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Defining moments for top retailer

Sorry folks but problems with software have kept me from adding posts for a few days. Here though are my (slightly belated) thoughts on Majestic's new Definition range - a selection that includes a terrific pinot noir and some chardonnay that hits its target perfectly.

For their first own label wines, Majestic have tried to capture the quintessential characteristics of around a dozen wine regions and work them into a range they have called Definition.

Setting any benchmark can be tricky but – apart from a pinot grigio that I felt lacked tropical fruit touches – this range hits the spot pretty well and two wines in particular offer stand-out quality.

The minimum purchase in almost all Majestic stores is six (mixed) bottles and the quoted prices apply when you buy two or more bottles – although different arrangements are in force in Scotland.

Click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you pinpoint the wine on a crowded display.

Starting on the Loire

Majestic Definition Sancerre
Majestic Definition Sancerre

Typical Sancerre is aromatic with intense flavours – citrus, orchard fruit and sometimes peaches are featured – but the acidity is fresh yet measured, and often supported by touches of minerals.

There is, therefore, an attractively delicate structure to 2014 Definition Sancerre (£13.49 instead of £17.99) with its restrained lemon acidity delightfully balanced by an apple centred substance that never compromises the wine’s essential freshness.

Heading South

Majestic Definition Chardonnay
Majestic Definition Chardonnay

That unfairly disparaged style – oaked white – has a terrific story to tell when the wood maturation is used to smooth and season the wine but carefully avoids overpowering its fruit components.

So, one of the superstars of this Majestic range – 2014 Definition Chardonnay Limoux (currently £9.74 instead of £12.99) – skilfully uses barrel time to give the wine suggestions of velvety vanilla; however, the soft white peach fruit, creamy texture and prickle of acidity still shine through clearly.

My other superstar is red

Majestic Definition Pinot Noir
Majestic Definition Pinot Noir

Classic Marlborough pinot tends to be fruit forward but differs from Central Otago versions by displaying greater crispness, less overt ripeness and, normally, lighter fruits – cranberry and raspberry for instance.

True to form, 2014 Definition Pinot Noir, Marlborough (£11.99 instead of £15.99) has a vibrant freshness but there is a sense of purity behind its raspberry and cherry fruit and within the suggestions of cinnamon that embellish it.

But will this new arrival catch it up?

Majestic Definition Rioja
Majestic Definition Rioja

The Rioja reserve has only just arrived in store but, here, we would expect to see a style that sits snugly between the subtle barrel influences a crianza usually displays and the combination of oak aging and richness that typifies gran reserve.

To me, 2009 Definition Rioja Reserva (£9.74 instead of £12.99) finds that middle ground unerringly with balanced spice and tannic influences yet nothing to diminish its bright, black cherry fruit or assertive acidity.

Finally, home to claret

Majestic Definition Claret
Majestic Definition Claret

Establishing a benchmark Bordeaux red is a challenge indeed but many wines from the clay dominated right bank provide straight forward, fruity, soft and ripe wines – yet often with only limited aging potential.

The merlot and cabernet franc blend of 2010 Definition Claret Montagne St Emilion (£9.74 instead of £12.99) fits that profile well with excellent clear-cut, cherry, mint and spice flavours nicely embellished with an accomplished balance between its acidity and the tannin it contains.

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