Cheaper by the dozen with these Majestic bargains

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YOU may well have a copy of Majestic Wine Warehouse's spring list to hand with its reams of offers and 800-bottle browse. But the too-clever-by-half blighters at Majestic HQ have decided the time is ripe to cram in another raft of discounts before the end of May.

Allowing that the minimum purchase has to be 12 bottles, any mix, any price, you can't ignore the fact they've halved the price of two (vintage, you will note) champagnes to 14.99, when you buy two bottles of either as part of a case - Heidsieck Gold Top 2000 Champagne and Nicolas Feuillatte 2000 Champagne. By the way, any champers with a year date on the label is a vintage - the rest are NV, non-vintage.

Among Majestic's other promos are 4 savings on Oyster Bay Marlborough Sauvignon, and Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon, and Reserve Chardonnay down to 4.99 when you buy two; Berberana Gran Reserva Rioja, was 9.99, but save 5 on two- 7.49 each; and top McLaren Vale Tatachilla Foundation Shiraz, was 14.99, but is 9.99 each when you buy two.

There are hefty cuts on Meursault Henri de Villamont (9.99 from 13.99); Chateau de Sours Rose (5.99, was 7.99) and on two Kiwi sauvignon blancs I rate highly - Lawson's Dry Hills and Jackson Estate, both down to 6.99 when you buy two.

You'll find their warehouses at Causewayside and Comiston, Edinburgh.

The rest of this week's offerings: Crozes-Hermitage Jann Chave 2004 (9.99, Majestic, as part of case) is all cherries, raisins, violets, plums and black pepper - and, as a final twist, delivers a blast of wintergreen! A savoury Northern Rhone red that fairly zips on the palate. Try steak au poivre, or sweet-meated spring lamb.

With its lime-citrus nose, Somerfield Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2004(4.99) is an everyday drinking Italian white that won't do you a mischief. Soft, dry and salad-friendly.

Gratien & Meyer Demi-Sec Cardinal (6.99, Morrisons) is a foaming red fizz from France's Loire Valley. But the bubbles don't stick around long enough to make it interesting - although its sweetish fruit will keep Auntie Mabel occupied for an hour at the family Christening. Beyond that, it is, well, red and fizzy.

Il Cortigiano Prosecco Frizzante (4.99, Majestic, but 3.99 when you buy six in case) is the perfect aperitif. It's only 10.5 alcohol, so your eyes won't cross, and it's got oodles of aroma - lemon citrus, apple, nuts and honey.

Please don't let this put you off - Cottesbrook 2004 Pinot Noir (6.99, Tesco) has a hint of hot puppy breath about it. But its savoury raspberry, plum, peppery prickle and delicious smokiness deliver in spades. From New Zealand, it's lightish, dry - and, dog or no dog, is delicious.

Matua Valley 2004 Chardonnay (5,99, Tesco) is another New Zealander, this time a buttery white with real depth of chardonnay fruit and just enough oak to waken you up. Robust.

Warming drinking chocolate fumes emanate from Porta Reserve 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Carmenere(5.99, Threshers, but 3.99 if you buy two with a third free). That and sweet raspberry, cherry and blackcurrant-laden fruit make this an extremely rounded Chilean red. PKNT Cabernet Sauvignon (4.99. Morrisons) - pronounced pee-kan-tee from the Spanish word for spicy - is a Chilean red with bags of fruit, hints of mint and a dry, blackcurrant-flecked finish. The fat red chilli on the label is eye-catching. Have it with a juicy steak.

Veramonte 2005 Sauvignon Blanc (5.99, Somerfield) is almost as clear as water. But don't let that fool you. It's a rich verdant wine, with crunchy green pepper aromas that fairly buzz across the palate, finishing off-dry, with drool-inducing savouriness. Prawn dishes and asparagus risotto will sit well.

Berberana Vina Alarde Reserva 2001 Rioja (8.49, Majestic, but buy two and save 5, end April) dishes up alcohol-infused raisins, cherries and pepper and is a medium-weight tempranillo to go with lamb dishes.

Bargain of the week

The Italians knocked back gallons of prosecco to celebrate the election victory, no matter whether they wanted Romano Prodi or Silvio Berlusconi to win. And like Berlusconi, prosecco can be a real smoothie - try the light and tiniest bit off-dry Prosecco Marca Trevigiana (3.49, Lidl), whose nutty-citrus tones sit well as an aperitif or with nibbles.

Wine of the week

Ring Bolt Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (7.99, Tesco) is utterly beguiling, with its plum, blackcurrant and mint aromas and, in the mouth, thoroughly rounded cabernet fruit, packed with violet and chocolate flavours. This is a knockout dinner party bottle from Western Australia - and like nothing you'd taste from Bordeaux.