Today sees the start of another Lidl Wine Tour – the retailer’s promotion that appears every other month with a “when it’s gone it’s gone” selection.
This time the theme is France with some classic (but still well priced) offerings.
I am indebted to MidWeeker Chris B. for his strategy with these promotions that can best be described as “Building a Cellar on a Budget”.
It has six components:
- Identify (primarily) red wines with a high Bampfield score.
- See whether they are lauded on other sites (like this one).
- Buy a single bottle to try if in doubt.
- Wait until the specific Wine Tour is concluding.
- Buy half a dozen bottles when it’s “remaindered”.
- Keep them for 12-24 months.
It calls for patience (up to a two-year wait) and holding your nerve to hope it is sold at a significant reduction as clearance stock.
A few caveats though
Of course, there are risks (such as the wine not maturing well) although Chris points out that both Lidl and Decanter usually suggest a “drinking window”.
Another risk is that none will be left to sell off cheaply when the Tour ends; remaindered stocks vary appreciably from store to store.
Sometimes, then, buying at the standard promotion price will be the prudent tactic.
Storing whites is also possible but times will be shorter and grape varieties need to be chosen carefully.
Nevertheless, be prepared though for one or two not to work out – it is not a perfect science.
However, in most cases the result at the time you drink it will rival the quality of wine costing two or three times what you paid for it.
Don’t worry if that is not for you – just go along, buy what you fancy and drink it within a week (day) or so.
In that case, do decant these Rhone and Bordeaux reds – even just pouring into a jug and then back into the bottle.
In the usual way, pictures are used to help you locate any specific bottle but, as the promotion starts this morning, there are no hyperlinks.
So, let’s look at some Rhȏne’s
I sampled three of the red Rhȏnes and have consolidated my conclusions into a format aligned to Chris’s strategy as set out in the introduction.
All three are from an area northeast of Chateauneuf du Pape and two of them are from the second level down in the Rhône hierarchy which entitles them to add the actual village name to “Côtes du Rhône Villages”.
The third one (Vacqueyras) is from the top level (cru) group.
In one sense, they follow the form book – Vacqueyras is the best with, in particular, bright, well-defined fruit in a smooth texture.
In another sense, they defy convention.
Received wisdom says that Plan de Dieu wines are the keepers likely to be at their best after aging while wines from more northerly Seguret are for early drinking.
In my opinion, it is the other way round with these two examples.
I would be drinking the Plan de Dieu straight away while the Seguret is the one to which I would apply the “Chris strategy”.
As you might expect, the Vacqueyras should age nicely but then that is the most expensive of these wines.
Here are my tasting notes.
2021 Côtes du Rhône Village Plan de Dieu (£6.99 at Lidl and 14% abv)
Medium bodied with vague herbal touches, it has smooth cherry and raspberry flavours supported by citrus acidity and marginal tannin plus baking spice, plum stone and star anise elements.
2021 Domaine Grange Vieille Côtes du Rhône Villages Seguret (£7.99 at Lidl and 14%):
Minty and denser than the Plan de Dieu, it features peppery cherry loganberry and olive favours coupled with good acidity, modest tannin and suggestions of clove, liquorice and other savoury constituents.
2021 Organic Vacqueyras AOP (£9.99 at Lidl and 14.5%):
Here the cherry base is joined by damson – rather than soft fruit – flavours fired up by energetic acidity built into a smooth and soft black tea, chocolate, mineral and cinnamon texture.
Let’s try the approach with Bordeaux.
North of the city of Bordeaux, the left bank is divided into two appellations with Médoc at the sea end and the more prestigious Haut Médoc to its south.
As is often the case, the more expensive of the two wines I have selected is the better at the moment and it does come from a vintage that is expected to age especially well.
Cru Bourgeois is also a useful indicator of quality that sits just below the Cru Classé wines but its wines often provide really good value for money.
Its partner here is from what is thought to be (narrowly) a better vintage and from a more celebrated general area (Haut Médoc) and is certainly an excellent example for its humble £8 price label.
Both examples should be well worth keeping and allowed to mellow to reveal their full potential.
2019 Château Blagnac (£7.99 at Lidl and13%):
Textured with lively acidity, this exhibits cherry and blackcurrant flavours with firm, but not disproportionate, tannin.
Accompanying elements include menthol, chocolate, cinnamon and the right degree of savouriness.
2018 Château Pey de Pont Cru Bourgeois (£9.99 at Lidl and 14.5%):
Almost black in colour, this has smooth, prune, blackberry and mulberry flavours that appear straight after its typical claret aromas.
They lead into aniseed, cocoa and savoury tar and sage depth, good acidity and the slightly firm tannin to be expected of a wine with plenty of life ahead of it.
2021 Les 4 Vents Fitou, (£6.99 at Lidl and13.5%):
Languedoc’s Fitou appellation is in two parts, one coastal and the other more elevated and further inland.
Carignan and grenache play a big part thereabouts with, I sense, the latter taking the lead here – but, as with many Lidl wines, details of grapes etc are sparse.
Smooth and dark, it brings us bold raspberry, cherry and plum flavours with an appealing sense of richness.
Its additional constituents include a limited degree of tannin, tart acidity and traces of clove, vanilla and milk chocolate.
Looking at the remainder
2021 Domaine des Deux Vallons Muscadet Sevre et Maine Lie (£6.99 at Lidl, while stocks last and 12%):
Here’s another candidate from the crowd of vastly improved muscadet as the revival continues of a wine that lost its way around the millennium.
With initial delicacy it ends with a salty finish that works well when it is used as companion to fish.
Pale coloured yet gently perfumed, its backbone is light bodied greengage, cooked apple and pear flavours.
To these, you should add sharp but pithy grapefruit acidity and an oregano and thyme influenced texture that incorporates the said saline edge.
And for a rosé
2022 Miren de Lorgeril Grenache/Cinsault Rosé (£5.99 at Lidl and 12.5%):
Languedoc is pushing hard to rival Provence as a source of appealing, delicate but dry rosé.
As here, the process is helped by the success in Languedoc of the cinsault grape with its thin skins and, when yields are restrained, distinct but delicate flavours.
Pale in colour but nicely floral, this example features intricate cranberry, strawberry and crab apple flavours.
These are accompanied by a vague sweetness that is counterbalanced by quite sharp grapefruit acidity.
NB: Just seen the Bampfield Score for this wine (a thumbs down) but I disagree – so, try it for yourself and see what you think.
Heading back north now
2021 Camille Meyer Gewürztraminer Alsace Vieilles Vignes (£7.99 at Lidl and 13%):
Alsace is probably the prime region for the spicy gewurztraminer grape where it can also produce really exciting sweet wines.
Here, though, a dry version offers up a nice, intense version of what is probably a unique flavour among grape varieties and one that works so well with oriental food.
Perfumed but with spicy aromas too, this brings us vivid apricot, lychee and tangerine flavours to excite taste buds.
There is also just a trace of sweetness but, more importantly, citrus acidity to ensure that the freshness that eludes so much gewurz, does not spoil the party here.
Thoughts on Promotions from Eddie.
At the main supermarket outlets there seems to be a move away from the straight ahead 25% off buy 6 bottles offer, across the whole range of stock.
Even there, though, variations did appear in the deals – and anything under £5 was usually excluded.
Now, for instance, Morrisons seem to restrict their “25% off” deals to their ”The Best” range – but have reduced the qualifying volume from six to three.
Remember though that there are over 80 bottles to choose from in that range.
There is also a lengthy run time (until 8th August this time) and a supplementary 2 for £10 deal on certain cheaper lines.
Single bottle reductions also still feature.
One that springs up is Brian's 17th July recommendation of the Casillero Del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, normally £7.50 but with a £1 off.
Sainsbury’s have also introduced a “25% off when you buy three from the premium range” scheme but their recent one has now finished.
See, however, Barry’s Update in the Comments Section.
Tesco and Co-op take a different line limiting reductions to loyalty card holders.
Meanwhile, Waitrose have an extensive range of excellent price reductions which look to finish on August 1st.
Asda haven't made a showing with a 25% off deal for a while now so it could be one is due.
See, however, Eddie’s Update in the Comments Section.
When it does there's at least one new, young, fresh and fun Spanish red that should rock anybody’s boat for very little money! More of that on another day.
Finishing where we started, with Lidl
Picking up on today’s main feature, the new Lidl (French) Wine Tour may mean that a store near you will have reductions on the previous Wine Tour bottles to free-up those wooden crates!
If you do see these reductions, be careful because sometimes they are not as advantageous as they once were – when everything dropped to £3.99 regardless.
Lidl seem to be structuring reductions differently so maybe £2 is the most we now get off any bottle, and some are just a £1 less than their previous selling price.
Tesco have just announced a “25% off when you buy 6” promotion for Clubcard holders that runs until Monday. Here is a link to the website but do check the details carefully.
Tune in again on Monday when value at budget price points is, once more, the theme of my latest Top Tips post.
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