Jane MacQuitty is one of the country’s most influential wine writers having written for The Times since 1982. We’re thrilled to announce that Jane has nominated 20 of Majestic’s wines to feature in her Top 100 list this winter, 3 of which are ‘Star Buys’ in their categories! This is quite a scoop and is testament to all the work our buyers have put in to ensure our range offers quality and diversity across all price points.

To browse or buy these wines, please click on the green product links…

Under £6 Winners

Star Buy!
Rueda Blanco 2008, Marqués de Riscal
£7.49 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles (7 week special: 13/11/09 – 04/01/10)

“Gorgeous, thrilling, grapefruit and lime zest-spiked white, underpinned with rich, fat, yellow plum spice, made primarily from the verdejo grape and topped up with viura — the white grape of the Rioja region. Marques de Riscal is one of the great traditional Rioja wine houses which, unlike others in this classic region, has branched out to pioneer vineyards in cooler spots, most notably in 1972 in Rueda, northwest of Madrid, and still the source of Spain’s finest contemporary whites. 2008 was cooler and wetter in Rueda than usual, so this zingy white is even more tongue-tingling than previous vintages. Spain’s answer to sauvignon blanc.”

La Galine Chardonnay 2007, Vin de Pays d’Oc

“The wine trade may be on its uppers but it still has the great good sense to bring wines to Britain’s table at prices that everyone can afford. La Galine’s chardonnay is made by the Lorgeril family at Château de Pennautier, close to Carcassonne. Alas, not the greatest cheap-as-chips chardonnay I have tasted, but for those of you after a gentle, zesty, green apple and lemon-spiked, all-purpose sub-£4 chardonnay, this one has your name on it.”

Sensas Sauvignon 2008, Vin de Pays des Côtes du Tarn
£6.99 or £4.99 when you buy 2 bottles

“Sparky Loiresque sauvignons are now made deep in south-west France at Gaillac by those growers who beat the heat by harvesting their grapes at night and then wringing every ounce of fruit from them. It took 40 days to fine-tune this mouthwateringly elegant, floral, grassy, gooseberry-laden sauvignon and it gives you some of sancerre’s flavour for a fraction of the price.”

Errazuriz Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Casablanca Valley
£7.99 £6.24 or £4.99 when you buy 2 bottles

“Compare and contrast the sub-£6 sauvignons here from France, New Zealand and Chile and you’ll find this one has intense exotic, zesty, green bean, bell pepper, lime peel and peapod flavours that are best enjoyed with food. Errazuriz’s sauvignon was born in the Aconcagua region, only 14km from the ocean, explaining why this sauvignon is edgier than most and cries out for peppery green salads and smoked fish starters.”

Alamos Chardonnay 2008, Mendoza
£6.99 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles (2 week special: 13/11/09 – 30/11/09)

“My idea of the perfect, big, bold, nutty, buttered toast and tropical fruit-laden New World chardonnay — and all that for not much more than a fiver. Third-generation winemaker Nicolas Catena was the first in his family to spot the potential of his country’s cool climate and high-altitude vineyards in the Nineties and the results have been impressive — as anyone tasting this terrific young, rich, smoky, sappy Côte-d’Or-like, French oak-aged chardonnay can discover for themselves.”

Domaine Les Yeuses Muscat Petit Grain 2008, Vin de Pays d’Oc
£7.99 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles

“Seductive, spicy, musky, off-dry, unoaked French muscats just like this one, made from the most noble muscat grown in sea breeze-cooled vineyards close to the Mediterranean and the Étang de Thau lake, make wonderfully useful winter and festive whites. Their juicy, aniseed-spiked hothouse grape-scented taste is just the ticket with exotic stir-fries and oriental-inspired fishy salads and starters.”

Alamos Malbec 2008, Mendoza
£6.99 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles (2 week special: 13/11/09 – 30/11/09)

“Malbec is Argentina’s finest red grape and its strongest suit, producing big, bold, tannic, richly-hued wines of world class and renown. So snap up this impressive, cut-price festive red, almost the star red in this section and the perfect sideboard partner to the Alamos chardonnay. Blended with a smidgin of cabernet sauvignon and bonarda, before being aged in French and American oak, this tasty red oozes with lively, ripe, spiced plum and loganberry fruit.”

Domaine Les Yeuses ‘Les Epices’ Syrah 2007, Vin de Pays d’Oc
£8.99 or £5.99 when you buy 2 bottles (2 week special: 13/11/09 – 30/11/09)

“It’s impossible to buy top-drawer northern rhône syrah under £6 now but this smouldering single domaine Languedoc red, another close runner for star status, is a very seductive alternative. A canny blend of part oak-aged, part stainless-steel matured syrah, this wine is not for the faint-hearted. Enjoy its big, fat, tannic, tarry, herby fruit with big winter food, like a cockle-warming game stew, to accompany it.”

Under £8 Winners

Star Buy! We’re sorry, this product has sold out due to high demand.
Bellingham ‘The Bernard Series’ Viognier 2008, Western Cape
£9.99 or £7.49 when you buy 2 bottles (4 week special: 13/11/09 – 14/12/09)

“A common mistake with complicated, highly spiced and sauced celebration meals is to serve the classic wines of France and hope they will cope. Take it from me, they won’t. If any of you want to serve a white wine with turkey and all the trimmings, and plenty of you have said you do, this alluring viognier, grown on decomposed granite soil at the foot of the Perdeberg mountain, is one of the few that can cope. I was all set to recommend this strong, perfumed, oaky and very exotic viognier as my star sub-£8 white in the summer but it failed to arrive in time, so I intend to scoop up plenty now. Bursting with bold, burnt, nutty, spicy and peachy viognier fruit, be warned — this turbo-charged, 14 per cent alcohol Cape white is not for the faint-hearted.”

Piesporter Goldtropfchen Riesling Kabinett 2001, Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier
£7.99 or £7.49 when you buy 2 bottles

“I love German wines but most of you, alas, appear to loathe them. Part of the problem is confusion over what to drink these wines with: this glorious stylish, waxy, steely mosel and that classic kerosene-spiked riesling finish is ideal with goose and a fruity stuffing. Weighing in at just 7.5 per cent alcohol, no one is going to hatch a headache from this.”

Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Marlborough
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles

“Jackson Estate’s standard sauvignon has now been sub-titled Stich in honour of founder John ‘Stich’ Stichbury’s 20th Marlborough vintage in 2008. The Stichbury and Jackson families are behind this label, with the latter having farmed this patch of Wairau River dirt for more than a century. This zesty, grassy, white currant and tropical fruit-laden sauvignon is a blend of seven different Marlborough vineyard sites and a good sub-£8 buy.”

Costero Syrah 2008, Viña Leyda
£8.69 or £6.95 when you buy 2 bottles

“From the moment I first tasted a Leyda valley chardonnay and pinot noir, from the San Antonio region south of Casablanca, it was clear that this corner of Chile was going to be the home of great things. Viña Leyda were the pioneers here and, at just 14 km from the Pacific Ocean, this sea breeze-cooled region wrings more fruit flavour from its grapes than most. Tuck into this wonderful fat, earthy, oaky, clove and violets-scented, l4 per cent alcohol-fueled syrah and see for yourself.”

Mâcon Rouge ‘Les Roches Rouges’ 2008, Louis Jadot
£8.99 or £6.99 when you buy 2 bottles

“The Mâconnais is best known for its white wines, comprising around two thirds of the vineyards here, but the reds can and do have as much right to a place on the festive table. Pinot noir usually yields to the more popular gamay grape in the Mâconnais, but this juicy red is made from the former and as such delivers delicious light, leafy, gamey, style and makes an easy-going lunchtime red with baked spiced ham, or a good mixed buffet bottle. Great value for money.”

Moulin-à-Vent 2008, Château de la Terrière, Cuvèe de La Lure
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles

“Beaujolais may be more suited to summer swigging but the superior cru, or single village, wines work well with lighter winter dishes including chicken casseroles and sausage bakes. Moulin à Vent is the boldest of all the crus and as such it can also cope with milder game. This vibrant, ripe, silky, plummy, gamey red has lots of vibrant crunchy red fruit made from 40-year-old vines at the historic Château de la Terrière.”

Château Prieuré-Les-Tours 2002, Graves
£9.99 or £7.99 when you buy 2 bottles

“Prieuré-Les-T was one of those rundown Graves properties with only 15 ha of vines that had to wait until its new Spanish owners expanded the vineyards to 80ha in 1990. At the same time, the winery was completely revamped and the merlot-dominated clarets — here topped up with one third cabernet sauvignon and a dash of cabernet franc — are now rich, fat, powerful, mature, reds just like this one.”

Under £12 Winners

Star Buy! Exclusive to Majestic!
Château Moulin-à-Vent 1999, Moulis en Medoc
£9.99 or £8.99 when you buy 2 bottles

“Nothing to do with Beaujolais’ Moulin à Vent, the name of this château stems from the mills, or moulis, that dotted the landscape here generations ago. A standard left-bank blend of two thirds cabernet sauvignon to one third merlot, with a dash of petit verdot thrown in for good measure, this handsome claret is only from an average year but its maturity has pushed it rapidly into the star slot here, so bouquets to its owners Dominique and Marie-Hélène Hessel. Any of you after a big, bold, beefy claret with lots of aged, spicy, green pepper flavours on the palate will have met their match with this one.”

Knappstein Riesling Ackland Vineyard 2008 Clare Valley
£10.99 or £8.49 when you buy 2 bottles

“Not so long ago Aussie rieslings would not have been able to compete with Germany’s finest. The best riesling sites, such as the Clare valley in South Australia, particularly the Watervale region, have long been recognised as prime locations, but few treated the grape seriously. Now it’s hard to prise top drops like this lively, spicy, floral, single-vineyard offering off the Aussie rock.”

Martinborough Vineyard ‘Te Tera’ Pinot Noir 2008, Martinborough
£14.99 or £11.99 when you buy 2 bottles

“In New Zealand, I may have lost my heart to the pinot noirs of Central Otago but I still have a place for those of Martinborough, and this estate makes some of the classiest — just like this superior edition made from old vines grown on ancient river bed soils, aged in French oak and from an excellent pinot noir vintage. The result is a gorgeous, supple, smoky, briary, black fruits-laden pinot.”

Under £25 Winners

St Aubin 1er Cru 2008, Gerard Thomas

“Gérard Thomas is one of the most well-known producers in the top-value-for- money Côte de Beaune village of St Aubin, which is tucked away in between Meursault and Puligny. Happily unknown and undervalued compared to its grander neighbours, St Aubin needs to be in every impecunious burgundy-lover’s wine rack, especially M. Thomas’s premier crus. This one delivers lots of fine, young, oaky, sappy, lemony, food-suitable fruit.”

Lacoste-Borie 2005, Pauillac

“Francois-Xavier Borie, who made this claret, the second wine of Château Grand Puy Lacoste, can do no wrong as far as I am concerned, having made a wonderful run of fine, sandalwood-spiced, oak-perfumed clarets. 2005, unlike the 2000 vintage, was a truly great Bordeaux year, so even at this level, claret fans are rewarded with a gorgeous big, bold, ripe, beefy, cedary claret perfect with spiced beef or a roasted baron of beef, as an alternative festive centrepiece.”

Jane MacQuitty, The Times, Saturday 14 November 2009

*All prices valid until 1 February 2010 unless otherwise stated.

4 thoughts on “Jane MacQuitty’s Top 100 Winter Wines

    1. Richard – Jane Macquitty is not involved with this blog, or directly with Majestic so unfortunately your comments here will not reach her.

Leave a Reply to Michael John Gould Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.