Majestic’s latest press tasting showcased an eclectic range of wines, including many that are perfectly suited to summer drinking. More than 60 new lines and parcels were on show, along with new vintages of existing Majestic listings.
Scroll down to see Majestic wines tasted & rated
The retailer is focusing on growth in its wider strategy, with changes to its range and new store openings planned for this year, including a new smaller-format branch in Harpenden, which opened in April.
The dual pricing system on wines remains, whereby higher, single bottle prices apply where customers buy up to five bottles at any one time. When customers buy six or more bottles (any mix of bottles is fine), the lower Mix Any Six price applies. There is sometimes a considerable difference between the two prices, so it really is worth waiting until you want to buy at least six bottles before visiting Majestic (or its website, which operates the same pricing policy).
Chosen by Majestic
At this time of year thoughts invariably turn to lighter styles, and there’s plenty to inspire on that front, including several wines in the retailer’s new Chosen by Majestic range, which launched this June and was previewed at the press tasting.
The range initially features 11 new wines from Europe, that sit at a lower price point than retailer’s existing Definition own-label offering. More wines will be added to the range later this year, including releases from the Southern Hemisphere. The range aims to offer ‘quality wines at everyday low prices to help customers on tighter budgets discover new wines they will love,’ says the retailer.
All wines in the Chosen by Majestic range are suitable for vegans, and available for less than £10 a bottle at mix-six prices. Sustainability has also been at the heart of the sourcing process, with the buying team ensuring that, wherever possible, bottles are lightweight in order to reduce emissions.
Majestic placed customer trends and buying habits at the heart of the decision-making process when curating its new range. At a time when shoppers are buying into more aromatic white wines, with Greek and Austrian wines growing 20% year-on-year so far in 2023/24, the buying team has introduced a fragrant and peppery Gruner Veltliner made by Winzer Krems, a co-operative that Majestic has been working with for five years.
Another exciting new addition is Majestic’s first ever own-label Greek White, made by the Kintonis family, in the Peloponnese. The blend of Malagousia, Roditis and Assyrtiko is made with grapes sourced from high-altitude vineyards, and is a crisp, aromatic wine that is perfect for summer. The Chosen by Majestic Muscadet is another good-value buy, showing good typicity for the price and perfect to enjoy with shellfish or seafood on a balmy summer evening.
Standout wines beyond the new Chosen by Majestic range included the new 2022 vintage of Château d’Estoublon’s Roseblood, an elegant and complex Provence rosé with structure and lovely aromatics. The packaging is elegant, there are some star names behind the launch (the first vintage was 2021), and it’s a must-try for those who are willing to spend £15-£20 on their rosé.
If you favour a fuller, oakier style of white, even in summer, make a beeline for the Rully or Villiera’s old-vine Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc – both spicy, toasty and rich in style. The Chenin Blanc is a limited parcel, so may not be around for long.
Fans of full-bodied reds are also spoiled for choice, with a sweet-fruited Gigondas to savour, a new Ribera del Duero aged in oak for 409 days, a Syrah-dominant blend from talented South African winemaker Marc Kent, and an old-vine Barossa Shiraz made in a modern, super-drinkable style.
Lastly, a shout-out for the 2014-vintage claret from Château Fontesteau – this new wine provides real interest, and tertiary character, at a competitive price.
National Wine Retailer of the Year
Majestic scooped the National Wine Retailer of the year award in Decanter’s 2022 Retailer Awards, for the second year running.
Commenting on this win, the Retailer Awards judges said: ‘Continuing its laudable renaissance, Majestic’s range is once again a joy to peruse, from classics to new-wave bottles. The retailer is supporting diversity initiatives and charity, running tastings, helping recycle corks, and it recently launched a new Wine Club focusing on themed cases four times a year for subscribing members.’
It was also voted Runner-Up in the Portugal Specialist category, and Runner-Up South Africa Specialist. The recommendations below include wines from both countries.
Top picks from Majestic’s current range:
The 30 recommendations that follow are a mix of new wines and new vintages tasted by Amy Wislocki in May 2023 at Majestic’s Spring/Summer 2023 press tasting in London, and wines tasted by the Decanter tastings team at previous press tastings that are still available. All bottle prices are correct at time of publication.
All prices listed below are single-bottle prices. There are savings to be made, sometimes significant, when you buy a minimum of six bottles (any mix). The mix-six prices are given within the individual tasting notes.