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Spring & Summer at Majestic

by Tom Cannavan. 05/06

Part II - 70 red wines

See also part I - 75 sparkling and white wines

Adagio (Italy) Pinot Grigio Rosé 2005
Nicely earthy, dry, quite strawberry fragrant fruit. Dry, fruity palate, a touch of earth and spicy tannin. Nice food rosé. £5.49, £4.39. 86/100

Louis Latour (France) Beaujolais-Lancie 2005
Crisp, dry, watercolour paintbox nose with bright cherry fruit. Lovely vivid, fresh fruit quality with silky texture and juicy acidity. Very nice indeed. £6.99, £6.49. 88/100

Domaine de Boischampt (France) Julienas 2005
Slightly meatier, darker, plummier quality, with rounded, robust red fruit but nice freshness too. Quite elegant acidity and an earthy richness. £6.99, £5.99. 87/100

Louis Latour (France) Morgon Les Charmes 2005
Lovely deep cherry fruit quality on the nose, with a dry, mineral quality but good depth. On the palate it has plenty of fruit, and a big, dry streak of acidity that isn't quite gelling at this stage, but has a richness and depth of fruit. £7.99, £6.99. 88/100

Cave de Turkheim (Alsace) Pinot Noir 2004
Pale, almost rose colour. Modest, red berry fruit. A touch of briary quality and more berry fruit on a simple, slightly herbal, but well-balanced palate. £6.49, £5.99. 84/100

Reserve des Vignerons (France) Saumur Rouge 2005
Very dark, very earthy and solid black fruit with plenty of earthy, dark and briary spice. Straightforward, fruity, with lots of stuffing, and rustic tannins in the finish. £4.99, £4.49. 86/100

Chateau de Targue (France) Saumur Champigny "Les Tuffeaux" 2005
Bold, dark, vinous and fruity nose, with plenty of rich mulberry fruit and a bright cherry edge. Nice weight on the palate, with a certain silky, dark ripeness and glossy cherry acidity. £7.49, £6.99. 88/100

Michel Sarrazin (France) Bourgogne Cote Chalonnaise "Les Gorgeres" 2004
Light, herb and cherry fruit with plenty of bright herby notes. The palate has cool, focused if rather dry fruit and tannin qualities, with a racy acidity. A little lean, but well balanced. £9.99, £8.99. 87/100

Lucien Muzard (France) Santenay Vieilles Vignes 2004
Big, attractive, creamy fruited nose with a wrapping of chocolaty oak around berry fruit. The palate has plenty of ripe, sweet, cherry fruit, and firm mineral and tight cherry skin backbone. Decent balance, with moderate length. £9.99. 88/100

Michel Sarrazin (France) Givry 1er Cru VV 2004
Super ripe, very concentrated and creamy fruit, with lots of charm and plumpness. Good fruit on the palate too, with a wrapping of sweet oak, and a plummy depth. He acidity is quite lean and keen, giving this a savoury, nicely crisp edge on the finish. Perhaps lacks a little mid-palate flesh, but very good indeed. £12.99, £11.99. 88/100

Albert Morot (France) Savigny 1er Cru La Bataillere aux Vergelesses 2002
A dank, truffly note at first, with some deep black fruit notes and just hints of floral ripeness. On the palate there is lovely fruit here. It is soft and mellow, with some creamy oak supporting, and a svelteness to fruit and tannins. £16.99. 90/100

Albert Morot (France) Beaune 1er Cru Les Cent Vignes 2002
Beautiful fragrance, with haunting Burgundy notes of violet and ripe cherry skins, a note of truffly undergrowth and a creamy background. Fine fruit sweetness, all melding into a soft, earthy structure, with lovely acidity. Very fine. £18.99. 91/100

Domaine de la Pousse d'Or (France) Volnay 1er Cru En Caillerets 1999
More dank, earthy, undergrowth and truffle character, with a lovely ripeness of red berry fruit beneath. Silky weight on the palate, with a fine red berry fruit and a touch of liquoricy backbone. Supple and long, this is very classy indeed. £30.00. 93/100

Montana Reserve (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2004
Lovely creamy, vanillin sweet fruit on the nose, with lots of attractive, plush ripeness. Coffee and chocolate underpins plush red fruits on the palates, like crushed raspberry and plum, with fine tannins and acidity. £9.99, £7.49. 88/100

Wither Hills (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2004
Massive charry, toasty, nose, with masses of espresso and chocolate and a real sweetness of fruit beneath. Fine elegance on the palate, though the high, almost minty char of the wood still influences this. Very sweet fruit and good quality. Some lightness about it, with cherry and strawberry notes and not just plummy richness. Long, balanced finish. £14.99. 90/100

Quartz Reef (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2004
Slightly more baked and plummy quality, with a touch of schist and cherry brightness to the fruit coming through. On the palate quite a fine black fruited palate, with some cherry and plum skin bitterness that sits nicely with the fruit. Good acid structure, but perhaps suffers from a slightly drying fruit quality. £15.99. 89/100

Southbank (New Zealand) Merlot Cabernet 2003
Plenty of juicy, plummy, very rich and ripe fruit on the nose with a plush vanillin overlay. Lots of fruit sweetness on the palate, with a mouth-filling richness and a nice edge of acidity. Quite supple tannins and decent length. £8.99, £7.99. 87/100

Le Carredon (France) VdP d'Oc Merlot 2005
Plum and cherry brightness, plenty of vibrant juicy fruit. Dark and saturated palate, with good fruit that has a jammy ripeness, but a decent roughening tannin and acid backbone. £4.49, £3.99. 85/100

Domaine de la Bouysse (France) l'Oc de la Bouysse 2005
Adds a nice earthy, cassis note of depth to ripe red fruit. The palate has quite a chalky tannic quality, but plenty of ripeness and black fruit depth. A touch dry perhaps on the tannins, but good quality here. £4.99, £3.99. 86/100

Monastier (France) VdP d'Oc Cabernet Franc 2005
Dry, firm, blue/black fruity with a dusty, slightly inky quality. Dry red and black fruits on the palate too, but really good ripeness and sweetness. Lovely fresh tannins and acidity too, in very good wine that drinks well. £4.99. 86/100

Chateau de Pennautier (France) Cabardès 2004
Lovely sweetness of ripe, black cherry fruit with a touch of pepper and tight, spicy character. Lovely fruit quality, with plenty of ripeness and richness, and a dark, glossy fruit core wrapped with spicy oak, and sufficient supple tannin and acid to balance. £5.49, £4.99. 88/100

Chateau Camplazens (France) VdP d'Oc Syrah 2005
Slightly dull, subdued nose, with a solidity and earthiness to black fruit, but not terribly expressive. The palate doesn't have a lot of life about it either, though there is fruit and a supple tannin background. £6.49, £5.49. 85/100

Yann Chave (France) Crozes Hermitage 2004
Quite a bright, cherryish, high-toned quality to the fruit, with some peppery nuances. The palate has a very good, solid fruit quality with excellent sweetness and a ripe, chewy mid-palate. Good tannins and overall balance mean this finishes impressively. £9.99. 88/100

Laurence Farraud (France) Vacqueyras 2003
Redcurrant and bright, cherry fruit. The palate also has a nice redcurranty, quite dry fruitiness, with a suggestion of ripe, sweet fruit and a really crisp cherry skin acidity giving it an edge. Plenty of pepper and spice begins to emerge on the finish. £9.99. 88/100

Domaine de la Janasse (France) CdR Villages "Terre d'Argile" 2003
Plush, deep, cherry fruit with a more solid, obvious ripeness. The palate has plenty of fruit: lots of sweet-edged, very plush and ripe red berries and plum. Nice depth here with soft, flavoursome tannins and low, but nicely balancing acidity. £10.99. 89/100

Laurence Farraud (France) Gigondas 2003
Herbal notes and a touch of schisty quality on top of ripe, red cherry slightly floral fruit. The palate has plenty of richness, purity of fruit and sweetness, with a certain plushness backed up by supple, dense tannins and quite low acidity. Delicious now. £11.99. 90/100

Domaine de la Janasse (France) Châteauneuf du Pape 2003
Lots of pepper and spice and rich bramble and cherry fruit. There's an obvious ripeness here. The palate has a layering of vanillin, slightly raw oak, with a dark, liquoricy edge to the plummy and red fruits and a dark stripe of tannins. Quite good acidity in a fairly robust, if slightly raw wine. Might need some more time. £19.99. 90/100

Yann Chave (France) Hermitage 2004
Lots of chocolate and coffee and a dark blackcuranty fruit quality. The palate has plenty of sweet fruit, with a touch of earthy, dark, slightly animal depth and richness. Warming alcohol and tannins flood the finish, but balanced and long. Impressive. £30.00. 92/100

Chateau Chauvin (France) Saint-Emilion 1998
Soft, rich, dark, violet-edged essence of cassis fruit. Little undertones of coffee and tobacco. Lovely fruit quality on the palate, with a racy acidity and tugging tannic backbone. Nicely weighted and drinking very well. £19.99. 91/100

Chateau Clement-Pichon (France) Haut-Médoc 2002
Cassis, warm, earthy scents and a certain bloodiness. Oak is quite minty and prominent. On the palate there is vivid fruit and a slightly dry tannic background, but this has nice quality of fruit and good balance, with some spice and tobacco in the finish. £9.99. 87/100

Marquis de Calon (France) St Estephe 2003
Richly oaked, coffee and chocolate plushness to solid fruit. The palate has plenty of drying tannin and a dark, plummy, even slightly pruney fruit. Finishes a touch dry. £14.99. 87/100

Chateau Haut-Bages Averous (France) Pauillac 1997
Big sweet, fragrant, bloody and mulberry nose. Very attractive and open. The palate too is juicy, ripe and plush, with lots of fruit sweetness and a gentle cedary tannin quality in the finish. This is well balanced and finishes quite long. Excellent for current drinking. £14.99. 90/100

Chateau Labegorce (France) Margaux 2001
Solid, quite dense blue/black, plummy fruit quality. Little hints of cedary fragrance. Ripe, sweet fruit on the palate too, with a palate-filling density and nicely supportive framework of supple tannins and good acidity. Finishes very positively. £17.99. 91/100

Chateau Palmer (France) Alter Ego de Palmer Margaux 2001
Cedar, tobacco, and subtle dark, but rich dark berry fruit. Lots of sweetness and ripeness evident. The palate has quite a serious, fairly lean aspect to it, thanks to prominent orangy acidity and a spine of tannins. Lovely intensity of fruit though, and this has really good length. Might be better with some cellaring too. £30.00 Limited availability. 91/100

La Serrana (Spain) Tempranillo 2005
Vivid cherry and charcoal nose with a floral brightness and little background of tobacco. Good fruit - very ripe, nicely balanced, and highly drinkable. £2.99. 85/100

Castillo el Destaca (Spain) Ribera del Duero Crianza 2002
Very intense melange of ripe, solid black fruit and American oak is minty and very ripe. Sweet and fruit-packed palate, with a lushness and ripeness, and a lovely soft support of tannins and acids. Flattering and commercial, but unarguably delicious. £6.99, £5.49. 87/100

Marques de la Concordia (Spain) Rioja Reserva 2001
Dark, fleshy, dramatically dark berry fruit character on the nose, with a mulberry richness and coffee and cigar smokiness. Palate has a bright, modern fruitiness and plenty of structure beneath. Very attractive and a steal on the current pricing deal. £9.99, £5.99. 89/100

Marques de Caceres (Spain) Rioja Reserva 2000
Nice open, generous, bloody nose with lots of fruit and an attractive gamy edge. Velvety texture and sweetness on the palate, with no rough edges though plenty of depth and dark, dramatic richness. Lovely structure here, and a big, expansive Rioja that is a treat. £13.49, £11.99. 91/100

Muga (Spain) Rioja Reserva Selection Especial 2001
More tightly wound, but beautifully dark, composed sweet fruit. Notes of chocolate and briary darkness. The palate has intensity and a blue/black concentration of fruit, with fine supple tannins and racy acidity sharpening and lengthening. £15.99. 91/100

Moncaro (Italy) Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2005
Bright, paint-boxy, cherry fruit. Bright and focused, with a juicy cherry skin fruitiness. Nice acidity and freshness. £4.49, £3.59. 85/100

Mannucci Droandi (Italy) Chianti Collio Aretini 2004
Nice tobacco and black cherry nose is very classic. Juicy and rich, with fine black fruit on the palate and plenty of vivid, vibrant fruit and supple tannins. A nice wine, with good acidity and cheerful disposition. £7.49, £5.99. 86/100

Gasparini (Italy) Rosso Riva Vecia 2003
Crisp, glossy, cherry and black plum fruit with some smoky notes. Lovely vibrant, juicy, cherry-skinned fruit and with a ripe, silky quality. Nice softening coffeeish tannins and good acidity. Fine quality and good length. £7.49, £5.99. 88/100

De Forville (Italy) Langhe Nebbiolo 2003
Big, robust, dank, earthy and bloody scented nose with gamy notes and plenty of ripe fruit. The palate has a ripeness and solid, sweet fruit richness. There's a certain creaminess, and though tannins are dry and assertive, they marry well with the fruit. Lovely in the end. £7.99, £6.39. 88/100

De Forville (Italy) Barbera d'Asti 2004
Chocolaty, crushed redcurrant and black cherry fruit. Lovely plushness and sense of depth. Sweet, dark, dramatically ripe fruit on the palate. This is sweet and very easy to drink, but there is a dark earthiness and structured background. £9.39, £7.51. 89/100

Poliziano (Italy) Morellino di Scansano 2004
This is quite light and breezy on the nose, with a cherry and kirsch quality. The palate has similarly fruity and cheerful fruit, with a creaminess developing and a nice balance, with a touch of chocolate to the tannins and plenty of spice and dramatic richness. £9.99, £7.99. 88/100

Vino Nobile de Montepulciano "La Ciarliana" 2001
Rich, rolling, tobacco and plush velvety fruit with lots of black plum depth. This is all about sexy, dark, plush fruit and broad-based tannins and acidity, with chocolate and fudge darkness. Good balance, and lovely drinking. £12.99, £10.39. 90/100

Gianni Brunelli (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino 2000
Rich, earthy and dark, with lots of robust, chunky fruit. Lovely ripeness and fruit quality here - really floods across the palate, with lovely fruit presence and fine, supple tannins and beautiful acid structure. £25.50, £20.40. 92/100

Banfi (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino "Poggio alle Mura" 2000
A truffle and dark, undergrowth note here, as well as plenty of dark, dramatically plush fruit with a chocolate edge. On the palate beautiful fruit sweetness and cherry skin bittersweet character. Lip smacking, with big, solid tannins gripping and lovely vivacious acidity. Needs a little more time, but excellent. £25.00, £20.00. 92/100

Frescobaldi (Italy) Montesodi Chianti Rufina 2003
Much more tightly wound, glossy dark fruit. There is definite spice and tobacco, but wrapped around smoky, silky, ripe black cherry and damson. Ripe, full palate too, with lots of fruit, great depths of plum and chocolate, and an expansive but quite decisive framework of tannins and crisp cherry acidity. Beautifully sophisticated stuff. £30.00, £24.00. 93/100

KC (South Africa) Shiraz 2004
Smoky, earthy, lots of spice and pepper, with a lovely core of black fruit. The palate shows really well, with blackcurrant and plum flooding the tongue, a warm, cedary oak and nice structure. Delicious. £8.49. 87/100

Kangarilla Road (Australia) Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Ripe, minty, super ripe and glossy cassis fruit. The palate has lots of glossy, tight, fully formed fruit with a rounded tannin and acid framework. Not complex, but tasty. £9.99, £8.99. 87/100

Wakefield (Australia) St Andrews Cabernet Sauvignon 2001
Nicely gamy, with a bloody edge to plush, ripe black fruit. Attractive. Soft and very plush on the palate, with absolutely loads of sweet, ripe fruit, and a big dark, chocolaty ripeness to the structure. Huge, but balanced and delicious. £19.99. 91/100

Vasse Felix (Australia) Adams Road Cabernet Merlot 2003
Plenty of ripeness and cherry and plum richness, with a mulberry fullness. Lovely sweet, bloody, fine fruit and sweetness. Lovely quality here. £9.99, £8.99. 88/100

Yering Station (Australia) Shiraz Viognier 2005
Quite perfumed and floral, but a nice schisty dark fruit quality too. On the palate the racy, crisp, but chocolaty Shiraz dominates, with fine tannins and a lovely subtly and balance. £6.99, £5.99. 88/100

McGuigan (Australia) Signature Shiraz 2005
Quite plummy and ripe, with a broad, softly fruity character. The palate is similarly soft and sweet, with plenty of black fruit and gentle easy drinking structure with spice in the finish. £6.99, £4.99. 86/100

Kangarilla Road (Australia) Shiraz 2003
Essence of black pastille fruit, with lovely purity and richness. The palate has plenty of sweet, ripe, mouthfilling black fruit that has depth and softness, though there is a nice peppery background and good structure beneath. Stays sweet and pure, and very nicely balanced. £9.99, £8.99. 88/100

Ainsworth & Snelson (Australia) Barossa Shiraz 2002
Much lighter on the nose, with pepper and lighter raspberry edge to the fruit. This has lots of fresh, sweet, very nicely defined fruit on the palate with a lightness and raciness. A less plush style, but beautifully composed. £9.99. 88/100

Petaluma (Australia) Shiraz 2002
Dark, earthy, carries more schisty character with spicy black fruit. Quite light on the palate, with good fruit sweetness and an elegant, cool structure. Perhaps on the slightly underpowered side of elegant, but very lovely, classy and drinkable. Very good indeed. £19.99. 89/100

Errazuriz (Chile) Pinot Noir 2005
Earthy, juicy, nice herb-tinged rosemary and dill notes to solid cherry fruit. Very attractive, with some woodsmoke in the background. Fine soft palate too, with an elegant quality of fruit before a developing chocolaty richness of tannins. Nice balance. £9.99. 87/100

Adobe (Chile) Merlot 2004
Big, spicy and ripe, with lots of dense plum and chocolate aromatics. Bags of sweetness on the palate - a plush, solid core of fruit, with a spice and tobacco background and nice balance. £6.25, £4.99. 87/100

Concha y Toro (Chile) Winemaker's Lot Merlot 2004
A lot of vanillin, marzipanny new American oak on the nose, with very ripe blackberry fruit and mint chocolate. Ripe, silky black fruit floods the palate, with a nice dark stripe of tannins and crisp-edged cherry acidity freshening the finish. £8.49, £6.79. 88/100

Vistasur (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Dark, quite meaty nose with a touch of beefstock and plenty of black fruit. The palate has very fine sweetness and a bloody ripeness of fruit. Lovely dark, dramatic, juicy Cabernet with plenty of spice and weight at the price. £4.75, £3.80. 87/100

Yali (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2004
Composed, tight, focused black fruit with lots of blackcurrant and spice. Very attractive palate, with a hint of fudge and chocolate to solid, sweet fruit and a bitter plumskin grip of tannins and savoury acidity. £5.99/£4.79. 87/100

Concha y Toro (Chile) Winemaker's Lot Syrah 2005
Refined, racy, schist, pepper and elegantly spicy nose with plenty of tight black fruit. Palate delivers more of the same, with a great deal of poise to the juicy, fine black fruit and finely wrought tannic structure. Lovely spicy wine. £8.49, £6.79. 87/100

Concha y Toro (Chile) Terrunyo Shiraz 2004
Meaty, big, dark, muscular structure. Brooding, dark black fruits. Lots of weight and the oak a bit raw on the mid-palate at present, but this has lovely concentration and great length. £10.99, £8.79. 89/100

Carmen (Chile) Winemaker's Reserve 2001
Elegant, cedary, blue/black fruit with a touch of Mocha. There is really nice fruit on the palate, with a fantastic black fruitedness, plenty of depth and plush, plummy structure and fine acidity. Drinking well now, and very delicious. £14.99, £11.99. 91/100

Esperanza (Argentina) Merlot 2004
Quite light cherryish fruit, moving on to a dry, bright, if slightly pruney palate. £3.99, £3.69. 82/100

Gravel Bed (California) Zinfandel 2005
Bright, juicy if slightly anonymous fruit. Doesn't do much for me on the palate, with decent fruit and spice and a bit of elegance. £5.99, £4.99. 85/100

Bonterra (California) Zinfandel 2004
Spice, peppery, with dry, firm black fruit and a certain leathery, but very solid. Very good fruit with more depth than the Gravel Bed. £8.99, £7.49. 87/100

Seghesio (California) Old Vine Zinfandel 2002
Huge, Porty, lovely richness, with a fine full-bodied richness and plush, velvety richness. Lovely weight and fine fruit here despite the alcohol and weight. Lovely juicy stuff. Excellent. £25.00. 91/100

See also part I - 75 sparkling and white wines