Einstök: Drink. Conquer. Repeat.

Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe, with a population roughly the same size as Leicester. It is known for its breath-taking scenery, sub-zero temperatures and putrescent shark meat delicacies. It is not immediately thought of as a place where the craft beer revolution has managed to get to.

However, located 60 miles shy of the Arctic Circle, in the relatively unheard of fishing town of Akureyri, lies the Einstök brewery. Einstök, which translates as ‘unique,’ is exactly that. Making use of the very special terroir in which it brews its beer, it manages to create some wonderfully complex and interesting products.

The White Ale, made as an homage to the Belgian witbiers, is crisp and light with delicate flavours of coriander and orange peel, it’s refreshing and flows down as easily as the delicate glacial streams from where it originates.

The Pale Ale is where Bavarian masterclass meets American style. It exhibits a fuller body of malty tones and rich flavours, leaving behind a signature wink of Icelandic finesse. It is a challenging and robust pale ale made to be drunk by a Viking. Einstök.

Finally, out of the long, bleak and daunting Icelandic winter comes the dark Icelandic Toasted Porter. A medium bodied brew which exhibits malty notes of chocolate and nutty roundness. A formidable climb, but an altogether worth it experience.

With the recent explosion in popularity of well-made craft beers and ales, the Einstök range really stands out as something special. It certainly helps, but you don’t have to be a Viking to enjoy them. Shop Einstök and the full craft beer range online at Majestic here.

 

Einstök: Drink. Conquer. Repeat.

The 10 Greatest Reasons To Drink Pink

Do you need a reason for rosé? Just in case you do, here’s 10:

1. The sun is shining.
There’s nothing quite like a glass of chilled pink wine in the sunshine.

2. You’re having a picnic.
It tastes even better with a hamper laid out.

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3. You’re thirsty.
Cool, refreshing, delicious wine.

4. You’re hungry.
Pink wine is really flexible with food.

5. You’re in Provence.
A Provencale Rosé tastes truly stupendous when sat on the promenade with the hot riviera sun shining down and the waves lapping the shore nearby.

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6. You’d like to be in Provence.
It also tastes pretty amazing when you’re in your back garden and you can just imagine yourself sat on the promenade with the hot riviera sun shining down and the waves lapping the shore nearby.

7. You’re having a party.
Wine always tastes better with friends. Pink wine is the perfect option when you don’t know if people want white or red. It’s both (and yet neither).

8. There’s charcuterie on the table.
It’s especially awesome with cured meats, antipasto, mezze platters, or tapas.

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9. You are self-assured.
Just because the wine is pink does not make the man less of a man, nor the woman more of a woman. Wine has no gender preferences, it merely exists to give enjoyment.

10. Because you just fancy it.
Pink wine is delicious. Chill it down and enjoy it, for no reason is needed other than that.

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Explore our range of delicious pink wines and stock up for sunny days here!

The 10 Greatest Reasons To Drink Pink

Top 10 Wines For International Chardonnay Day

Chardonnay. Victim of fashion, champion of versatility, or destroyer of variety? It’s been the darling of the wine world, then the scourge. It was everywhere, then it was everywhere. It is the most versatile grape variety planted worldwide. It is a blank canvas on which the winemaker can daub the terroir and paint their masterpiece. It goes from steely, flinty, fresh-as-a-granny-smith to luxuriant, tropical fruit-laden, butter-on-toast. It takes to oak like a duck to water, and is the go-to example for wine educators worldwide when they want to demonstrate how tasting wine can tell you where it comes from.

Even if you think you know Chardonnay, chances are there’s one waiting to surprise you. The 26th May is International Chardonnay Day, so here are the top 10 Chardonnays that show you just how good this grape can be.

In no particular order…

1. Chablis – Domaine Servin

04419When I was a store manager, I’d usually call this when running a Wine Course for customers.  It’s archetypal entry-level Chablis (yes, Chablis entry level is £10 and up) with crisp green apple, laser precise acidity and fresh lemon with a palpable mineral character.  There’s a hint of richness to it, which is an odd thing to say for a super-fresh wine like this, but you’ll see it when you taste it.

2. Macon – Domaine des Terres Gentiles

04165Tete de Cuvee basically means the best of the juice.  This is a wine that bucks the trend of increasingly expensive white Macon wines (Burgundy, bit south of the exceptionally expensive part) by being not expensive and still very good.  White peach and ripe apple, a lick of honey, and a delicately refreshing feel.

3. Sud de France – Domaine de l’Aigle Limoux Chardonnay

10353When I was 18 I worked in a local French Bistro which had a dish on the menu called Aiglefin à l’indienne. Turns out it was a fancy way of saying Kedgeree.  Years later I discovered this wine was a smashing match for said dish, with more than enough body and fruit to match the lightly spiced fish, rice and egg.  And that was just for breakfast.

4. Australia – Wynns Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay

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Coonawarra is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon, but this Chardonnay deserves a mention – Wynns is a local benchmark for the variety.  White peach and mandarin, poached pear and orange-peel with lemony freshness and freshly buttered toast.

5. California – Edna Valley Chardonnay

18127 There might as well be a picture of this wine next to the wikipedia entry for California Chardonnay.  It’s everything you’d expect – and in a very good way.  Fresh citrus, ripe green apple and a smidge of tropical fruit wrapped up in a toasty oak beach towel.

6. Argentina – Catena Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 

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This used to be a slightly clumsy oak-monster which we all loved for being a slightly clumsy oak-monster.  At least, that’s how many of us *think* we remember it – rosy spectacles and all.  Now it’s a superbly well balanced Chardonnay with fresh peach, a touch of banana and lemon with a delicate lick of oak to add complexity and a slightly honeyed finish.

7. Chile – Luis Felipe Edwards Gran Reserva Chardonnay

39265 Go mango walk. Huge tropical fruits, pineapple, coconut and vanilla-laden with big body and ripe lemon squeezed over the finish.  Rich and fruity tropical monster.  Fruit-bombs away!

8. Italy – Stella Alpina Chardonnay

13430Better known for Pinot Grigio and crisp zippy whites than Chardonnay, but the international variety has made a splash in some seriously good wines in Sicily and especially Alto Adige.  It’s definitely not white Burgundy, but definitely not Australia either.  Fresh white and green fruits, blossoming flowers and a dusting of gingery, oak spice.

9. South Africa – Rustenberg Estate Chardonnay

20242Literally my favourite Chardonnay in the entire Majestic Wine range.  An exceptional Estate wine from an outstanding wine estate, made by really lovely people.  The Barlow family put a lot of love into their Chardonnay, and it shows.  Ripe citrus and tropical fruit, lightly honeyed buttered toast, a slightly nutty twist and a long refreshing finish.  Has great balance of richness, body, and freshness, and is consistently impressive.

10. New Zealand – Cloudy Bay Chardonnay

37044Just when you thought the grape had passed, you go and save the best ’til last. Forget Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc, as delicious as it is, the Chardonnay is where it’s at.  Exceptionally well made wine of great balance, structure and complexity and any other wine-words you’d like to chuck at it.  Just really well made wine that is worth it’s premium price-tag.

Explore even more amazing Chardonnays from all over the world on our website here.

Top 10 Wines For International Chardonnay Day

Introducing myMajestic app

Introducing the official Majestic Wine app, myMajestic, which helps you get the most out of your wine enjoyment wherever you are. Explore our range, access your purchase history, save private notes and ratings, and manage your list of favourite wines.

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● Browse past purchases – Whether you’re an online or in-store shopper, you can check out your past purchases to rediscover old favourites.

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● Personal favourites list – Your Favourites list is the easy way to keep track of the wines you love, with the help of Personal Notes and Ratings.

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● New Discoveries – Access our expert knowledge in the comfort of your own home. Search our full range, or if you have a bottle scan the barcode to read our tasting notes, food matches and learn more about its origins.

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● Food & Wine Matching – Bring food and wine together with our handy pairing tips – they show you which flavours work best together.

● All the latest news – Direct from your local Majestic store, plus great content delivered specifically for app customers.

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● £10 Off In-store or Online – Download today and get £10 off your next Majestic shop!

Already a Majestic online shopper?

Using the app is easy – when you first run the app you’ll be asked for your email address and Majestic password. After this we’ll remember who you are and keep your purchase history up to date.

Not shopped online with Majestic?

The app will prompt you to register with us and you’ll be taken to our mobile website to register your details – it’s really quick and easy. You’ll also need a Personal Code which activates your in-store purchase history; you’ll find this on any literature you receive from us from May 2015 onwards, ask in-store on your next visit, call us on 0345 605 6767, or visit http://www.majestic.co.uk/app/personal-code

Any questions or comments about this app? Visit “Contact Us” and drop us a line! Find out more and download it here.

Introducing myMajestic app

Meet The Winemaker: Paul Smith, Wirra Wirra

Describing an Australian winery as atypical is a bit like calling a Swiss train reliable – it’s virtually tautological.  That said, Wirra Wirra has to take a few extra points.  At the start and end of every harvest, they ring a 3/4 tonne Angelus bell, and have even built a small trebuchet on site from which they launch watermelons.  Unlike Swiss trains, though, timekeeping is not in their history.  When founder Greg Trott lost his watch in 1947, a gift from his father, he never replaced it, preferring to tell the time by the sun.  Today, winemaking is handled by none other than Paul Smith.

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Paul Smith… you mean…?

Nope! Different Paul Smith. This Smithy is Senior Winemaker at Wirra Wirra, which means he’s also chief bellringer at the start and finish of every vintage, and has bragging rights on launching watermelons from the trebuchet constructed on site. Oh, and making top quality, iconic wine. That’s his job.

Icon. Is that one word or two?

Heh. In this instance, one. Smithy’s philosophy at Wirra Wirra is about “letting the fruit shine”, so it’s not about clever tricks in the winery, it’s about making sure the fruit is right in the first place. He spends as much time out between the rows tasting fruit and talking to growers as he does in the winery, right up until the final pick arrives.

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Sounds like wine was his destiny.

Actually, Smithy studied Agronomy at Roseworthy College near Adelaide rather than viticulture. He was planning to study to become a vet after he graduated, but got slightly sidetracked when he took a job as a vineyard hand at Chittering Estate.

Ah, that old chesnut.

It’s the oldest story in the book. Young man, distracted from vetinary aspirations discovers hidden gift for pruning vines by intuition alone, his skills become recognised and he is invited to show his talents for agronomy in the laboratory. He trains in winemaking under masters in Adelaide University, and gains practical skills at Knappstein. An old master spots his talent, he becomes a student of Brian Croser at Petaluma, before apprenticing with Jeffry Grosset – the master of Clare Riesling.

And then Wirra Wirra?

Via a stint as a winemaker at Knappstein, but yes. The call of McLaren Vale was strong. Smithy joined the team as a winemaker in 2008, before taking the role of senior winemaker in 2009. He’s been there ever since, his approach is to bring the soul of the vineyard into every bottle he makes.

So what was that about a Lost Watch?

It’s the wine named in honour of founder Greg Trott, who lost the watch his father gave him.  Unlike Greg’s timekeeping, it’s a really precise style of riesling.  Pungent fresh lime, ruby grapefruit and sliced apple, touch of lavender and ginger, very sharp, very bright.  Killer with oysters.  Fruit comes from the Lenswood subregion of Adelaide Hills, so it’s gorgeous cool-climate dry riesling.  The 2014 won Best In Show at the Adelaide Hills Wine Show in December 2014.

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Craving a glass now.

Us too. Patience will be rewarded, though.  As Smithy puts it, “The way wine evolves and develops… there is something quite magical about it.”

We’ve got a limited parcel of Wirra Wirra The Lost Watch Riesling 2014 available online HERE.

Meet The Winemaker: Paul Smith, Wirra Wirra

6 Reasons Why You Should Love Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is one of the most popular wine grapes at Majestic. Familiarity breeds contempt though, right? In honour of #SauvBlanc Day on the 24th of May, we decided to revisit our biggest sellers from our cellars and remember why we love it!

1. It’s a world-wide phenomenon

Sauvignon Blanc is grown all over the world, from the Loire and Bordeaux in France, Chile, South Africa and New Zealand.

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2. Sauvignon comes in many styles

From steely dry and flinty in the Loire, a bracing tropical-fruit laden delight in New Zealand to the zesty and fresh South African wines. Try the Sauvignons from La Grille (Loire), Rustenberg (South Africa) and The Ned (New Zealand) and see which style you like best.

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3. It’s refreshing by nature

Sauvignon is naturally high in acidity and ripens early, so it’s easy to make it full of flavour and keep it super-fresh.

4. It’s Food-Friendly

Amazing with chevré, brilliant with sushi, and cracking with seafood.

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5. You don’t need to wait to enjoy Sauvignon

It tastes best when it’s young, so you don’t need patience, just chill it down and pop it open whenever you need refreshing.

6. …But not always

There are one or two really special styles which can stand the test of time, like Cloudy Bay’s Te Koko. Ask our teams in store and they’ll tell you all the secrets.

6 Reasons Why You Should Love Sauvignon Blanc

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