WINE / Grapevine: Kathryn McWhirter on Majestic wines

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Majestic Wine Warehouses have put together a delicious range since new ownership and management took hold in 1991. The five new warehouses they opened last year brought the total to 42 - 15 in London, three in Birmingham and the rest scattered mostly around southern England. Three more are planned for this year. There is a wide, well-chosen selection from all over the world, but French wines predominate. Good savings are to be had on some Burgundies (prices from pounds 2.99 to pounds 7.99) in a promotion finishing on 21 March, though all prices may change after Tuesday's Budget.

***1991 La Prendina Bianco ( pounds 5.99) Oaky Italian, flavours of greengage and almond.

***1991 Chateau Tour des Gendres, Bergerac ( pounds 4.89) Ripely fruity white, with exotic and pineappley flavours.

**1990 Mauzac, Bernard Delmas ( pounds 3.99) Delicious, crisp, pleasantly earthy and buttery-flavoured organic white.

**Cremant d'Alsace, Lancelot de Hoen ( pounds 7.99) Crisp, fruity, biscuity fizz.

****1991 Domaine de la Font du Roi, Chateauneuf-du-Pape ( pounds 7.59) Soft and deliciously fruity red, figgy and honeyed.

****1988 Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon ( pounds 7.99) Super-ripe, blackcurranty, oaky Chilean red.

****1988 Cain Five ( pounds 9.95) Plummy-fruity, hints of tobacco, blackcurrant and cedar.

***1991 Canterbury Zinfandel ( pounds 5.99) Rich, blackberry-fruity and clove-scented.

***1990 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, Colli del Moro 1990, Santangelo ( pounds 5.29) Firm, gutsy, fruity red with spicy and raisiny flavours.

**1989 Faiveley Pinot Noir Bourgogne ( pounds 5.99 until 21 March, normally pounds 6.99) Very good for this price. Savoury, oaky, with rich strawberry fruit and a little tannin.

**1989 Laboure-Roi Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire ( pounds 3.99) Not in fact 'ordinaire', but like a good Beaujolais cru. Cherry and raspberry-fruity, a hint of tannin and new oak.

**1991 Domaine Fouletiere, Coteaux du Languedoc ( pounds 3.99) Dark, fruity, spicy red, meaty and slightly tarry.

**1990 Vacqueyras Prince Guillaume, Michel Bernard ( pounds 4.99) Delicious, spicy and strawberry-fruity Rhone red.

*1990 Domaine des Melanies Corbieres ( pounds 2.99) Rich, gutsy red with some tannin. Lots of plummy fruit, smoky character.



**1992 Gyongyos Estate Chardonnay ( pounds 3.29 Thresher Wine Shops and Drink Stores, Bottoms Up, Wine Rack, Sainsbury's) Fresh, ripe, creamy and subtle. Wonderful value.

*1992 Gyongyos Estate Sauvignon Blanc ( pounds 2.99 Somerfield and Gateway, pounds 3.25 Safeway, pounds 3.29 Thresher Wine Shops and Drink Stores, Bottoms Up and Wine Rack, Sainsbury's) Fresh, ripe and floral.

RED WINES UNDER pounds 3.50

**St Chinian ( pounds 2.74 Asda) Wonderful value, soft, and packed with rich, aromatic fruit.


**1991 Sainsbury's Chardonnay-Chenin Blanc, Gisborne ( pounds 3.75 Sainsbury's) Flavours of honey, pineapple and quince.


***1990 Tollana South East Australian Shiraz ( pounds 4.99 Thresher Wine Shops, Bottoms Up, Wine Rack) Silky red with a touch of tannin, flavours of blackberry and leather.

**1987 Russe Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ( pounds 3.69 - or in March buy two, save pounds 1 - Victoria Wine) Oaky, blackcurranty fruit.