Cricket World Cup: what are you drinking?

We’re right in the thick of the Cricket World Cup, bats are out, googlies thrown, and Eddy from our Leith Walk store wants to know what wine you’re sipping on while you hit a sticky wicket.

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Australia

So the Aussies amongst you may think you are going to smash the poms out of the park. I wouldn’t agree… However, we have the perfect tipple for you to celebrate every slog for 6 off Broad’s bowling, that will no doubt be celebrated vociferously by the MCG crowd, thanks to Broad’s pre-match jibes.

So my Aussie suggestion and my Wine of The World Cup is the Jim Barry Cover Drive. This wine is grown by the prestigious Jim Barry and is so named because the Penola Cricket Ground stood where Jim now grows this top quality Cabernet. An intense, fragrant nose of cassis, vanilla and spice. It offers a generous palate of blackcurrants, liquourice and cherry flavours. A real winner with a block of cheese or some red meat.

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England

As a slightly biased Englishman I think we’ll be lifting the trophy come the 29th March. So what better selection than England’s very own:

Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2009. This has beaten some of the top champagnes in blind tastings. So what better way to celebrate?! A classic champagne blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, this displays Citrus fruit, brioche and shortbread on the nose. This is an elegant fizz with a delicate mouth-filling mousse.

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South Africa

Ok, so the one thing to consider for us UK-based cricket fans is that these matches will be on rather late at night. So, if you’re lucky enough not to have work the day after perhaps it’d be wise to drink something that won’t put you to sleep!

My South African choice is the Raats Granite Blocks Chenin Blanc 2013. I had a lovely South African lady come in asking about Raats wines, her pronunciation of Raats was quite special and so I couldn’t pick anything else to be South Africa’s tipple for the World Cup. Pop in and grab Yourself a Rrraaatz!

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New Zealand

New Zealand have some big-hitters in their ranks both in cricket terms and in the wine world. I’ve chosen Waimea Estate’s Grüner Veltliner, new-in to Majestic, as their tipple of choice for the world cup. This is deliberately made in an off-dry style. Originally an Austrian grape variety this is an interesting, top notch wine. New Zealand producers, much like top one day batsmen, are not scared to experiment with different varieties. They have been extremely successful with this and they definitely show they are not just solely about Sauvignon blanc!

On a great deal right now, down from £14.99 to £9.99 this Grüner Veltliner is a fresh and crisp wine with a little more mouthfeel than your average Sauvignon. Stoned fruit mingle with the white pepper and minerality which gives this a crisp finish.

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To finish off I will leave you with some incredibly tenuous links to the other nations playing in the tournament so as to not leave anyone out!

You can catch up with all the goings-on with Eddy and the team in Majestic Leith Walk on their twitter feed here, and their store page here!

Cricket World Cup: what are you drinking?

2014 Vintage Round-Up

We caught up with Chris Hardy, our wine buyer for France, to get the low-down on how 2014 shaped up for vignerons across the Channel.

“Now that 2015 is in full swing, here’s a brief round-up of last year’s vintage in France and what you can expect from the 2014 wines when they start arriving on our shelves.

Bordeaux

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2014 offers the best vintage since 2010. After good weather during flowering, a mixed summer worried producers. A great September saved the day, with red grapes harvested into mid-October. Dry whites look especially promising.

Loire

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Following a great harvest, volumes are expected to be up by around 10%. For dry white Muscadets and Loire Sauvignons, harvest conditions were near perfect. Grapes feature concentration and intensity, with well-balanced sugar and acidity.

Rhône

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Volumes are up, but quality across appellations is mixed. Some areas had excess rainfall meaning some wine dilution. Through rigorous selection, good producers have made concentrated wines with elegant structure.

Provence

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Despite a cooler-than-usual growing season, an Indian summer helped produce high-quality rosés, which have great red fruit concentration and refreshing acidity. Red wines were more challenging due to problems with reaching full phenolic ripeness.

Languedoc-Roussillon

This usually reliable region was hit by hailstorms, causing flooding and destruction. Some producers lost up to 80% of their crop – vintage volume is expected to be down 10%. Picpoul yields were down by 60%!

South-West France

After a string of challenging vintages, the region had a much better year with excellent quality and quantity. This should relieve pressure on pricing for entry-level aromatic whites.

Champagne

The Grande Dame brut 2004 in magnum. Even better! @veuveclicquot

A mild winter and warm spring were followed by one of the wettest Augusts on record. Luckily an Indian summer returned in September, boosting flavour concentration and promoting healthy yields. Some are comparing the vintage quality to 1996 and 2004.  The base wines from 2014 will form the backbone of the Non-Vintage releases from 2017-2019 depending on individual champagne house style, so these will definitely be ones to watch.

Burgundy

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Volumes are up and quality looks great with a few exceptions. Parts of the Côte de Beaune were subject to hail for the third year in a row with Beaune, Volnay and Pommard bearing the brunt. In the Mâconnais, the Lugny vineyard also suffered hail damage, while Chablis is healthy and very promising.”

2014 Vintage Round-Up

7 Tips For Perfect Pancakes

We love pancakes at Majestic; a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of sugar, lashings of Nutella, or savoury with cheese and spinach… There are loads of options to make your pancakes delicious on Shrove Tuesday, but we thought we’d up the ante a bit and have come up with some wine and food matches to make your Pancake Day a bit more Majestic.  Better yet, you’ll find our easy secret recipe for the fluffiest and most gorgeously edible pancakes – ever.

Matching wine and pancakes may not seem obvious, but it’s easier than you think – and the results can be spectacular.  Savoury pancakes (think goats cheese and spinach) are delicious, and an absolute dream with a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc such as the fantastically zesty Marlborough Ridge from Giesen.

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The obvious option would be a dessert wine; the honeyed nature of Sauternes would work a treat, as would the fig and cinnamon flavours of Royal Tokaji. As an alternative, pour slightly warmed PX over plain pancakes instead of syrup, we would probably serve it with a glass of the lovely stuff as well!

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Chardonnay based fizz will complement your pancakes well; Graham Beck, Lindauer Blanc de Blancs and L’Extra par Langlois, or, if you’re feeling really decadent, Pol Roger NV. Champagne breakfast anyone?

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The tense, fresh acidity in champagne makes it an excellent foil to most foods, and it will pair well with sweet or savoury styles.

We worked long and hard to test different recipes and what paired best with them.  Flour coated the table and our clothes, arms tired and sore from beating batter, our stomachs fit to burst from sampling the delicious, delicious pancakey goodness.  It was a particularly tough day, but somehow we managed.  We endured. We survived. We triumphed.  And this is what we learned:

Our Majestic Pancakes – Serves 4 hungry people

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This recipe uses ‘cup’ as in a teacup – largely because when we made these we didn’t have any scales to hand. Wing it, pancakes don’t have to be precise!  American-style pancakes are pretty much the be-all-and-end-all of the pancake discussion for us (me); thick, fluffy, light and delicious.  You can add fruit to the batter, you can add cheese to the batter, you can pretty much play with this as a base to get as creative in the kitchen as you want.

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You’ll need:

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Method: Add to blender. Blitz. Alternatively, add all ingredients to a big mixing bowl and beat until combined. Heat a pan on the oven – trick is to use a low-medium heat so you don’t burn the pancakes – and keep the base coated lightly with butter.  Depending how big you want the pancakes, pour the batter into the pan and flip once the base is sealed – about 30-45 seconds each side, plus or minus.  You can use a ladle if going straight from the mixing bowl, but better yet, transfer to a measuring jug for a perfect pour.

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Once cooked, remove from the pan and stack on a paper towel until ready – then plate up, serve with topping of your choice!  We love crispy bacon and maple syrup, but savoury dinner pancakes are an absolute win – sundried tomato, goats cheese and wilted spinach drizzled with balsamic vinegar glaze was a favourite variation.

The only other choice is what to drink with it!

Got any awesome pancake tips and tricks? Favourite toppings? Share them in the comments below!

7 Tips For Perfect Pancakes

Come & Explore: A Trainee’s Journey Continues

Who knew that learning about wine would also mean harking back to GSCE science? Climate, topography? Sounds like a Geography class!  Eve continues her adventure into wine with Majestic and wonders if she might have spent a little more time paying attention in Chemistry…

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You learn something new every day so they say and each day this week I have been transported back to my GCSE science class, which in my opinion was hours of my teenage years wasted. Hours I could’ve been on MSN or sat in a cold park in rainy Wales drinking cheap bottles of cider that I didn’t even enjoy. At all. I was always one of the ‘Arty’ kids, into drama and literature, rather self-indulgent and I imagine a bit of a nightmare to anyone who tried to teach me anything factual or worth knowing. It’s fair to say the left hand side of my brain preferred to remain very much disengaged. Until now.

Christmas is over and the studying has begun. I can no longer play the novice card, it’s time for this to get serious. Instead of sipping a cheap Sauvignon at a bar with my friends after work I am sat gazing at a book full of science that I do not quite understand, wishing I hadn’t skived off that year 10 revision session on photosynthesis. Don’t get me wrong I am still sipping wine but now it’s Burgundy and it most definitely isn’t cheap but it’s all in the name of work, of course.

Complaining and jokes aside this science is actually rather interesting. The sheer amount of planning, research and graft that goes into the production of this magical liquid that we all sip after work or guzzle at the weekend, is mind blowing. There is something quite special about reading about it whilst drinking it, it almost makes you enjoy it more than you already do. There’s an appreciation that develops when you begin to understand the history of what you have swirling around your glass and sliding down your throat, giving you that warm fuzzy feeling you’ve sat at your desk yearning for all day. It isn’t just a bottle with a name on it anymore. It’s much more than that. Much, much more. It’s a story, years of history, a myriad of peoples’ hard work and yes it’s science, but somehow science made sexy. Yes, sexy science.

The book, granted, is long and full on with words that only Mr Phillips from Year 9 Chemistry would understand but it’s entirely worth it. Who knew how important and enjoyable science could be. I know, it’s news to me too. So I put my hands up, hang my head in shame and say:

“Barry Comprehensive Science Department, I am so sorry I doubted you. You were right, science is important. It is interesting. It does matter to my day to day life. You win Mr Phillips. Science rules!”

If this piques your curiosity, you can find out more from the WSET – Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

Come & Explore: A Trainee’s Journey Continues

Opening Night: Mayfair Lady

Mayfair has had a makeover, and she’s looking fierce.  We’re really excited to introduce our refitted, restyled and now, restocked store in Mayfair.

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We closed her for work just after Christmas to install new counters, displays and – most excitingly of all – make a real feature of an 8-bottle Enomatic wine dispenser.  These little beauties dispense measures of wine and replace the liquid with inert nitrogen gas, so a bottle of wine can keep fresh for up to three weeks after opening!  This means they can get some really exciting, top-flight bottles open for you to try before you buy – and best of all, we don’t charge you for the privilege!

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You can visit their store page here to find out all the latest news, and we look forward to seeing you in-store soon!

Opening Night: Mayfair Lady

Wine of the Week – Pierre-Jean Sauvion Chenin Blanc 2013

This weekend, all our stores will have open a new arrival for you to taste – Pierre-Jean Sauvion Chenin Blanc 2013.

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The Wine Gang featured this in their latest bulletin – here’s what they had to say about it:

“This breezy, light Chenin is medium-dry rather than off-dry, but either way it tastes drier than technically it is (with 20g/litre residual sugar), because of the brisk, grapefruity acidity which runs through the sweet apple/pear fruit. It’s ideal as an aperitif, but also stands up well to light but spicy dishes, with or without some sweetness of their own. It’s also usefully modest in alcohol if you’re feeling that you ought to cut down a bit after the festive excesses.”

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You can pop in to any of our stores this weekend to try the wine for yourself, and you can order yours online here!

Wine of the Week – Pierre-Jean Sauvion Chenin Blanc 2013

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