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New Majestic offer: 20% off French Regional wines
Majestic Wine, one of the sponsors of the wineanorak, is offering 20% off all French regional wines (costing over £3), which will be running from 30 January until 19 March.

There are over 50 wines included in this, and a free tasting weekend is going to be held on 9-11th February to give you a chance to make some informed purchases.

Just looking through the list, my picks would include the following (offer price shown in red):

La Cuvée Mythique 1998, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Val d'Orbieu
This attractively packaged wine is the top cuvée from the large negociant firm of Val d'Orbieu in the Languedoc. This chewy, structured wine is a real winner. Dense red/black, with a nose of smoky, meaty red fruits. Chunky and with earthy tannins on the palate, the noticeable oak adds depth and spice to what is a satisfying and balanced wine. There's also a minerally, stony edge to the fruit. Very good (£6.49 £5.19)

Fox Wood Old Bush Vine Syrah 1998, Vin de Pays d'Oc
Made from 45 year old bush vines and aged in American oak. This concentrated southern red is full of character, with a stony/earthy nose and ripe, earthy fruit, firm tannins and some spiciness from the unobtrusive oaking. Very good+, and a bargain. (Note: I think most stores have moved on to the 1999 vintage of this wine now, which should also be very good) (£4.99 £3.99)

Faugères Abbaye de Sylva Plana 1999, La Closeraie
First vintage from new winemaker, handpicked grapes and low yields of 30 hl/ha. Full red/black colour. Slightly muted nose but full, dense palate of soft, ripe, chalky fruit. Nice concentration: needs time to show its best? Very good. (£6.49 £5.19)

Minervois Domaine des Aires Hautes La Livinière 1998
Soft, forward, slightly sweet nose that seems to be typical of new-wave Minervois. Exotic herby, rich fruit on the palate, with nice balance. Very good+ (£6.99 £5.59)

Château Coupes Roses Les Plôts 1999, Minervois
Deep red purple with a delicious nose: pungent, meaty and exotic. Tannic and full on the palate this is super stuff, with lovely herby complexity. Very good/excellent. (£6.99 £5.59)

A compulsory purchase (but I'm half inclined to keep this one under my hat, it's such a good deal) is the 1998 Madiran from Alain Brumont's star property Château Montus:

Château Montus Madiran 1998
Mostly Tannat, but there's also a substantial contribution from other grapes. Dense purple/black colour. This is a dense, savoury, tannic beast with a pronounced barnyardy, cheesy, animal nose. It's all in great balance though: a lovely, individual wine, but don't open for at least five years. Very good/excellent. (£9.99 £7.99)

I haven't tried them, but the pair of wines from Mas de Bressades also come highly rated, as does the Fitou from Domaine du Tauch.

You can find these and more at:


(sale doesn't start until next Tuesday)

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