The latest Lidl Wine Tour is now nicely under way and supplies should be in most stores by now.
Once again, it contains around 30 wines which are listed on the usual “when it’s gone it’s gone” basis.
It does illustrate that wine prices (like food prices) are continuing to rise if you want good value options that meet the quality levels you, I (and this website) require.
As well as tasty wines, however, the content of the “Tour” also answers broader questions for wine enthusiasts – and here are four of them.
- Which Spanish grape variety is a hot tip for continued success?
- Where in Italy is a good source of quality, but beautifully balanced, sweet wine?
- Which Chilean grape variety offers particularly attractive savoury influences?
- Which Aussie region was a leader in producing unoaked chardonnay?
The six impressive wines from the “Tour” I have chosen to feature today help to answer those questions.
I hope that you, too, enjoy tasting them.
Once again, pictures and hyperlinks are included where possible to make it easier to track down the wine in question.
Starting with a trend setter.
2021 Eje Monastrell (£7.49 at Lidl while stocks last and 14% abv):
My advice for anyone looking for powerful but different red wines would be to seek out monastrell from Spain.
Largely used elsewhere for blending, the variety works brilliantly on its own – aided, in southern Spain, by the warmth and sunshine it loves – and can offer excellent value for money.
With a fruity nose and nicely rounded, this example from Alicante has a foundation of ripe blackcurrant and plum flavours.
These are coupled with gentle tannin but lively acidity and suggestions of espresso, black pepper, aniseed and olives.
NB:- Price on the Lidl website may be awaiting an update
What’s the opposite of a sweet tooth?
2021 Viajero Carménère Gran Reserva (£7.99 at Lidl while stocks last and 14%):
If you are a fan of fruit-charged red wine with ripe, slightly sweet edges, this is probably not for you.
It is, however, a skilfully made option that shows off the distinctive savoury qualities that the carmenere grape brings to the party.
“Coffee, grilled meat, celery and soy sauce” is how Oz Clarke describes those particular parts of the variety’s repertoire (in his excellent Grapes & Wines book).
Smooth and dense, it delivers the type of savoury backdrop Oz describes courtesy of a cocktail of elements that include mocha, dark chocolate, paprika and fig.
Other constituents in this version from Chile’s Rapel Valley are prune, dried raspberry and cherry liqueur flavours along with good citrus acidity and modest levels of tannin.
Switching to a White
2022 Müller Grüner Veltliner (£6.99 at Lidl while stocks last and 12.5%):
If you have yet to catch up with the joys of Austria’s grüner veltliner grape this excellent and well priced example is the perfect place to start.
It is a versatile grape producing crisp and aromatic white wine which, in this case, performs well above its £7 price label.
Soft with appealing floral aromas, this one delivers smooth pear, white peach and melon flavours.
A gentle herbal finish combined with enlivening, sharp evolving acidity complete the picture.
An early adopter still doing really well.
2021 Scrubby Rise Chardonnay (£9.99 at Lidl while stocks last and 12.5%):
With a bit of elevation and cooler temperatures, Adelaide Hills is very much a rising star among Australian wine regions.
It was an early adopter of the unoaked Chardonnay style when heavily oaked versions fell out of favour and is still producing good examples – like this one.
Bright in appearance but light in colour, this brings us medium bodied red apple, melon and white plum flavours.
Accompanying elements include sharp grapefruit acidity and touches of citrus peel and lemon curd.
Stepping up the price points.
2021 Deidesheimer Riesling Edition (£12.99 at Lidl while stocks last and 12%):
Germany’s Pfalz region remains a part of that country where riesling is king – and Mittelhaardt is the region's heartland.
There, terroir and acidity are both spectacular and at the Mittelhaardt’s southern end lies Deidesheim (home to this wine) and a place where almost all the vineyards are classified as “exceptional”.
This Deidesheimer is not a blockbuster or wine with honeyed sweetness but is an excellent example of elegant, subtle and high quality, dry riesling.
Beautifully clean and fresh, it features zesty greengage and apple flavours with a vague savoury background.
Herbal hints also emerge as part of its smooth clean depth, but all are given verve by a prickle of pink grapefruit and lime acidity.
NB: This describes the 2021 vintage, some stores may hold wine from years I have not sampled.
Ending on a sweet note
2020 Recioto di Soave (£11.99 for 50cl at Lidl while stocks last and 13%):
Full marks to Lidl for including this in the current Wine Tour since it is (a) sweet and (b) relatively dear.
It is from a region to the east of Italy’s Lake Garda and applies appassimento, post-harvest, grape drying techniques to the local garganega variety.
The result here is spectacularly good with the wine's rich sweetness beautifully counterbalanced by exactly the right amount of acidity.
Golden and delightfully aromatic, it exhibits viscous apricot, lychee and honey flavours to provide a complex and multi-dimensional sweetness.
Further complexity comes in the shape of polished marzipan and fudge components and vibrant citrus acidity to provide that essential balance.
STOP PRESS DETAILS FROM EDDIE
Following on from Asda's declaration of 25% off buy-6-bottles Sainsbury's follow suit with one that started on Wednesday 24th and will run until midnight on May Sunday 28th, to coincide with the holiday weekend. As ever there are some exclusions and conditions but be on the look out for the double-dips that make such a difference to the repeat purchasing of favourite bottles.
Tesco too have a similar 25% off buy 6 until May 29th , but it does attach to having a Tesco Clubcard as the main condition of getting their offer!
After today’s glimpse of wines at a range of prices, it’s back to budget (but great value) fare in Monday’s Top Tip selections.
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