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Best buys at Majestic this winter

The top picks from Majestic’s current range, perfect for winter drinking.

Majestic continues to go from strength to strength. The company is the UK’s largest specialist wine retailer, with no less than 208 stores. And it has transformed itself since 2019 when it separated from Naked Wines following its sale to Fortress Investment Group.

Physical presence

In the four years since, the company has opened 15 new stores, and is accelerating its store opening programme in a commitment to bricks and mortar. In October the retailer opened two new stores in a week, for the first time in 10 years: its largest store outside London, in Monmouth, Wales; and a store in Chippenham, Wiltshire, four years after its former store in the town was closed down by previous management.

It’s good news for wine lovers who prefer to browse the wine aisles rather than order online. And to do so with expert guidance rather than in most supermarkets, where wine advice is hard to come by. Majestic has always been known for its knowledgeable and passionate staff, who all undergo Wine & Spirit Education Trust training and love nothing more than helping customers discover something new.

Ordering online

Buyers who prefer to shop online can order via the Majestic website, of course. And the retailer has also joined forces with Uber Eats to provide on-demand deliveries – giving customers access to the Majestic wines in currently 177 stores, for delivery in as little as 20 minutes. 

Majestic’s e-commerce sales accounted for more than 20% of revenue in 2022/23, buoyed by the popularity of its Shop Local proposition. This service enables customers to shop the stock available at their local store, in real time, for free collection within four hours (if you order before 3pm) or next-day home delivery.  

National Wine Retailer of the Year

In October, Majestic scooped the National Wine Retailer of the year award in Decanter’s 2023 Retailer Awards (DRA), for the third year running.

Commenting on this win, the DRA judges said: ‘It’s so encouraging to see Majestic getting back to where it belongs as a key player in nationwide UK retail. More shops, revamped wine ranges, charitable endeavours, excellent buyers, the focus on value and sustainability – very impressive.’

The retailer was also voted winner in the Loire Specialist category, and runner-up for Wine Buying Team.

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-six price applies. There is sometimes a considerable difference between the two prices, and the single-bottle prices often seem a little high, 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). 

Scroll down to see Majestic wines tasted & rated

Highlights from the range

The autumn/winter press tasting showcased an eclectic range of wines, including wines from its revamped fine wine collection, and styles that the retailer predicts will be popular this Christmas. 

The line-up of Champagne alternatives was impressive, and included two Crémants that stood out: a Crémant d’Alsace made from the Riesling grape, and a rosé Crémant from Limoux which blends Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Chenin Blanc. Crémant, sparkling wine from French regions made by the traditional method like Champagne but typically at a lower price point, is booming in popularity, and Majestic expects to sell one bottle of Crémant per minute during December. 

There was also a standout range of New World whites on show, both classic styles such as New Zealand’s Craggy Range Sauvigon Blanc and the Vasse Felix Filius Chardonnay from Western Australia, and more offbeat choices including Saint Clair’s Pioneer Block 29 Albariño and the Grand Vin de Stellenbosch Village Viognier from South Africa. South Africa is more commonly associated with Chenin Blanc, but this juicy, stone-fruited Viognier is among several listings of the variety from around the wine world enjoying notable success at Majestic. 

At this time of year thoughts naturally turn to warming reds. If you spot any of Majestic’s excellent value Parcel Series Old Vine Barossa Shiraz in store, snap it up (it’s out of stock online). Otherwise, Boekenhoutskloof’s South African Cabernet is lush and creamy with rich blackcurrant fruit; or those who prefer Old World reds could treat themselves to the excellent 2015-vintage Crozes Hermitage from Domaine de Thalabert. This northern Rhône wine is part of the fine wine range, which also includes a delicious and robust field blend from the Douro, made by Boekenhoutskloof’s winemaker Marc Kent, in a joint venture with Portuguese winemaker Rita Marques.

Chosen by Majestic

New wines in the ‘Chosen by Majestic’ range were also highlighted at the press tasting. Launched in June, ‘Chosen by’ features wines that are sold at a lower price point than retailer’s Definition own-label offering. All wines in the Chosen by Majestic range are available for less than £10 a bottle at mix-six prices. The Definition range definitely offers more excitement and individuality than these more value wines, but there are some decent everyday buys to be found in the range. 

The Côtes du Rhône Villages is a well-made, spicy and full-fruited red that would be perfect for winter weeknight drinking. And the range also include a few attractive whites, recommended previously on Decanter.com. Look out for the fragrant and peppery Gruner Veltliner made by Winzer Krems, and Majestic’s first ever own-label Greek White, made by the Kintonis family, in the Peloponnese. The crisp and aromatic blend of Malagousia, Roditis and Assyrtiko is made with grapes sourced from high-altitude vineyards. The Chosen by Majestic Muscadet is another good-value buy, showing good typicity for the price and perfect to enjoy with shellfish or seafood.

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Top picks from Majestic’s current range:

The 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.

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