Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE - ANDY CRONSHAW

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

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