As blustery autumn days meld gently into crisp wintry evenings, our vinous tastes tend to turn towards warming whites and hearty reds. Majestic’s autumn-winter range has both in spades.
Keeping the range exciting and affordable
Since its last press tasting in April 2022, some 330 or so new lines have been added across wines, beers and spirits, many of which will be landing in stores in November, just in time for the festive period.
The new additions are spread fairly evenly across price points, but as the nation feels the financial squeeze, drinkers will be pleased to know that half of the top picks below fall into the under-£15 sweet spot.
Scroll down to see Majestic wines tasted and rated
Of great value and drinkability are the new listings in the South African range, which Jack Merrylees, head of content, brand and PR, says they are particularly proud of. South Africa falls under buyer Elizabeth Kelly MW’s remit, who says ‘South Africa has been a real focus for me recently, there’s such quality and a really great feeling in the South African wine industry, along with a focus on sustainability’.
Boekenhoutskloof’s The Wolftrap Grenache Blanc 2022 is an elegant tribute to this lesser-known white Rhône variety, its mild creaminess from extended lees contact making it a good autumn white that will complement roasted squash and sage dishes.
Off the back of a number of trends that the retailer has seen emerging, new listings have targeted French heartlands (as evidenced by the 12 French wines that made the list below), as well as Greek wines, and of course some great additions for Christmas.
Key areas of focus
After a rocky period as part of the Naked Wines group some years ago, Majestic has seen much improvement following a huge range overhaul, which has gained sharper focus thanks to the talent of its buyers.
‘We’ve seen some real breakthrough successes in recent years, and a renewed focus on quality across the Majestic range,’ says Merrylees. ‘For us the emphasis is now on maintaining that. We’ve seen customers really respond well to those changes, with many new and returning Majestic shoppers – some 300,000 – in that time.’
The buyers also reported a 27.4% uplift in sales of organic wines between August 2021 and July 2022, so this might see more organic wines being added to the range too.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, France features heavily in the list below. It includes Maison Antech’s delicate, frothy sparkling from Limoux, a plump and pretty Pays d’Oc Viognier, and some cracking Christmas dinner-worthy reds from the Rhône.
Beyond the hexagon, a selection of really interesting whites feature from Portugal, Italy’s Soave, and the USA’s Washington and New York States. In fact, the Forge Cellars Classique Dry Riesling is a delicious new addition and one of the highest scoring from the latest tasting.
For the red fans, at £22.99 the Domaine des Tourelles, Grand Cuvée Pierre Brun from Lebanon is a belter, snap it up now for a great value Christmas dinner wine, or a match for an earthy autumnal weekend feast.
National Wine Retailer of the Year
Following its success in last year’s Decanter Retailer Awards, Majestic has once again scooped the National Wine Retailer of the year award in 2022.
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 didn’t, however, do as well in the specialist categories as it has done previously, picking up Runner-Up Portugal Specialist and Runner-Up South Africa Specialist. This in itself is positive, however, and shows that the retailer is fast improving its range in these areas. Watch this space.
Top picks from Majestic’s current range:
The wines listed below were tasted at Majestic’s autumn/winter 2022 press tasting, held in London in September.
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).