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tasting the range at Majestic

by Tom Cannavan, 06/05

This was a tasting of wines available in Majestic Wine Warehouses, the UK's "by the case" specialist. Majestic have branches across the UK and an excellent web site with free delivery from your nearest store. Some of these wines will also be available in other retailers both in the UK and abroad.

White

Terredavino (Italy) Gavi 2003
Lovely, open floral nose with notes of acacia and bright, focused fruit. Racy, elegant, very crisp citrus fruit with a nice deg of tropical mango. Lovely acidity, very fresh and well balanced. £4.99

Terre da Vina (Italy) Roero Arneis 2004
Rather more closed, with sherbetty, salty notes and a delicate floral and pear fruit. Lots of grapefruity acidity keeps this very fresh, with a slightly oatmeally richness and core of crisp lemon fruit. £5.99

Brico Battistina (Italy) Gavi DOCG 2004
Quite succulent, very lightly honeyed character with very bold, juicy nectarine and a pear skin quality. The palate is rich and has a full texture, with masses of limpid, ripe pear fruit and a gentle but persistent acidity. Could perhaps just use a little more crispness, but sweet-edged and delicious. £7.99

Jean-Charles Borgnat (France) Quincy 2004
lovely gooseberry and elderflower, grassy pungency on the nose. The palate has quite a racy lemon core, with bold, crunchy herbal notes and a gooseberry sharpness, before a very nice tangy grapefruit and lime zest finish. Excellent at the price. £7.49

Domaine Gérard Fiou (France) Sancerre 2004
Very pungent elderflower and gooseberry fruit, but there's an edge of ripe pear and pear-drop, with a little suggestion of a more tropical fruit character. Very crisp, clean and racy on the palate with a core of orchard fruits that is very pure and focused through the mid-palate, with melon and a tangy apple acidity on the finish. £8.99

Fournier (France) Pouilly-Fumé Les Rabichottes 2004
There's a slight dullness about the nose of this wine though it has apple and pear fruit notes and a little gooseberry crunch. That slight flatness carries on to a slightly dull palate, with decent, quite pungent grassy fruit, but not enough zest and vibrancy. £8.49

Grebet (France) Pouilly-Fumé Domaines des Rabichattes 2004
Passionfruit and touches of more pungent gooseberry and herbal nuances. Quite rounded and rich. On the palate there's a sweet edge of ripeness to the fruit, then a big, powerful core of waxy, dry lemony acidity powers through. A powerful style, with plenty of chewy, vibrant fruit and acidity. £9.99

Alphonse Mellot (France) Sancerre Cuvée Edmond 2001
Gorgeous, sweet, honeyed and fruity nose with beautifully limpid fruit quality and intense, tropical notes of mango and delicate, peach-skin. There is also a light, floral edge to this. The palate delivers lots of ripe, sweet, very intense fruit that has a massive undertow of dry, pith lemon acidity but really fine, bright fruit and those hints of a honeyed, richer core. Beautiful stuff. £19.99

Réserve des Vignerons (France) Saumur Blanc 2004
Very nice gooseberry and lightly herbal nose with little nuances of asparagus and nettles. A hint of flattering sweetness as it strikes the palate, then a rush of crisp, crunchy gooseberry fruit and fat, but decisive lemony acidity pushes through. Well-balanced and very good value. £4.99

Bourillon-Dorléans (France) Coulée d'Argent Vouvray Sec 2004
There's a herbal, dry grass and slightly leafy note to this, with a hint of green apple fruit. On the palate it is quite mouthfilling, with a hint of sweetness then a core of crisp pear fruit and lemon acidity. Well-balanced and good fruit, though pretty simple and straightforward at the price. £7.49

Cuvée de Richard (France) Blanc 2004
Crisp, clean confectionery and pear-drop nose with pleasing, quite delicate fruit. The palate delivers a muted, slightly underpowered, but very pleasant peachy fruit with crisp apple acidity and decent length. An old favourite that is still very good value for money. £3.05

Les Marquières (France) Blanc 2004
Slightly neutral with a lemony fruit and on to a similarly neutral palate with some pleasant fruit but nothing to get excited about. £3.49

Mas Las Cabes (France) Muscat Sec 2004
Very seductive floral and musky, perfumed nose with spices and exotic fruit notes. The palate has a big, dry, lemon pith and cool, underripe pear and melon fruit character with a dry, grapefruity acidity. Very delicious stuff for sipping, but tough to find a food match. £6.49

Domaine de Massia (France) Chardonnay 2004
Toffeed and rich, there is honey and a ripe, sweet apple and nutty character. There is quite bold, mouthfilling fruit on the palate, with notes of apple and a slightly herbal note, then a dry apple acidity. This finishes quite tangy and crisp, and is a well-made wine. £5.99

Louis Latour (France) Grand Ardèche Chardonnay 2002
There's a pleasant nutty, oatmeally richness here, with honey and delicate peach and apricot aroma. On the palate it has crisp orchard fruits and a rich, mouthfilling texture. The charry oak notes fill in on the finish, but then a good quality of quite mineral acidity freshens the picture. £7.49

Domaine Vieux Manoir de Maransan (France) Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2004
There's a honey and quite rich, floral and nectarine skin quality on the nose, and a suggestion of really juicy fruit. On the palate it is quite tangy and orangy, with plenty of clean, fruity orange fruit and a dry, green apple acidity. Very pleasant, even if palate doesn't quite deliver on promise of the nose. £4.99

Château d'Aquéria (France) Lirac Blanc 2004
Slightly smoky, slightly musky quality with a sense of richness and apricot kernel nuttiness. On the palate there's a sweet-edge to a full, copious fruit quality with lots of ripe pear, hints of peachiness and a good, driving core of fruit. Very nice balance, with the sweet fruit and rich texture cut by a very crisp, clean lemon acidity. Very good indeed. £7.99

Château du Cray (France) Bourgogne Aligoté 2003
Fairly flat on the nose, with a touch of herbs and nettle and hint of something mineral. The palate has a cool, clean, white fruit dryness with crisp and apple and pear, if a touch lean. It is a pleasant, sharp style that needs food or some cassis, and is perhaps a touch dry, but very pleasant. £5.99

Louis Latour (France) Mâcon Villages 2003
Creamy, honeyed and gently nutty nose of honeysuckle and mostly nutty apple fruit. Rounded and quite clean on the palate, with a nice solid core of apple fruit with hints of riper pear and a precise, well balanced finish with more of that gently honeyed oak quality and clean mineral acidity. No fireworks, but a very solid white Burgundy at a good price. £5.99

La Chablisienne (France) Chablis 1er Cru 'Côte de Léchet' 2001
Lovely nose; masses of mineral and herbal, gently nutty and nettly fruit but also developing a honeyed edge. The palate is clean, with a powerful core of quite orangy, citrus fruit and a dry, crisp apple character. The lemony acidity plays nicely against the in-filling honey and nutty, maturing qualities of the finish. Maturing, very good indeed. £10.99

Cordier (France) Mâcon-Milly-Lamartine "Le Verdat" 2004
Nutty, rich, nettly wine with a strong minerality and quite a pungent, leafy quality. On the palate there is a sweetness and richness to the fruit, with a sweet vanillin edge to very fat, ripe lemon and lime flavours and an emerging honey and sweet caramel qualities. Rich and full of character. £9.99

Cordier (France) Macon-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes 2004
There's a fine caramel and rounded, honeysuckle fruit with a boldness and ripe, sweet, very concentrated fruit quality. Very tangy on the palate. Lots of dry, apply crunchy fruit and a bold, quite fat and waxy lemon acidity that melds with sweet oak and a spiciness in a long finish. Very good/very good indeed. £10.99

Cordier (France) Viré-Clessé "les Perrières" Vieilles Vignes 2004
Very honeyed, with a sweet overlay of vanilla on peachy, floral-edged, sweet fruit. There's a nuttiness here and an acacia-edged ,peach-kernel quality, and a nice underlying minerality. Crisp, clean, very delicate on the palate with a lovely ripeness of fruit and taut minerality. This is slightly lighter on the palate than I may have guessed, but a warmth and a richness bolsters the finish and it becomes quite spicy. Very good indeed. £15.99

Cordier (France) Pouilly-Fuissé 'Terroirs Rares' 2004
Bold, expressive, mineral and almost schisty quality here with a nettly, pungent fruit and plenty of power and concentration. On the palate a lovely sweetness, with honeyed, mealy rich texture and a full, ripe pear and juicy nectarine fruitiness. On the palate it has very good concentration and a tangy, rich, full finish with masses of spice and masses of crunchy depth. Excellent. £15.99

Domaine Juillot (France) Mercurey 1er Cru "Clos des Barrault" 2000
Rather a dull, slightly dirty nose with ripe fruit and some interest, with pear fruit and then a really rather dull palate that is a touch sour and lean before a citrussy finish. Moderate. £12.99

Badeur-Mimeur (France) Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc 2002
Lovely suggestion of honeyed sweetness here, with touches of caramel and nutty, creamy, qualities over plush ripe fruit. Crispness and definition here that are missing in the previous wine, with a crisp, quite racy palate of medium body with more of that honeyed, almost minty ripeness and gently nutty oak filling out the finish. Purity of sweet, but crisp fruit persists in a very nice wine. £19.99

Badeur-Mimeur (France) Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos-St-Jean 2002
Honey and a gently herbal quality dominate here, with little nuances of toffee and a fairly restrained quality of fruit that suggests melon and ripe pear. Good concentration on the palate, with a lemon-sherbet tang to a deeper, pure, ripe apple and pear fruit quality that is pure an solid through the mid-palate. Into the finish that honeyed and toffeed quality of sweet fruit and oak plays against a good mineral acidity. This is worth cellaring too. £25.00

Louis Latour (France) Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2002
Opulent on the nose, with a caramel and deeply honeyed character, hints of marmalade and crisp, mineral and apple notes blend with a deep, juicy nectarine quality of fruit. That complexity of the nose isn't quite borne out on the palate, where a good, solid, pure core of orchard fruit is balanced by a fine lemon and mineral acidity and those fine, nutty and honeyed oak notes. Refined, and very good quality, but perhaps just lacking that final degree of complexity. Excellent nevertheless. £50.00

Quinta de Azevedo (Portugal) Vinho Verde 2004
Zingy, bright, sherbetty nose with masses of lemon and floral zestiness and delicate perfume. Slight spritz on the palate, with a flood of pear-drop, confectionery fruit and a big core of lemon and lemony acidity that keeps it crisp and tangy. Very zesty and fun. £5.49

Martin Codax (Spain) Albariño 2004, Rias Baixas
Bright, focused, pear and sherbet notes with a little hint of something herbal and a touch of minerality. Lots of crisp, dashing pear and crunchy green apple fruit on the palate. There's a really zesty, tangy crunch on the palate here, with a flood of lemony acidity but lovely full texture and persistence into a long finish. £8.49

Ermita Veracruz (Spain) Verdejo 2004
Fabulous nose, loaded with vibrant, crunchy nettle and asparagus, leafy tang but also that big, solid, wonderfully lush nectarine and smoky, full almost mango and lychee like topicality. Tangy, vibrant, full-on tangerine and vivid, ripe tropical fruit with all sorts of fleshy mango and pineapple juiciness and depth and a terrifically tangy finish. A real star. £6.99

Buitenverwachting (South Africa) Sauvignon Blanc 2004
This is gently herbaceous with definite notes of asparagus and delicate, leafy qualities. On the palate a good, lemony, zesty fruit core is controlled and quite Sancerre-like in a wine that is balanced and harmonious. £7.99

Vergelegen (South Africa) Chardonnay 2003
Toasty and rich, there's a honeyed quality here that suggests a buttery, pineapple ripeness and also retains a sense of minerality, with a solid, peachy underpinning. The fruit here on the palate is rich and quite mellow, wrapped in a toasty, charry sweet oak, but caramel and toffee also imbue the fruit with its richness and honeyed ripeness. Lovely stuff, with a fine lemon and mineral acidity that really freshens and extends the finish. Great value. £7.99

Southbank Estate (New Zealand) Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Lovely pungent Marlborough fruit, though has a delicate, crisp quality with touches of asparagus and green, gently herbal green bean quality. The palate is very full and pungent, with quite plump, racy passionfruit and greengage fruit and great tangy core of grapefruity acidity. Superb quality at the discount price of £5.99. £6.99

Fairleigh Estate (New Zealand) Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Quiet honeyed and ripe on the nose rather than overtly pungent and green, with nettly hints and a firm orchard fruit quality. The palate has lovely, sweet fruitiness and the pear and very ripe melon and apple fruit is joined by a richness of mango and lychee and then a fine, racy acidity. The texture is quite rich, and there's an underlying sweetness to this, with a honeyed texture running through. Very composed and very harmonious. £6.99

Villa Maria (New Zealand) Peter Jackson Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Terrifically pungent, OTT asparagus and flinty, pungent, nettle and super-rich with lots of super-sweetness, toffee and vivid greengage and gooseberry fruit, with a great suggestion of unctuous, tropicality beneath. The palate is massively unctuous and sweet, with a huge core of peachy, perfumed, almost musky fruit with masses of sweetness and great length. A very powerful and showy wine, but lovers of that style should not miss it. £10.99

Villa Maria (New Zealand) Private Bin Riesling 2004
Sweet, clean, ripe but very pure and focused pear and gently floral fruit. The palate has a sherbetty lime quality, with medium body and a dry, tangy lemon and lemon pith finish. Well balanced. £6.99

Fairleigh Estate (New Zealand) Riesling 2004
Much more developed waxiness here, with paraffin qualities and a leafy, pungent lime and pear-skin fruit. Good sweetness on the fruit, with a sweet edge and then a ripe pear and lemony quality, with a hint of unctuousness and a toffeed sweetness on the finish. Good lemon acidity sharpens an unctuous picture of a very attractive wine. £7.99

Knappstein (Australia) Hand Picked Riesling 2003
A gentle pungent, paraffin note here, with fine fruit, though slightly underpowered compared to the fairleigh perhaps, though it is elegant and sweet-edged, with a crisp, harmonious finish. Very good indeed. £6.99

Coldridge Estate (Australia) Chardonnay 2004
Nice mealy, honeyed quality here with obvious fruit ripeness. There's a pungent, quite nettly touch to a sweet core of peachy fruit. Cool and collected o the palate, there is a good impression of ripe, clean, but very sweet apple and pear fruit that is quite concentrated and powerful , staying clean and focused though the mid-palate before a gently toffeed, sweet oak wraps the finish. Balanced though, with decent acidity that is orangy. Lovely inexpensive stuff. £3.79

Yering (Australia) Frog Chardonnay 2003
Nice sense of restraint here, with a creamy, quite honeyed edge of nutty, toffee notes and a ripe, sweet pear fruit. The palate has a racy elegance, with plenty of crisp, focused white fruit and a fine core of acidity that has a luscious quality, but clean, limpid acidity that plays against spice and gentle toffee in the finish. Very good indeed. £6.99

Sticks (Australia) Chardonnay 2003
Very nutty, rich, spice and toast, with a really honeyed, sweet quality. Fruit is quite subdued, with a gently ripe, honeyed tone and a nice lick of acidity, but perhaps a touch flat, though a richness and sweetness does develop on the finish. £7.99

Yering Station (Australia) Chardonnay 2003
Creamy, cashew nut and toffee on the nose, with lots of sweet and rich French oak and a mealy quality of fruit. On the palate there is a nice herb and crisp, nettly edge to this before that sweet core of fruit begins to dominate, pushing through the mid-palate with lots of concentration and style. A warming, nutty and toasty finish with spice and a lean citrus acidity adds balance, in a long, very fine wine. £9.99

Yering Station (Australia) M.V.R 2004
Very aromatic and pretty Masrsanne, Roussanne and Viognier blend, with blossom and peach, a lovely bloom of nectarine and hints of mango and sweet, smoky exotic notes. The palate is quite light- to medium-bodied, with a deal of racy, crisp, lemon-edged and sherbetty fruit, with a firm Asian pear fruity crunch and big, shimmering core of lemon acidity. Long and tangy, and very nice stuff. £9.99

Argento (Argentina) Pinot Grigio 2004
Ripe, quite full with notes of buttery, sweet fruit and little herbal notes. Sweet-edged, very pleasant fruit, with a developing richness and quite a full, off-dry palate that has plenty of pear and apple fruit, a touch of tropical, peachy weight and good acidity. £4.99

Finca Las Moras (Argentina) Viognier 2004
Pear drops and clean, ripe, pear fruitiness dominate here, with a rounded nose and touches of caramel. This has a lovely punchy palate, where vivid, crisply toned but lush fruit fills out through the mid-palate with a weight of peach and nectarine, before a very tangy, juicy orangy acidity into the finish. Not overblown, with lovely vibrancy and crunch. £4.99

Montes (Chile) Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2004
Nicely leafy, herbal, gooseberry and elderflower aromas. The palate has quite a vibrant, punchy quality of fruit, with greengage and crunchy, tangy gooseberry flavours and a nice rich mouthfeel. Very good value with its long, tangy finish and persistent fruit. £5.59

Santa Rita (Chile) Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2004
A slightly gentler herbaceousness here, with a sweet, candied note joining nettle and subtle asparagus. On the palate there is fine fruit sweetness, and still plenty of verve, with crisp gooseberry and underripe pear dryness undercutting a more tropical, pineapply sweetness of fruit. Lovely acid balance here in a characterful wine. £6.99


Casillero del Diablo (Chile) Chardonnay 2004 Quite a toasty, whisky barrel note here with a nicely nutty, toffeed character coming through. Buttery and rich, there is plenty of unctuous ripe fruit that has a sweet edge and melds into a lemony, slightly mineral finish. Commercial, quite sweet, but delicious. £4.99

Cono Sur (Chile) Viognier 2004
Very sweet and floral-edged, pure, bright pear fruit. The palate is medium-bodied and quite fragrant, with a nice sour grapefruity tang elevating the delicate, musky fruit. Crisp and delicious and not overblown. £4.99

Cono Sur (Chile) Gewurztraminer 2004
Musky, floral and lychee scented with Nivea cream and old rose notes; very Gewurtz. The palate has a lovely creamy elegance of texture, with a sweet, peach blossom softness of fruit. A lovely tang of grapefruit and gently pithy acidity begins to bite in the finish, in an impressive and balanced Gewurtz. £5.49

Sonoma Creek (California) Chardonnay 2004
Huge, dominating Jack Daniels nose with hugely nutty, deep, toasty notes over plush fruit. The palate has a decent core of cool melon and ripe pear fruit with a gentle but slightly angular acidity. The oak is suppressed on the finish, which is quite long and harmonious. £7.99

Margarethenhof Estate (Germany) Elbing Trocken 2004
Very delicate, peach blossom and delicate white flower nose. The palate is a touch neutral and seems a little dilute, with a gentle pear fruitiness and an edge of off-dry sweetness. A citrussy finish is poised and this is nicely sippable, if not terribly exciting. £5.99

Margarethenhof Estate (Germany) Grauburgunder Classic 2004
Slightly more pungent, with a little schisty, slaty aspect and a smokiness. On the palate really very zesty - almost a suggestion of the gentlest spritz - with crunchy, crisp greengage and hard, firm pear fruit. A lovely vibrant acidity sweeps through here, with crunchy pear and dry lemon zest on the finish and a tingle of spice in a very full and explosive style. Very good indeed. £6.99

Trierer Deutschherrenhof (Germany) Riesling Kabinett 2002
Nicely pungent, with a slightly nettly crunch, though a little kerosene note peaks through. Quite a voluptuous sweetness, very downy and peachy, with a gentle, clean boiled sweet and sour plum acidity. Very nicely balanced and lovely summer in the garden wine. Quite good length. £5.99

Domaine Bott-Geyl (France, Alsace) Pinot d'Alsace 2002
Quite deep, spicy and rich on the nose, with a suggestion of smokiness and caramel and a deep, juicy nectarine fruitiness. Rounded, quite fleshy and opulent palate, with a full texture and a smoky, very seductive mid-palate. Very full, clean and well-balanced. £7.99

Paul Zinck (Alsace) Gewürztraminer Grand Cru Eichberg 2002
Really pungent, aromatic, bacon-fat and floral, lychee scents. Quite complex. Rich, sweet, late-harvest pungency with very full. Rich caramelised and orangy flavours. A rich, tangy grapefruit pith acidity dries the finishes and balances the opulence I a very nice wine. £9.99

Rosé

Pinot Grigio Rosé (Italy) 2004
Very delicate pink. Lovely aromatics, with a soft, appealing, sweetly confected edge to pure raspberry fruit. Light and quite delicate on the palate, but there is good fruit and a delicate, dry white fruit acidity that keeps it clean, simple and very shippable. £4.69

Château La Gravette (France) Rosé Minervois 2004
Deeper colour, but a very delicate herbal nose. Slightly underfruited palate perhaps, with crisp, slightly mineral and cherry flavours, but not a lot of punch or verve. £4.69

Château de Flaugergues (France) Rosé La Méjanelle 2004
Very delicate cherry pink. A touch neutral, with a delicate raspberry fruit. Slightly more robust. Powerful, quite full palate but still a touch under fruited though finishes with quite a nice richness. £6.45

Château Guiot (France) Costières de Nîmes Rosé 2004
Very vibrant colour. Vivid cherry and crisp raspberry fruit on the nose, with a touch of minerality/ Palate has a delicate red fruit core that is punchy and quite vibrant as it develops through the mind-palate. Good, clean, quite pithy acidity in a mouth-watering style.

Château d'Aquéria Tavel Rosé 2004
Vivid cherry pink. Nice sense of sweet, caramel-tinged vivid fruit. On the palate quite soft, earthy, very dry fruit. A touch of tannin and a streak of lemony acidity keeps this quite serious and very fresh. Nice long finish. £8.99

Yering Station (Australia) Pinot Noir Rosé 2004
Much sweeter, riper and more “dense” on the nose, with ripe strawberry and deeper rose-hip scents. Nice palate, where depth of fruit is evident, giving quite a robust, earthy and grippy quality before a delicate, Sweet-fruited core and clean acidity. Good style. £9.99

Finca Las Moras (Argentina) Shiraz Rosé 2004
Cherry, rose hip and quite a vinous, dry nose. A little herbal hint too. Lovely juicy fruit on the palate, with sweet strawberry and a full, quite lush red berry richness. Very bold and full this rose, with a beautifully clean, bright, focused acidity and fine length. £4.99

Casillero del Diablo (Chile) Shiraz Rosé 2004
Very vibrant crimson. Slightly caramel notes on the nose, with a deeper cherry note to the fruit and a sweet, plush sense of roundness. Slightly less fruity on the palate than the nose promises, with a clean, crisp acidity. £5.49

Stormhoek (South Africa) Select Rosé 2004
Rather neutral, delicate, but mealy and rounded nose, though not a vibrant fruit quality. Medium-bodied and sweet-edged fruit on the palate, with a rounded, quite generous fruitiness and only a gentle acidity making it a soft, very approachable style. £5.85

Santa Rita (Chile) Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2004
Herbs and a crunchy, slightly briary red fruit quality here, with a cherry core. Lovely ripeness and sweet-edged, full cherry and softer, strawberry fruit. Generous acidity and a depth of flavour make this a rather good, full-flavoured rose. £5.85

Red

Château de Corcelles (France) Brouilly 2004
Deep, vibrant cherry. Rather a silage aspect to the nose, with a slightly fetid quality that I find off-putting. Dry, flat palate does little to inspire. £7.99

Louis Latour (France) Morgon Les Charmes 2003
A really sweet aspect on the nose here, with even a hint of raisins amongst crisp, kirsch-like cherry fruit aromas. Dry, savoury palate, with just glimpses of that fruit sweetness, but a charcoally, mineral quality with big, dense tannins even though the acid structure keeps it quite bright. A powerful, and nicely fruited style. £7.99

Louis Latour (France) Moulin-à-vent Les Michelons 2003
Lovely curranty, slightly caramelised sweetness of red fruits on the nose here. Palate is massively sweet, with a jammy, confected edge but undeniably concentration and sweet-edged ripeness. A tart, sour-edged acidity pushes through on the finish in an impressive, if slightly awkward style with that abrupt acid finish.

Château de Targé (Rhone) Saumur Champigny 2003
Very deep, vivid colour. There is a solidity about this, with an earthy, slightly mineral note to red cherry fruit. Quite earthy on the palate, with a racy black cherry depth playing against a firm, maybe slightly tough tannin structure and balancing acidity. A full-flavoured and concentrated wine. £7.49

Domaine Sarrazin (Burgundy) Bourgogne Rouge 2003
Very rich, impressively concentrated schisty, earthy nose with a sheen of briary, liquoricy fruit and a hint of menthol. Nice ripe, dense cherry fruit at the core. on the palate there is a sweetness to the fruit, and a dark, edgy liquorice quality. It is perhaps a touch weak though the mid palate, before a blast of lemon and cherry acidity sharpens up the finish. Impressive at the price. £7.99

Michel Sarrazin (Burgundy) Bourgogne Côte Chalonnaise "Les Gorgères" 2002
Sweet, soft, gently briary cherry fruit with a delicate raspberry aspect. The palate has nice sweet fruitedness and there's an elegance about this with medium body and crisp mineral finish. Light, but very nicely balanced. £9.99

Domaine Sarrazin (Burgundy) Givry 1er Cru Vieilles Vignes 2003
A very juicy, redcurrant and sweet kirsch-like cherry fruit. There's a slick of sweet, rounded vanilla too and a voluptuous character on the nose. The palate it quite full-bodied and has a smooth texture, and though the sweetness of that fruit doesn't quite power though, there really is a lovely harmony and rounded, supple elegance here. Quite earthy and savoury into the finish, where supple, dry tannins and a gentle cherry acidity balance. £12.99

Domaine Rebourseau (Burgundy) Gevrey Chambertin 1999
There's a reticence about this on the nose, with a gentle harmony about sweet red fruit and a creamy, slightly charry undertone. On the palate it is quite dry, with a slick of briary, dry cherry skin quality and delicate tea-like tannins. Very clean and crisp in the finish, it is not the most voluptuous of Burgundies, but has lovely harmony and balance. Very good indeed. £19.99 St John's Wood fine wine store only

Robert Chevillon (Burgundy) Nuits-St-Georges 1er Cru Les Chaignots 2002
Very impressive nose, where an earthy, brackeny depth of fruit displaying truffle and smoky qualities marries with bold, dark cherry and blackberry fruit. A fine edge of sweetness on the palate has a slightly caramel quality, with a rounded, juicy plum and red cherry core. Supple, with a dry tannic background really filling in quite dense and full, and good acidity. A lovely, powerful but not inelegant style. £28.00, £23.80 on offer St John's Wood fine wine store only.

Cuvée de Richard (France) Red 2004
Delicate, juicy cherry fruit. A little hint of a baked, deeper plum pie quality. On the palate this has a medium body and quite full, rounded, generous cherry and redcurrant fruit. Dry on the finish, this delivers a lot of style and fruit quality for the price. £3.05

Les Marquières Rouge 2004
Very robust, full, luscious blackcurrant fruit is very attractive. Jammy cherry and cassis. Dry, savoury, plum skin and cherry fruit is quite simple and a touch leathery and dry, but who's complaining at the price for a solid delivery of fruit and a fresh, punchy cherry finish. £3.49

Monastier (France) Cabernet Franc 2004
Very deep and dense purple. Slightly dumb but polished, dark, shiny black fruit and a hint of spice. Smooth, polished, sweet-edged fruit that stays dark and dense with a very robust, dry but solid fruity core. A nice plumskin bitter grip on the finish of a stylish wine for the money. Savoury. £4.99

Château Guiot (France) Costières de Nîmes 2004
This adds a cherryish, sweet lift with a floral hint. Little raspberry and currant hints and real sweetness. The palate is bold and very dry with a slightly leathery tough quality that is not unappealing against the dry, inky concentration of black fruit and red cherry. A drying structure of tannins and acidity balances in quite a long finish. £5.29

Domaine La Galine (France) Minervois 2003
A more baked, warmer, cherry and plum pie quality here with sweet, compact red fruits. Rounded and quite deep, this has fruit ripeness and sweetness. A touch of cork on the palate, spoiling my impression of this. £5.99

Mas Las Cabes (France) Côtes du Roussillon 2003
Lovely rounded, full, characterful nose with masses of ripe red fruits and a really glossy blackcurranty fruit sweetness. There's a nice richness and sweetness here. The palate has a real richness and an earthy component that adds to the blackcurrant and rich, full glossy fruit. Lovely body and harmony here and fine length.

Louis Latour (France) Pinot Noir Valmoissine 2001
Quite minty and ripe, with a touch of vegetal, ripe quality with a vaguely herbal, medicinal edge. The palate has a nice quality of fruit, with a schisty mineral element but good fruit quality too. £7.49

Fairleigh Estate (New Zealand) Pinot Noir 2003
Lovely opulent nose, with a creamy, schisty quality and ripe fruit to spare. On the palate the soft, smoky oak quality wraps around sweet redcurrant and cherry fruit. Soft and sweet, this has delicious style. Dark, chocolaty and long.

Quartz Reef (New Zealand) Central Otago Pinot Noir 2003
There is a mineral note here, with a schisty edge to a more opulent, chocolate cherry black fruit. On the palate there is a huge raft of very sweet fruit with a broad-based, opulent fruit quality with black plum, dark chocolate and a cherry lift. Nice creaminess and a touch of chocolate and coffee in the finish. Nice length too. Very good indeed. £15.99

Domaine de la Janasse (Rhône) Terre de Bussière 2003
Schist and a minerality with a tight, curranty nose and crisp fruit. Lovely ripe, crisp, crunchy raspberry and currant fruit with a real depth and a chocolaty note. There is real depth here and a full, silky sweetness. Great little wine. £7.49

Perrin Cairanne (Rhône) Côtes du Rhône Villages "Peyre Blanche" 2003
Sweet, pungent with a crisp, kirsch-like pungent quality. Very bright and powerful and has lots of reserves of sweet, very good quality on the palate. A nice acidity here and a savoury quality that pushes though. Balanced and a very fine wine. £7.99

Perrin Rasteau (Rhône) Côtes du Rhône Villages "L'Andéol" 2003
There's a chocolaty, sweet, berry ripeness to this with a crispness but also a bright fruitiness. Lovely and smooth. The palate has a dry, rich, smooth and dry chocolate quality with mouth-coating tannins and a fine palate with chocolate and a rich berry fruit. Good quality here. £8.99

Laurence Féraud (Rhône) Vacqueyras Séléction 2001
Fine, sweet and dark black fruit with lots of depth and a shiny fruit quality. There's a blue-black depth to the fruit on the nose here and a fine palate that has dry, savoury but very full-flavoured cherry fruit. There is lovely quality and a fine balance here, with a real depth and elegant concentration that has such a core of curranty, deep sweetness playing against firm dark tannins and a cherry acidity. £9.99

Les Vins de Vienne (Rhône) St-Joseph 2003
Finely wrought cherry and briar fruit with a nice hint of a chocolaty, deep black maraschino cherry fruit. On the palate a racy of dry, savoury and lightly leathery cherry skin fruit and dry acidity. Medium-bodied and quite elegant, with a long, lingering finish where the acidity reasserts and creates a creamy tension with the black fruit. Very good indeed. £11.99

Les Vins de Vienne (Rhône) Côte-Rôtie "Les Essartailles" 2003
Dramatically dark, schisty, compact and muscular black fruit on the nose. There's a real sense of dense, dark, dramatic sweetness here, and a really solid black cherry and blackcurrant ripeness. On the palate that smooth, full, very composed and harmonious palate continues, with lots of polished black fruit, svelte, chocolaty tannins and a sweet edge to the fruit before a gentle but beautifully judged acidity. Concentrated and long. Excellent. £25.00

La Serrana (Spain) Tempranillo 2003
A little touch of chocolate to quite a bright cherry fruitedness. Nice depth of fruit. On the palate lots of concentrated, slick fruit with a good solid core and a certain chocolaty texture and sweetness. Drying tannins and a touch of sweetness before balanced acidity completes a great value picture, with spice. £2.99

Monte Nisa (Spain) Merlot 2003
A little briar and a touch of herby, tobacco over solid red cherry and darker, plummy fruit. Savoury and dry, this has fine tannins that add a robust texture to the good, solid black fruit in a wine that is savoury and dense and punches well above its weight. £2.99

De Forville (Italy) Barbera d'Asti DOC 2003
Bright, herbal, slightly medicinal quality with a good crispness and bright fruit profile. Lots of zippy cherry and herbs. The palate has good fruit too: quite warming and rich, and that curt of crisp fruit powers through, with a slightly chocolaty warming background, against smokiness and a firm cherry acidity. Lovely style here, and a savoury, very food friendly but long wine. £9.39

De Forville (Italy) Barbera d'Alba delle Vigne Vecchie 2003
Deep, sonorous, very composed blackcurranty and damson fruit has a lot of smoky, chocolaty depth. Little herbal and bright, cherry touches. ON the palate the fruit is very fine. Cherry skin and plum skin bittersweet quality with a lovely framework of tight, supple tannin and a fine acidity lightening the finish. £9.99

Conte Loredan Gasparini (Italy) Rosso Riva Vecia 2000
Quite open and bright with a nice fruity focus, some good fruit that develops a chocolaty richness and a nice supple ore and ends up very impressive with a lovely harmony and sweet depth. £6.99

Carpineto (Italy) Dogajolo 2003
Deep and sweet, with a hint of briar and earth, but very sonorous deep fruit. Firm-edged black cherry fruit and a charcoally streak of tannin and acidity. Nice balance here and focus and a sense of restraint. Harmonious and rich I the finish hinting at a chocolaty depth. £7.99

Gianni Brunelli (Italy) Brunello di Montalcino 1999
Gorgeous, sweet harmony on the nose, with a massive creamy sweetness of cherry and ripe, summery berries. The palate has a fine silky texture and a really lovely depth and freshness. Cherry acidity and a creamy background of gently coffeeish oak adds substance whilst remaining fresh and vibrant. Long, very good indeed. £25.50

Pio Cesare (Italy) Barolo 2000
Big, coffee and chocolate nose with a layering of sweet, milky coffee and a plush, rich fruit with little notes of roses and a cherry fruit. Lovely harmony here: a lovely dense of precision and depth, with the cherry fruit and touches of chocolate -coated cherry, a bittersweet core of liquorice and fennel, and then that lingering fruit sweetness. £29.00 St John's Wood fine wine store only.

Tagus Creek (Portugal) Syrah/Trincadeira 2004
Very cherryish and bright, with a really fun, sweet, cherry cola and rose hip edge and great suggestion of sweetness. The palate is light and medium bodied, with a bright focus of fruit and a lot of harmony. It dies a little quickly in comparison, but what a nicely composed, elegant wine overall.

Cortes de Cima (Portugal) Chaminé 2003
Much brighter, fuller, and deeper kirsch-like and violet-scented richness. There are notes of clove, spices and exotic notes of camphor and sandalwood in a very complex picture. Plate has a sweet edge that is really gorgeous, with a chocolaty texture and a sense of plush, dark, sleek tannins and a lovely generous cherry acidity. This has bags of personality and style, and is a steal at the price. £6.99

Concha y Toro (Chile) Winemakers Lot Merlot 2004
There is a positively spearminty ripeness of fruit here that is evident on the nose, with ultra-intense, ripe blackcurrant and plum with a base of black chocolate. The palate has masses of glossy, shiny black fruits with a big mocha coffee core and some plummy depth and grip. Acidity and tannins support and lengthen the finish, in a wine of dazzling depth. Truly impressive stuff from arguably the best estate in Chile. £7.99

Yering Station (Australia) Pinot Noir 2002
This wine has a ruby red colour with a lightness about it. The nose has a lovely delicacy of cherry liquorice and raspberry fruit, with fine rose-hip notes and a touch of sweet cedarwood. On the palate there is a lovely balance between full, ripe, quite lush chocolate-tinged berry fruit and that keen, savoury edge of cherry skin and redcurrant, all supported by a toasty, tobacco oak. The mouthfeel is silky and full, and this really persists on the palate, with a lingering finish displaying a gentle, but quite decisive backbone of acids and tannin. Lovely stuff. £9.99

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