I’ve gone and got a taste for it.
Following on from the recent Naked Wine swag that hit most of the right notes, I thought that bagging a case of Majestic’s “Definition” range could provide an interesting insight into the signature profiles of the classic wine styles or, to the layman, a welcome excuse to drink some nice stuff in the name of education.
The twelve bottles put together by the good folk of Majestic Huddersfield – 6 styles and two bottles of each (there are more in the Definition range to go at, which I may well do) – come to £140-ish which, after the worthwhile 25% off “Mix Six” deal has been bunged on, comes down to £111, or an average of 9 quid a bottle.
It’s a sunny day and I’d like to at least have a go at looking urbane, so the Provencal Rose’s the first out of the box and its refreshing red apple and strawberry minerality are welcome in the heat. More pale orange than pink, dry and more-ish, this is thirst-quenching stuff, and I could easily have opened the second bottle to go with the summery lamb flatbreads and Greek salad I expertly put together for tea, but I’m nothing if not tight.
I do uncork the Definition Rioja, though; partly out of an amateur’s keen interest but mainly because I’m about to be ‘treated’ to an evening – sorry another evening – of Bruce Springsteen’s back catalogue which is, let’s be honest, an occasion best experienced with a generous dose of Alcohol By Volume in the system. (Live: fantastic. Recorded: Meatloaf-lite.)
I thought (and, under the circumstances may have hoped) that this might be a big-hitting bastard. Certainly, most of the Rioja that I’ve downed in the past has been pleasant but potent gear that I tend to swerve nowadays in favour of lighter-bodied swill.
But this example (or ‘expression’, if I’m to use the correct lingo) delivers all of Rioja’s vanilla and dark fruit flavours, and that distinctive Tempranillo twang, with none of the hefty wallop around the head that I was expecting. Despite the label mentioning the “long term ageing of wine” it’s not too teeth-staining or grippy but is silky and lush, unlike some Riojas that taste like they’ve had a brick of Vienetta lobbed into the barrel.
I’ve rediscovered Rioja and will buy this Definition version again, although its gentle impact does mean that Springsteen’s gruff hollering remains infuriatingly loud and clear for the rest of the evening.