum, with a blast of balancing acidity. £6.99, £5.99. 86/100

Fairleigh (New Zealand) Single Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
A more tempered herbaceousness, with a touch of toffeed sweetness and lots of sweet, ripe fruit on the palate. Intense and concentrated, with better integration of freshening acidity. Very good indeed. £6.99. 87/100

Nautilus (New Zealand) Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Much more subdued again, with more minerality and restraint. Palate still offers a blast of ripe, racy, vivid fruit, but in a much more Loire-like spectrum, with citrus and gently gooseberry flavours and a big underpinning of mineral acidity. Lovely. £9.99, £8.49. 90/100

Fairleigh (New Zealand) Single Vineyard Marlborough Chardonnay 2005
Vegetal, buttery, quite Burgundian nose, with lots of buttery oak and a sweetness of ripe fruit evident. The palate has fine sweetness of fruit. It is light to medium bodied and perhaps lacks a touch of textural richness, and a detect a little alcoholic heat slightly unbalancing the finish, but a lovely quality of fruit too. £6.99. 87/100

Knappstein (Australia) Hand-Picked Riesling 2005
Beautifully waxy lemon and lime nose with such nice, composed white fruits and a hint of mineral intensity. Cool, clean and very dry on the palate, there is plenty of limey fruit and a very crisp finish. Nice weight and balance. £6.99, £5.74. 87/100

Terra Barossa (Australia) Pinot Gris 2005
From Eden Valley, a subtly honeyed nose of clean, crisp orchard fruits. The palate is delicate and very clean and crisp, with an intensely sweet edge to the racy white fruit and good balance. Really quite long and delicate in the finish. £7.99, £6.99. 88/100

McGuigan (Australia) Signature Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Herbal notes come through, with a slightly smoky note and plenty of grassy character. The palate is quite clean and crisp, with a huge core of lemony acidity dominating, slicing though quite dry, grassy lean fruit with that continuing smoky nuance. Crisp and clean, with a fairly savoury style. £6.99, £4.99. 86/100

Yering Station (Australia) "Frog" Chardonnay 2004
Gently buttery with very light toast and mealy nuances. On the palate the fruit is poised and nicely weighted, with lots of ripe pear and apple and a suggestion of peachier weight. Good acidity and just a creamy note in the finish. £6.99, £5.99. 87/100

Wolf Blass (Australia) President's Selection Chardonnay 2004
Nicely buttery, vaguely vegetal character with plenty of oak and plenty of fruit. Nice sweetness on the palate, with a pineapple chunk character, but the acidity is good and a toasty, buttery richness plays against it in the finish. Big, bold, but very good. £9.99, £7.99. 88/100

Vass Felix (Australia) "Adams Road" Chardonnay 2004
Margaret River. Lots of expensive, toasty French oak on the nose, with a luscious quality of ripe fruit beneath and lots of richness. The palate has fine, sweet fruit with an orangy tang. Acidity is good, though this maybe just doesn't power through to the finish the way I'd hope. £9.99, £8.99. 88/100

Bonterra (California) Chardonnay 2004
Lovely poise and limpid quality, with honey and a creamy note, and ripe, buttery fruit. The palate has lots of zest and zing, with tropical fruit, but a vivacious quality and bright acidity that sharpen up the finish despite an oaky underpinning coming through. £8.99, £7.49. 88/100

Joseph Phelps (California) Carneros Chardonnay 2001
Ripe, maturing, Burgundian Chardonnay, with a cabbagy vegetal and butter note and plenty of ripeness and sweetness. The palate displays good fruit and a lot of fruit sweetness. Big, creamy and open, this does have acidity, but playing second fiddle to fruit and oak. £19.99. 89/100

Vistasur (Chile) Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Nicely judged herb-tinged, fresh fruit. Lots of lemon and green apple. A more tropical fruit quality on the palate with plenty of ripeness. A big core of juicy lemon fruit and acids keeps this fresh and well balanced. Simple, but well made. £4.75, £3.80. 85/100

Montes (Chile) Limited Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Lots of Marlborough-like fireworks, with nettle and a great, green, herbal streak. Lots of punchy gooseberry and verdant fruit beneath. On the palate this has plenty of tropical, punchy, greengage and ripe fruit, and a fine integrated acidity that is quite mineral in some ways. £7.99, £6.99. 89/100

Cono Sur (Chile) Single Vineyard "Quitralman" Riesling 2005
Herbal, mineral, very cool and restrained, with little fruit character. The palate has a lot more juiciness and vivid citrus fruit quality, but it retains its cool minerality and crisp, dry demeanour. £7.99, £6.39. 86/100

Cono Sur (Chile) Single Vineyard "El Marco" Gewurztraminer 2005
Quite subtle, with a little note of toffee and a subtle herbal quality. On the palate this is dry, with no flamboyance, but good fruit and a very lean, long finish with good acidity. Won't scare Gewurtz haters. £7.99, £6.39. 86/100

Crois de Susana Balbo (Argentina) Torrontes 2005
Floral, fragrant, typical Torrontes, with a touch of Nivea cream. Some of that exotic ripeness and floral character comes through on the palate, but this is dry and uncompromising, with white fruit and plenty of racy, crisp acidity in a reasonably long finish. £5.99. 86/100

Cave de Turkheim (Alsace) Pinot Gris 2004
Nice herby, pungent, nettle edge to this, with ripe apple and melon fruit. An edge of sweetness on the palate, with flattering off-dry weight and richness, but this is nicely balanced by acidity and quite stylish. £6.49, £5.99. 86/100

Cave de Turkheim (Alsace) Gewurztraminer 2004
Little notes of spices and rose petal. Quite subtle. Rich, mouthfilling fruit, just off dry with good peachy, downy fruit quality. Nice wine, with good balancing acidity. Easy to drink. £6.49, £5.99. 87/100

Ayler Kupp (Germany) Riesling Kabinett Margarethof 2005
Quiet subtle, touch of oatmeal, clean. Lovely fruit on the palate, with a fine raciness and clarity, medium sweet with good length. Very lip-smacking and moreish acidity. £5.99. 89/100

M Schafer (Germany) Riesling Burg-Layer Schlosskapelle Kabinett 1992
Some developed waxy, herbal, petrolly notes and good minerality. The palate has a gentle herbal edge to the fruit, perhaps just lacking a little acidity, but enjoyable. Good/very good. £5.49. 87/100

M Schafer (Germany) Riesling Burg-Layer Schlossberg Spätlese 1989
Quite a neutral, white-fruited nose. A touch of toffee. On the palate there is modest, clean, honeyed fruit and decent balancing acidity, but a touch flabby. Good £5.99. 85/100

M Schafer (Germany) Riesling Dorsheimer Pittermanchen Spätlese 2000
Pungent, flinty, waxy nose with quite vivacious fruit on the palate. Punchy tropically sweet edge, a touch of nettle and then nice vivid acidity. Stylish. £5.29. 87/100

M Schafer (Germany) Riesling Burg-Layer Schlosskapelle Auslese 2002
Slightly rotted, dank aromas. Very sweet palate, with a poised lemon sherbet fruitiness and modest acidity and length. Better than the Spätlese Burg-Layer. £5.49. 87/100


Cloudy Bay (New Zealand) Pelorus NV
Beautiful small bubbles and nose with lots of bruised apple and pear and a touch of herbal complexity. The palate has fine freshness, with a nicely persistent mousse and a racy lemony palate. Little hints of tropical ripeness and clean, fresh, very racy acidity. Delightful. £14.99, £11.99. 89/100

Cloudy Bay (New Zealand) Pelorus 2001
Adds quite a lot of nuttiness and toast with a straw and hessian dry quality and a core of fruit. Very mouthfilling and rolling mousse, with lots of fruit. There's a citrus quality, but also a sense of mealy, nutty Cox's Pippin ripeness and good acidity. £16.99, £13.59. 89/100

Heidsieck (France) Brut NV
Decent herbal, lightly yeasty fruit with a bit of pear and apple fruit. Slightly sweet edge with decent fruit and length. £21.99, £11.99. 86/100

Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut. NV
There's a smoky, bacon-fat note to this that is intriguing, with apple fruit beneath. Lively mousse and quite a fat character, with lots of breadth and mouthfilling acidity. It is dry and a touch austere, but has good fruit. £31.99, £23.99. 88/100

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve Mis en Cave NV
Slightly herbal edge to this, with plenty of nettle character and a juicy fruitiness, and lovely fruit. The palate has lots of elegance and ripeness and this ends really well. 90/100

Jacquart Brut Tradition 2000
Fresh, appealing, appetising if quite simple, with juicy fresh fruit, lots of plush, peachy roundness and ripeness. Decent length, but not great. £31.99, £15.99. 86/100

Jacquart Brut Rose NV
Quite robust and earthy, with plenty of rich, strawberry and softly leafy fruit. Nice and dry on the palate, with lovely acidity and a nice balance of sweet, slightly strawberry fruit and racy citrus acidity. Seems longer than the 2000. £31.99, £15.99. 88/100

Veuve Clicquot Rose NV
Fruity, quite soft and earthy nose, with lots of bruised apple character. The mousse is soft and persistent, and this has lots of structural acidity and a nip of tannins, with a pithy, dry quality. Good length here though, and a certain elegance. Expensive. £43.99, £32.99. 90/100

Saracco (Italy) Moscato d'Asti 2005
Lovely nose, full of delicacy and sherbetty brightness, with pear and floral notes, and a lovely sweetness on the palate. This is poised and elegant, gently fizzy with long, softly sweet and delicious fruit notes and lovely acidity. £8.49, £6.79. 87/100

See also part II - over 70 red wines