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Discounter Discoveries – Lidl’s Latest Wine Tour

Next month it will be eight years since Lidl launched its “Claret Offensive” – a £12m promotion on premium French wine.

Many of its components were priced at two thirds the level wine drinkers would have been charged elsewhere.

Support, in the form of an explanatory booklet about the wines, was written by the hugely respected Jamie Goode.

The whole operation was so successful that it drew superlatives from the usually conservative hierarchy at Lidl’s HQ near Stuttgart.

That promotion was followed by a similar exercise a few months later (with the supporting booklet written by me that time).

Subsequently the whole process morphed into Lidl’s two monthly Wine Tour promotions.

The latest of those Wine Tours was launched a week or so back.

So, this week’s Sunday Best and Friday Treats features have been replaced by a close look at a selection of the wine that July Wine Tour contains.

Here are the options from that selection that I enjoyed the most.

Pursuing my traditional format, images and, where possible, hyperlinks accompany the assessments of the wines.

Sound red at a great price

Despite being one of the largest areas within Languedoc, Corbieres reds are quite distinctive and often more intense than wines from neighbouring areas.

Here is an excellent example of what it does well – diverse fruit analogues, a neat array of background flavours and a keen price that compares favourably with similar quality wines from elsewhere.

Medium bodied and carrying its alcohol level well, 2020 Chateau St Eutrope Corbières (£5.99 at Lidl and 14% abv) provides impressive plum, loganberry and cherry flavours.

That foundation is partnered by firm tannin, good acidity and suggestions of lavender, chocolate, cinnamon and a vaguely slate savouriness to create great value red wine. 

Further up the price ladder

While Langudeoc – deservedly – gets lots of limelight currently, one of its neighbours (Roussillon) merits more days in the sun too.

This is a typical red from the part of Roussillon hard up against the Spanish border that produces the Banyuls vin doux naturels.

It is an attractive, powerful, well-made option that is well worth seeking out – even if the £11 price tag does (to me) feel a tad on the heavy side.  

Big bold and intense, 2019 Notre Dame des Anges Collioure (£10.99 at Lidl and 14%) delivers smooth, sweet-edged mulberry and plum flavours.

Those components are supplemented by hints of mocha, oregano, liquorice and cinnamon with a slightly tarry background and firm tannin but good, fresh acidity.

The constituents of this blend add carignan to the classic GSM combination so familiar in Southern France.

Next, then, a rosé

As I have said before, Languedoc is pushing hard to capture – or, at least, rival – the “King of Rosé” crown held for so long by Provence.

This Languedoc example performs that elusive trick of using ripeness to add an attractive layer of sweetness to a wine while staying well clear of cloying sugariness.

Textured but with floral aromas, 2021 Vallée du Sud Languedoc Rosé (£6.99 at Lidl and 13.5%) has red apple, melon and cooked rhubarb favours to titillate taste buds with peach elements adding that ripeness I mentioned.

In addition, there is a contrasting savoury background with faint aniseed touches, all given verve and vitality by lively pink grapefruit and orange acidity.

Next a couple of whites

Of course, those iconic chardonnays from the Cȏte d’Or rightly strut their stuff at the pinnacle of the wine world.

However, the nearby Mȃconnais also wins friends  but through the freshness of its wines, their increasing sophistication and, crucially, their significantly lower prices.

Here is a typical example of those wines, nicely configured and – in the context of Burgundy overall – at a fair price.

ȃSoft with a citrus blossom bouquet, 2020 Collin-Bourisset Mȃcon-Lugny (£9.99 at Lidl and 13%) exhibits smooth mango and orchard fruit flavours coupled here with sharp lime acidity and suspicions of herbs.

Now for the star of the show

Although the shortage of Marlborough sauvignon blanc has not been as acute as many expected, the resulting potential for problems precipitated fresh looks at other sauvignon producing places.

One obvious such place was an earlier prime source of the variety, the Loire Valley, and here is a brilliant example of the quality that can be found there.

It is a text-book illustration of the perfect balance between lively acidity, a savoury background and complex fruit taste-alikes.

Do not be deterred by the £12 price label; this is well and truly worth it.

Ripe and with real depth, 2020 Prestige du Haut-Bois Pouilly-Fumé (£11.99 at Lidl and 13.5%) features sweet-edged but restrained apple, melon and white peach flavours as its central theme.

Those components are coupled with floral aromas, subtle saline influences and perfectly judged lime acidity. 

Finally to fizz

Although this champagne does not quite rival the 2021 July Wine Tour version – at £20 it is a great value example of premier cru champagne. 

While the classification system governing Champagne’s 300+ villages is not an absolute quality guarantee, it is a pretty solid indicator of what to expect.

Insiders seem to accept that grapes from the 42 premier cru villages (and the 17 – grands crus – above them in the hierarchy) are usually responsible for superior champagne.

Champagne Premier Cru Senneval (£19.99 at Lidl and 12.5%) cements its Premier Cru credentials with the softness, creamy texture and gentle mouthfeel that seems to characterise champagne from those villages.

Supporting elements then arrive in the shape of toasty aromas, good lemon acidity and apple, pear and orange flavours.


Most supermarket promotions are now “mid-term” including two offers that close on 9 August (at Waitrose and Sainsbury’s) and those at the Co-op and at Morrisons that both end on 16 August.

Fuller details of those deals were set out in last week’s post so drop back there to have a look.

The main new one is at Tesco and here is a link to the site

There you will see that Clubcard holders are offered an extensive range of price reductions which include 11 wines from Tesco’s premium (Finest) range.

Branded wines also feature significantly with reductions of £1-£2 on five Campo Viejo wines and £1 reductions (to £6.50) on six from the Casillero del Diablo range.

Most – but not all – of those deals end on 15 August 2022.  

What’s happening at Asda

Asda have an array of promotions under their “Rollback” mechanic.

Aside from those deals, they also recently sent me a selection of seasonal tipples and I was impressed by their Extra Special Cote de Gascogne and the Extra Special Soave Classico; both are currently at or under £6.

My top red from the selection, however, was the Extra Special Carmenere that led Monday’s Top Tips, but today’s Star Buy below was the pick of the whites for me.

Star Buy from Promotions

While the Casablanca Valley probably led the way for sauvignon blanc in Chile, other areas have now joined the party.

The Colchagua Valley has earned a great reputation for excellent carmenere, but parts of the region near to the Pacific also produce attractive cool-climate whites like this sauvignon.

Rounded and intense, 2021 La Corriente Sauvignon Blanc (£6.50 – instead of £7.50 until 7 September – at Asda and 12.5%) brings us ripe orange and mango favours enlivened by grapefruit and lime acidity.

A neat savoury balance is maintained courtesy of its textured herb, asparagus and green pepper components that provide a sense of versatility and complexity.

My next post (on Monday) contains details of the latest Top Tips at the “under £8” end of the market – join me then.

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Andrew Walmsley

Just wondering if you tried the St Estephe Chateau Martin, and if so what you thought of it‽
I can’t find much online.

Andrew Walmsley

Brian Elliott

Not tried it myself yet, Andrew, but I am gathering intelligence on it. Will pass on what I hear.

Brian Elliott

Getting good reports on this and will sample it myself shortly. Meanwhile, seems well worth a punt on an initial single bottle to see whether it works for you

Eddie Walker

Hi Brian. Prescient today since I just walked back in the door from my weekly Lidl shop to find your Mid Week email. Their magazine didn’t show exactly the same as the online French/Summer Tour offerings so I was pleasantly surprised to find the Tuffeau Saumur Cab’ Franc in the crates added, to have a bottle of that. Too little Loire red choice around, so pleased to have this. They have the same producer’s Chenin too but I took a bottle of the Cotes du Rhone blanc at £5.99, I’d already decided to try. Again, not a lot of these southern Rhone whites around to go at. Must try more of these French offerings at Lidl and your recommendations over the next few weeks. Thank you and cheers as always …

Brian Elliott

Good to hear from you as ever, Eddie. Be interested in your thoughts on the white Rhone in particular. I have a bottle of the cabernet franc heading my way, so will be pleased to try that. I think we share a feeling about how Loire reds are often underestimated …. Best.

mark j MacMillan

Love Loire wines.Have enjoyed so much over the trips to Nantes

Brian Elliott

You, me and Eddie Walker (see other comments) are on the same page with this. The sheer versatility of vines on its river banks amazes (muscadet, chenin blanc, cabernet franc, pinot noir and, of course, that sensational Pouilly Fumé sauvignon). Incidentally, that Lidl promotion has a Loire cabernet franc which is typical and enjoyable – rather than exceptional – and, heading further afield, a nice Morgon that probably IS exceptional for its £8.99 price label.

Chris Barclay

The Morgon you mention is big, I believe13.5%, the 2020 from Collin Bourisset perhaps my favourite negotiant also supplying The Macon Lugny you raved about earlier loving the sweet fruit flavours and high acidity.

Collin Bourisset also had a lovely 2019 Fleurie from an earlier Wine Tour but it was so good i’m almost out.

I still have 4 bottles of the Prestige du Haut-Bois left and I think I paid £5.99 and having your tasting notes above helps me understand why I loved it. It’s sweet fruit in perfect balance with high acidity. Richard Bampfield keeps giving us this it’s his trademark and Lidl buyers have learned to look for it.

It is also valuable to have your tasting notes for 2 reds that I have laid in a cold cellar. I look forward to opening my 2019 Notre Dame des Anges Collioure as a real treat awaits me.

Similar sentiments on Chateau St. Eutrope and it’s the sweet fruit/acidity balance trick and beautifully described by you above. Again 14% alcohol so patience will be rewarded I hope.

I had no idea Brian that you had such close links to the wine team in Lidl so you have 10 + years experience of their wines. This team are way ahead, stay with same wines where they can, are leagues ahead on price. It all makes it easy for the customer to remain loyal.

Brian Elliott

Ah! Beaujolais. I do love the way that reds from the north of the region (like Morgon) are getting more Burgundian in style (but not, mercifully, on price yet). Good plan to lay a few down. I did indeed have good contacts in Lidl as I was the first mainstream newspaper journalist to pick up on the quality of their wines. They appreciated that, and I had good steers from them when something impressive was happening. That changed though when they appointed three MW’s (including Richard) to promote their wines. A sound strategy since there were still many doubters about quality, so giving customers reassurance with endorsements from industry heavyweights made commercial sense.

Chris Barclay

Brian you recommended the Collin Bourisset Macon Lugny 2020 above and I’m enjoying it right now and I was puzzling the fruit and yes it is mango and it’s overlain with a hint of Marmalade and the wine is on fire inside my mouth and the finish never ends and the sugars have evolved into a hint of honey and yes I have 5 bottles left. Thank you Brian, thankyou Lidl and thank you France!

Brian Elliott

Mȃconnais is a great region – classy wines but not (yet) prices that match it. I hesitated between orange and mango when describing the taste here but you have the right idea – refer to them both, in effect.

Chris Barclay

Brian am I correct in hoping for a French Wine Tour coming up next at Lidl? Perhaps they have invited you to a tasting or sent you a few samples to allow you to tempt us in?

Reading through everyone’s comments above French wine making is growing in stature and here is another glowing report from me on last years Tour’s Cotes du Rhone from Domaine Sainte Cardille. This 2020 vintage was 13.5% and only rated at 86 points by Richard Bampfield however James Button on Decanter said 90 points. I am sipping it right now and I’m with James and I’m thinking 91 points! Plums, strawberries and bags of acidity, modern in style and very enjoyable tannins. Full price was £5.49 however dropped to £3.99.

Looking at the summer wine tour bins in the store today there were 12 wines rated at 89 or above and all are inexpensive so biding my time to see what gets reduced when the summer wine tour ends.

Every time the bank interest rate increases, wine sales seem to drop, so building a cellar makes sense especially for folks that have paid off their mortgage. Here’s hoping Brian finds some age worthy wines in his travels!

Brian Elliott

It is indeed a French Wine Tour next, at Lidl kicking off I believe on 20 July. It seems to contain three red Rhones priced at £7.99 – reflecting the price drift you mention. Riding the offers to build a small collection does seem a sound plan as price stability appears to be a little way off yet.

Chris Barclay

From a single tour, my 4th recommendation from Collin Bourisset despite the fact that they “lift their label” by announcing themselves in gold leaf; they actually do deserve to honour their name, having delivered for generations and setting a fine standard for young staff blood or wines entering their ranks!

Brian you must love their wines as they deliver on the few remaining affordable appellations that survive in Burgundy. I’m sure these are mainly rejects from the ‘lower quality’ barrels from vineyards that mainly rate 93 points and above! and cost 4 times as much so buy them, enjoy and let us hear what you think!

I thought this a perfect summer red, easy drinking and unoaked, with plenty of fresh and crunchy red berry fruit. Pleasantly surprised that Decanter loved it and gave it 91 points. Tangy and appetising, I’d serve this with charcuterie or just sip.

Fortunately I bought a load at £3.99 alas this may not happen again. If you find juicy Burgundy at low prices then grab it! There is a lively spirit in the glass so go for it.

The sting in the tail for Brian to comment on is why does my Lidl catalogue only proclaims 86/100 so Brian are politics in the air here and could there be left wing revolutionisers at play?

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