Snowdrops may well have been sighted, but the February freeze seems to be enveloping us and thus it seemed an opportune moment to sample some of Majestic’s winter selections.
Majestic’s Chichester warehouse is always a joy to visit as knowledgeable and extremely affable staff, afforded the appellation of wine gurus, are happy to advise and sample wine with customers.
One suggestion I followed was that of an unusual mix of two grape varieties in the form of a Symbiose Piquepoul Sauvignon Blanc ‘Cuvée Florence’ 2016 Côtes de Thau on offer at £7.49 if one of six bottles as is the Majestic way.
Symbiose means harmony between two elements and this wine manifestly delivers, being a lovely fusion of two grapes with green notes of the Sauvignon Blanc added to the lightness of touch of Piquepoul.
Dry and fruity with tropical fruits on the palate, it displays punchy expressions of lime and crisp sharp citrus and is full of flavour and would pair well with a dish like seafood risotto.
Next, two other white wines on offer for an outlay of £9.99 caught my eye, beginning with the Louis Jadot 2016 Mâcon-Villages ‘Les Roches Blanches’. Louis Jadot has been winemaking since 1859 and the name is synonymous with quality and this Southern Burgundian Chardonnay is decidedly soft, slightly creamy with crisp apple characters and a hint of lemon fruit.
Vinified in stainless steel tanks in order to extract the maximum floral and fruity aromas, this finely balanced unoaked wine should be drunk chilled and young!
Idem The King’s Favour 2016 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from much-lauded winemaker Brent Marris of noble heritage is a mere snip at the offer price and is precise, yet powerful with complex aromas of blackcurrant and passionfruit and mineral highlights.
Lime and grapefruit zest characterise this beautifully balanced wine along with lemongrass and gooseberry rendering it a wine of Sancerre-style elegance and an ideal accompaniment to fresh oysters or delicate white fish. A great buy at this price!
As an advocate of Rioja Reserva as an underrated and especially good buy, I was intrigued to compare a younger Rioja Crianza with a Rioja Reserva from the same makers.
The 2014 Cune Rioja Crianza at an offer price of £7.49 proved to be nicely balanced, medium-bodied with a red berry aroma and hints of chocolate, coffee and liquorice.
Fresh Crianza matches well with Tapas and a year in American and French oak casks creates a lightish red with wood, vanilla, forest fruit and spice and a most agreeable peppery finish.
Dry, but fruity, hints of tobacco make this an eminently quaffable Rioja which I wholeheartedly commend to you! For an offer price of £9.99, the Cune Rioja Reserva of 2013 vintage has a toasty nose and exudes dark fruits, vanilla, plum and subtle spice with a lingering finish – however, on a personal note, value for money would lead me to select the Crianza!
My final red selection was that of a 2015 Paso Creek Cabernet Sauvignon of Californian provenance on offer at £14.99. A cherry and pepper bouquet leads to dark fruit, spice, smokiness and well-blended oak and a pleasingly dry finish and this wine is earthy and bold and improves as it opens fully – one worth decanting!
One to pair with lasagne or Moroccan lamb tagine and a wine worthy of your attention. A bientôt!