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Autumn promotions at Majestic

by Tom Cannavan, 09/13

UK retailer Majestic, with a thriving online business and now over 190 stores from Aberdeen to Exeter, has cemented its position with UK wine lovers at least partly on its constantly revolving promotions where whole countries, regions or wine styles are substantially discounted. Their current set of promotions runs through until October 28th 2013, so here's a quick run-down on a dozen good buys from my recent sampling over 70 wines.

Please note that promotional prices listed below are generally available if buying two bottles in English stores and online, but are available to Scottish customers of Majestic on single bottles. A six bottle minimum purchase applies in all stores and online.

white wines

Villemarin, Picpoul de Pinet 2012, France
Fresh, grassy, herby and bright, this has real punch and vigour, the palate streaked with lemon and lime, a tart and invigorating herbal edged to the acidity that makes this sharp and dry, meaning it's food-matching credentials are all intact. A good example at a very good offer price. 87/100. £7.99, on offer at £6.99, Majestic.

Viñas del Vero, Gewurztraminer 2012, Spain
Certainly perfumed and exotic as Gewurz should be, but as always the intelligent folk at Viñas del Vero in Somontano leave plenty of crispness and crunch on the palate to offset the hint of residual sugar sweetness and abundant fruity character. 87-88/100. £9.99, on offer at £7.99, Majestic.

Union des Viticulteurs de Chablis, Petit Chablis 2011, France
There's an edge of grassiness, of pea shoots too, in an obviously early-picked style. On the palate a big rush of lemony, fresh, spring water freshness (in a good way) with a nice balance of acidity into a long, fine finish. Classy and seafood friendly. 88/100. £11.99, on offer at £9.99, Majestic

Peter Lehmann, Eden Valley Chardonnay 2012, Australia
Fermented in French oak barrels, this has lovely nuttiness, a big bowl of almonds and hazelnut, with plenty of juicy apple and hints of toast, but it is direct and appealing. The palate has an alert juiciness; there's nothing cloying or overdone here, the squirting lemon juiciness of the acidity and cool apple crunch of the fruit are lovely, just a little spice and modest vanilla in the finish. 88-89/100. £12.49, on offer at £9.99, Majestic.

Giesen Brothers, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012, New Zealand
Subtle, concentrated and a little closed, but typical herbaceousness comes through, this stays an restrained affair all round, with a sense of cool fruit and mineral precision. The palate has delicious and vivacious personality: fresh squeezed lime, a shot of tequila and a long, shimmering finish. Terrific example of the style. 90/100. £14.99, on offer at £11.99, Majestic.

Roger Neveu, Sancerre 'Clos des Bouffants' 2012, France
Fresher and racier than the delicious Pouilly-Fumé from Jean Vincent also shown, there's a little green and herbaceous note, but plenty of cool apple fruit and just a hint of honey. Punchier in the mouth, with a grippy, racy zestiness, good length and plenty of intensity to the flavour. 89-90/100. £14.99, on offer at £12.99, Majestic.

rosé and red wines

La Grille, Pinot Noir Rosé 2012, France
A pale salmon pink 'Vin de France' wine with a very attractive nose, a touch of spice and pepper, a touch of Pinot truffle and very nice strawberry beneath. Crisp, bone dry and well defined on the palate, the redcurrant and cranberry dry fruit is food friendly and appealing. 87/100. £7.99 on offer at £6.99, Majestic.

Pizarras de Otero, Bierzo 2012, Spain
Lovely directness of fruit here: liquorice and a touch of leafy endive and dark herbs, a touch of roasted chestnut to the berry fruit. The palate has a similar, dry, juicy directness: the fruit is savoury and salty, a gamy edge to the berries in a distinctive, mouth-filling and relatively complex wine for its £6.99 offer price. 87/100. £8.74 on offer at £6.99, Majestic.

Nicolas Potel, Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2011, France
Herbs, dry twigs and a touch of creaminess on the nose, this Pinot has little hints of woodland bracken and truffle. The palate has a nice liquorice concentration, taut acidity and a dry cranberry fruit. Touches of spice too in a savoury, straightforward but appealing style. The offer price makes this attractive. 87/100. £12.99 on offer at £8.99, Majestic.

La Grange des Combes, St Chinian 2011, France
50% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, this is hedonistic, creamy, plush and full-fruited stuff, a beguiling wine from first sniff that adds subtle spices and hints of more under-ripe, herbaceous character into an intriguing mix. On the palate it has rich and savoury fruit, a lovely sense of earthiness and grip, with tight tannin structure and a juicy acid balance. 89/100. £11.99 on offer at £9.99, Majestic.

De Forville, Barbera d'Alba delle Vigne Vecchie 2012, Italy
Gorgeous nose: elegant, briary, soft undergrowth notes against the soft raspberry fruit, infused with tobacco and green olive. The palate has loads of sweet berry fruit; creamily fresh and dense, this really does have a big bumper bag of personality, suffused with smokiness amongst the massive ripeness. Delightful and distinctive. 90/100. £13.49 on offer at £10.99, Majestic.

Conde de San Cristobal, Ribera del Duero 2010, Spain
80% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 12 months in American, French and Russian oak barrels. It has a lifted, smoky and incense note that is lovely. Plenty of bold black fruit, plenty of depth and tobacco-touched richness, but lovely style and inviting ripeness and warmth. The palate has a really juicy, vital, keen edge: cherry and plum skin tartness is racy and fine, scything through the chocolate richness of tannins and oak. Delicious, big, but not clumsy. 90/100. £17.49 on offer at £13.99, Majestic.