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Filling up at Majestic
In this week’s Tipping’s Tipples, MIKE TIPPING fills up at Majestic.
I REMEMBER once filling up at Majestic Wine, with five gallons of four star. I was driving a Renault 5. York’s branch of Majestic was then a petrol station and I got change from a £10 note.
These days £10 doesn’t go so far but filling up at Majestic is much more interesting than filling up with fuel. The chain has added a number of new wines to its spring list, including the following quartet.
Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot 2007 is a real treat, made with fruit from vineyards in the Columbia Valley, Washington state. Rich, smooth and balanced, with pronounced black cherry flavours, plums too, dark chocolate and spice. At less than a tenner a bottle, this wine is punching well above its weight.
There’s also an interesting red, from Spain, produced from a grape you may not be familiar with.
Pizarras de Otero 2010, Bierzo, is made from the mencia grape, which is grown widely in the north west of the country. Earthy and very gluggable, it is affordable stuff, made for early drinking.
Hinting at cherry fruit, under-ripe strawberry, violets, cocoa, with mineral notes on the finish, you could try it with roast lamb or pork.
Or head to the Languedoc, in the south of France, and Domaine La Borie Blanche Terroirs d’Altitude 2007, Minervois La Livinière. This is a spicy, savoury red, made with 70 percent syrah, brimming with cherry and berry fruit flavours, chocolate and black pepper.
Lastly, if you’re after a white wine with character, try Crès Ricards Marsanne Roussanne 2011 Pays d’Oc from the Jean-Claude Mas stable.
A pleasant change from your usual sauvignon or chardonnay, this is a blend of the white Rhône varietals, marsanne, roussanne and viognier. It has fresh, long flavours of pear, apple and citrus, with mineral and herbal notes too.
• Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot 2007, buy two bottles for £9.99 each at Majestic 19/20.
• Pizarras de Otero 2010, Bierzo, buy two bottles for £6.99 each at Majestic 18/20.
• Domaine La Borie Blanche Terroirs d’Altitude 2007, Minervois La Livinière, buy two bottles for £7.99 each at Majestic 17/20.
• Crès Ricards Marsanne Roussanne 2011, Pays d’Oc, buy two bottles for £7.99 each at Majestic 18/20.