I’VE been checking out Lidl wines over the past two weeks in the wake of the budget store’s so-called ‘claret offensive’.
The German firm has been buying up enormous amounts of Bordeaux, some of it relatively expensive, supposedly in a bid to bring in the type of wine-loving customers who wouldn’t normally give the store a second look.
It’s a strange sight to see a bottle of Pauillac at £25 in a store where I couldn’t find a packet of fresh coffee beans.
And it isn’t the case, as it may have been with Aldi recently, that Lidl has a few special offers on finer wines which disappear quickly from the shelves.
It looks like there’s plenty of this stuff available for the run-up to Christmas.
Added to the Bordeaux are bottles, in smaller quantities, from Burgundy and the Rhone.
They are laid out with nice food match suggestions and, perhaps allimportantly, scores out of 100 in the style of American wine critic Robert Parker. Arestel Cava Brut (£4.99)
Cava? Yes cava! Proper stuff as well from Catalonia, well-made and worth a look when you fancy a sparkler without a big outlay.
Fresh apple fruit and a hint of yeasty tang. Hautes-Cotes de Beaune P. de Marcilly 2011 (£7.99)
Alas, my bottle had fallen prey to minor cork taint, the scourge, it seems, of white Burgundy, which left the fruit very flat.
Elsewhere this has been lauded for its oak balance but the zing had all but left this bottle some time ago. Chateau Barthez Haut-Medoc 2009 (£8.99)
From a classic and ripe vintage, this wine is an absolute blast especially at this price.
It’s drinking beautifully now, with savoury blackcurrant and white pepper on the nose, understated oak, a hint of mint and a spicy finish.
If you’re looking for a steak wine this is it. Saint Joseph AOP 2012 (£8.49)
Easy going example of this Syrah with a hint of gamey flavours and generous cherry and damson fruit. Not bad for the price. Gigondas AOP 2013 (£9.99)
A relatively simple example of Gigondas with sweetish, plummy flavours. Good for meat casseroles. Montagny Premier Cru Les Bouchots AOP 2013 (£10.99)
Really good value here. I think if you’re looking for stylish white Burgundy at about this price you can’t do much better. Oak is very judged adding a buttery, vanilla aspect to the citrus flavours. Chevalier de Lascombes Margaux 2011 (£18.99)
Straight from Uncle Monty’s cellar from Withnail and I. The second wine of a Grand Cru Classé Chateau.
Lashings of classic Bordeaux blackberry fruit with elegant oak. An economical way to buy into top Bordeaux. Chateau TronquoyLalande 2007 Saint Estéphe (£18.99)
From a muchunderrated vintage with deep and sweetish blackcurrant fruit.
A delicious wine to savour on an autumn night.
●● Chevalier de Lascombes Margaux 2010