Majestic has picked up a parcel of wines from Constellation at some pretty nifty prices. Mind you, they’re not necessarily bargains, even at rockbottom prices. The 2008 Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Sauvignon is only £3.99, but the bottle I tried was as dead as a dodo. And the 2008 Woodbridge Merlot (£3.99) wasn’t a whole lot better – muddy, jammy fruit with charred, vanilla oak flavours. I wonder, if these had been screwcapped, they’d have been better? Certainly the oldest wine of this Californian trio, the screwcapped 2007 Robert Mondavi Woodbridge Shiraz (13.5% abv) was the freshest and best, with a convincing spicy berry and pepper shiraz character. Good value at £3.99. Better still were the three wines below at £4.99. But just before you dash to your local Majestic, check that the wines have arrived: they’re due in over the next week.
2008 Houghton Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, Western Australia
Same vintage as the Mondavi Woodbridge Sauvignon, but screwcapped and infinitely fresher, with the toasted character of maturing semillon combined with tropical fruit and refreshing, sharp, lemon-zest acidity. 12.5% abv. Some of the stock is 2007, which I haven’t tasted. £4.99, Majestic.
2008 Houghton Cabernet Shiraz Merlot, Western Australia
A deep coloured, big, chunky, but fresh red blend. Ripe, inky blackcurrant fruit with spice, creamy toffee and chocolaty oak flavours. 14% abv. Again, some of the stock is 2007, which I haven’t tasted. £4.99, Majestic.
2007 Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel, Calfornia
This has stood up well to its three-and-a-bit years under a synthetic cork, but I wouldn’t keep it beyond 2011. Medium-full and butter-smooth, with bright, blueberry fruit, typical zin spice flavours and spicy oak. 13.5% abv. £4.99, Majestic.