Majestic wines for under £7 that will impress your guests and won’t give you a headache
My quest for value wines began when I went to the first charity Quiz Night at my son’s school. We were new reception parents and knew few people there, so relied on the cash bar for dutch courage. The only white wine they had was a wan and bitter Pinot Grigio that tasted like it had been used to clean an institutional coffee maker. The red wine was equally harsh and undrinkable.
At the end of the evening it was evident that the majority of the 200+ glasses had languished on the tables half full. Despite not drinking much, the headache I suffered the next day made me vow to join the committee if only to improve the standard of wines on offer!
At my first event in charge of the bar, I doubled the spend on wine from £3/bottle to £6 and offered 2 whites and 2 reds against strong resistance from the other committee members. They were shocked when we sold out of most of the wines and the bar profits tripled on the evening. It just goes to show I’m not alone in thinking life is too short to drink unenjoyable wine.
With a little ingenuity, it is not hard to find excellent crowd-pleasing wines for under £7. Some useful tips when value hunting are:
- look for lesser known varietals or blends from a famous wine region
- look for wines from just outside famous regions
- try another offering from a producer you know and like
- shop when there are special offers
For my first installment in value wines, I went to the good people at Majestic Wine Warehouse. The staff are generally very knowledgeable and they often have several wines available for tasting. Majestic has the added benefit of very discreetly labeling their own-brand wines so that you don’t have to see their name emblazoned all over the bottle. You have to pick your timing for the special discount offers, but now that they lowered the minimum purchase to 6 bottles and offer free or £5 UK-wide delivery, it makes shopping at Majestic much easier.
The Parcel Series Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2011, Margaret River Australia. £5.99
This smells of fresh grass, jasmine and grapefruit but has a surprising creaminess on the palate with flavours of white peaches and lychees. The Semillon softens the sometimes strident Sauvignon Blanc and makes the blend very drinkable even without food. If you like New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for twice the price, this should please you. Bottled for Majestic, but so discreetly that you need a magnifying glass to find the MWW in tiny print on the back label. Taste 8/10. Value 9/10.
Santa Rita 120 Viognier 2012, Central Valley Chile. £5.99
On the nose, this wine is full-on honeysuckle, ripe pineapples, apricots and peaches as you would expect from a Viognier, but in the mouth it feels dry and refreshing instead of oily as the varietal tends to taste. It has a long dry finish and a full body, so if you like new world Chardonnay, you might take very happily to this. Taste 9/10. Value 9/10.
Copertino Negroamaro 2008, Masseria Monaci Puglia, Italy. £6.99
This is a deep ruby red with luscious cherries, ripe plums and fragrant rose on the nose. On the palate it smacks of jammy berries and spicy pepper with an earthy pong of forest floor. Gorgeously smooth and well-balanced, but complex. It’s a slightly unusual wine which tastes more expensive than it is. Made from a grape whose name translates as Black-Bitter, it has medium to low tannins for a wine of its body, so not likely to give you a headache. Good value for an interesting red of this age. Taste 8/10. Value 9/10.
Murets de Gouts 2010, Côtes du Marmandais, SW France . £5.99
This is a Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon blend similar to a St Emilion from Bordeaux but from a less hyped area south of Bordeaux. It smells of brambly black berries and cherries and damp earth. Medium-full bodied on the palate, ripe black fruits predominate with sweet liquorice and leather in the background. A solid choice for a Bordeaux style without the high price tag. Taste 9/10. Value 10/10.