Majestic Wine unveils raft of new wines
Majestic has unveiled a number of new wines including “interesting parcels at the lower-premium end” as well as “brilliant wines lost to the range over recent years”, which the company has now brought back in.
Robert Cooke, chief commercial officer, said: “Majestic’s historic strengths have always been around sourcing exciting, unusual wines – and having the expert store staff on hand to extoll their virtues.
“In recent years, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to say we have lost that focus.
“So I tasked the teams with curating new ranges they would be proud to stock. Wines which excite our customers and our store staff in equal measures. We are focusing back on our heartlands, those interesting parcels at the lower-premium end, which producers love making and wine lovers love exploring. There’s also a lot of brilliant wines lost to range over recent years which we have now brought back in too.”
The Spring range reviews, as well as wines the retailer plans to introduce in the summer and autumn, are all part of a wider trend within Majestic, Cooke said.
“We want to work closely with the trade to ensure Majestic remains the specialist retailer we believe the UK needs,” he added.
For Spring the retailer has doubled the total number of listings in its Australian wine range, to give the region “much greater shelf space and prominence”.
Australian wine buyer, Beth Pearce MW, said: “We are bringing in some new grapes from Australia including Fiano, Marsanne and Tempranillo.
“And we are introducing a raft of new up and coming regions too – including Tumbarumba and Gundagai. Personally, I think there’s some really brilliant stories to be told here.”
Pearce said it would also be increasing the number of Australian classics as well as “a strong showing” from key regions, including new Coonawarra and Barossa lines; while it is also reintroducing tried and tested customer favourites, including Peter Lehmann, Wakefield and Yalumba.
For New Zealand Pearce noted that the wines have always been a strong favourite for Majestic customers with Malborough Sauvignon Blanc topping its bestseller list. She said the key challenge has been how to encourage these customers to branch out and to explore a little further into the wide range New Zealand can offer.
She said: “Historically, we have encouraged customers to look away from New Zealand for experimentation, to Sancerre for instance. However, I am keen to really highlight the growing diversity and terroirs available in this part of the Southern Hemisphere. With Marlborough almost at capacity for vineyards, and such strong brands emerging across the islands – it is a very exciting time to continue our Kiwi story.”
Majestic has sourced from new regions and sub-regions, including Awatere, Wairau, and coastal sites. It is broadening its availability on alternative grapes, such as Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Gris and Albarino. It will add to its Sauvignon Blanc collection with more barrel-aged, organic and lower abv options. And it is also bringing in a renewed focus on Chardonnay.
Pearce added: “For me, New Zealand examples [of Chardonnay] are some of the finest in the world in value terms.”
Within its New Zealand portfolio it is also working with “exciting new producers”, such as Emma Marris & Ben Glover, while also adding brands such as Dogpoint and Greywacke. There will also be a big focus on reds wines from the country.
Pearce is also the company’s North America buyer.
She said: “The focus has been on sourcing those slightly more premium examples, wines which should tantalise our customer base and really show off the incredible regions and winemakers across the pond.
“We are putting emphasis on creating pricing ladders, which help customers find the brilliant value wines to be had at the £8-£15 bracket, where I feel USA really shines.”
Majestic will also be backing the new wave of Californian producers, particularly for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and it will highlight wines from Washington State.
It is introducing producers such as Rocklin Range (from Monterey), which has a focus on sustainability, and some natural wines from urban wineries. Pearce has also selected new Viogniers, which she says is “my pick of the next grape to really make the US its own for UK consumers”.
Wine buyer Joe Aylmer has selected rose wines to give more choice in this category and the range has been increased by 30%, particularly in New World offerings, as well as some more from Italy, Spain, Portugal, the rest of France (outside of Provence) and its first “core” English pink.
Aylmer said: “I am really excited about Italy in particular, and the Chiaretto style capturing our customer’s imaginations as a trade up from Pinot Grigio Rose, or more generic Southern French Provencal styles.”
Within Champagne and Sparkling wines, Majestic is adding new traditional method styles from across the globe, including its first Cremants (Jura and Bourgogne), and it has some English sparklings to introduce from Hambledon and Pommery, alongside ones from the US and Tasmania. It is also expanding its range of Champagnes, including relistings some customer favourites.
From other regions, Majestic is expanding its number of organic and biodynamic lines from the Loire and it is adding new Definition wines from both the Loire and Burgundy to give “quintessential examples” of Sancerre, Poilly Fume, Macon and more.