Lidl’s latest WIGIG “when it’s gone ….” Wine Cellar promotion begins today with impressive and well priced wines for you to savour and, as ever, I have picked out some highlights.
This collection includes several interesting East European wines – reflecting perhaps the unrivalled expertise in those regions of Caroline Gilby MW, one of the three Masters of Wine that Lidl use on special product selection.
Click on any of the bottles shown for an enlarged image to help you pinpoint the wine on a crowded display.
A neglected family member
Among the celebrated members of the pinot family (black and grey) scant attention is paid to the creamy textured and, often, pear centred pinot blanc – but in Alsace they exploit its strengths brilliantly.
True to form, there is depth, substance and pear fruit to 2015 Alsace Pinot Blanc (£5.99 and 12.5% abv) but this is neatly supplemented by clean apple based acidity and attractive suggestions of savoury spice.
Austria’s signature grape
Upriver from Vienna, the banks of the Danube seem to offer the perfect place to draw the best from Austria’s iconic gruner veltliner grape. It certainly does so with this version – the best, to me, of the variety’s three appearances in this collection.
There seems a aura of freshness and purity to 2016 Gruner Veltliner Terraces (£8.49 and 12.5%) that runs right through its green apple fruit, hints of lime and the soft and light – but decidedly savoury – texture that holds it all together.
Now for a red
Heading further east to Hungary we encounter one of Eastern Europe’s indigenous red varieties with a name, for some obscure reason, linked with Portugal – even though it bears no resemblance with any grapes grown there.
Quite light and soft, 2016 Villanyi Portugieser (£5.99 and 12%) has plum and bramble fruit, limited tannin and firm acidity – all gently wrapped in a herb and vanilla mellowness. Great value everyday drinking.
And for a more complex option
Portugieser links up with two other local grapes (with the largest contribution coming from the rather more sophisticated blaufrankish) to provide another well priced red from the same (relatively warm) Villanyi region in the south of Hungary.
Enjoy then the soft and juicy non vintage Granat Villanyi Cuvée (£6.99 and 13%) with its blackcurrant and damson fruit, lively freshness, gentle tannin and the same herb and vanilla backdrop.
Can’t keep France out for long
The last few Lidl Wine Cellars have made a point of including a well made and brilliantly priced Rhone red and this time it is a GSM blend (grenache, syrah and mourvedre) from the former rosé stronghold – but rising red wine star – of Lirac.
Fresh but attractively mineral based, 2015 Lirac Serabel (£6.99 and 14%) has really lively bramble fruit, carefully balanced tannin, good acidity and neat, concluding suggestions of cinnamon.
It’s Hungary for a dessert wine though
Given the stylish and elegant dessert wines of Hungary, it is no surprise to find ourselves back there, and recommending a wine made 100% from furmint – the grape capable of reaching such sublime levels of excellence thereabouts.
With gentle apple and orange fruit, 2015 Chateua Dereszla Kesoi Szuret (£7.99 and 9%) offers a delicacy and lightness that contrasts well with the honeyed texture and sweetness it brings to the party.
And bubbles to end with
While there is a lemon sherbet freshness to Cremant d’Alsace Brut (£7.99 and 11.5%) that is nicely complemented by apple, peach and ripe melon fruit that brings a sense of fullness and sweet edges to the finished wine.
Best of the Rest
A shaggy sheep story
It’s a lovely tale; sheep (pecora in Italian) being driven through the vineyards of Italy’s Abruzzo region head straight for these grapes ahead of all others – hence the name. Happily the wine is more reliable than the provenance of the legend!
And reliable 2016 Taste the Difference Pecorino (£6 – instead of £7 until 9 August – at Sainsbury’s and 12%) proves to be with its fresh, soft, uncomplicated, pear, greengage and white peach fruit supported by good acidity, savoury spices and a nutty backdrop.
Lovely summer red from Piedmont
Let’s stay in Italy for another typical summer wine; this time it’s a red from Piedmont and is made from a grape variety gaining traction in its own right after years under the shadow of the high status nebbiolo.
Soft and medium bodied 2014 Extra Special Barbera D’Asti (£5.48 at Asda and 13%) has tasty cranberry and red cherry fruit with lively acidity, mild tannin and a hint or so of vanilla.
Top Tip for Enjoying Wine.
Last time I cautioned against keeping wine in a fridge for very long – so how can one cool down white wine quickly? The best answer is do it slowly instead but sometimes needs must.
Personally I consider a half hour spell in the freezer too much of a shock – although some wine luminaries are comfortable with the idea. Those ice cooler jackets seem less dramatic and I have found them quite successful.
An ice bucket can work the same way but make it an ice bath instead.
Cubes only chill where they touch and you often need a road drill to get the bottle in deeply enough. Instead, use cold water with ice cubes added; this provides marginally more suitable temperatures and better total bottle contact.
Keep a cloth handy, though, for those inevitable drips.
….. Coming Next week
For a change next week, my post is broadened to cover a selection of wines that have brought a smile to my taste buds this summer regardless (within reason) of their price and from a wider band of suppliers. I hope you enjoy it but, in any event, things will be back to normal the following week for the Tesco promotion that starts on 9 August.