While other retailers use an on-going succession of wine promotions, usually refreshed every three or four weeks, Lidl have a different strategy – as many of you already know.
On a Thursday towards the end of alternate months, they extend their “Lidl in the Middle” concept with a Wine Tour containing one-off “while stocks last” parcels of wines at keen prices.
Last week saw the arrival of the May Wine Tour which contains 30 or so items – mainly priced from £5.49 to £7.99 but with a couple of dearer sparkling wines.
Once again, the Lidl website displays the Masters of Wine scoring results that can give helpful pointers to prospective purchasers.
Here, though, are 8 or so wines from the Tour that I also can recommend.
As ever, where hyperlinks and pictures are available, they appear alongside the text to help you find that specific wine
Let’s have a gentle start
Vinho Verde traditionally exported here is a great “casual drinking” (usually carbonated, low alcohol) white wine made from a blend of grapes local to that part of northern Portugal.
Recently, though, several of those blending components have emerged as “stand alone” varietals, including the avesso – which is often more aromatic and substantial than other local grapes – that features here.
Delicate but bright and with welcome texture, 2020 Encostas de Caiz Avesso Vinho Verde (£7.49 and 12.5% abv) has soft apple flavours with a hint of sweetness supported by good lemon acidity, a pithy grapefruit background and a nutty finish that includes traces of the sweeter spices.
But for my top choice white
Although often appearing in sparkling wines (like Cremant d’Alsace and Franciacorta), pinot blanc can make lovely, textured still white wines – especially, like this one, in Germany’s Baden region, close to the Black Forest.
Weighty and savoury, 2020 Junge Winzer Weisser Burgunder Baden (£7.99 and 13.5%) provides assertive pear, cooked apple and greengage flavours accompanied by evolving lemon acidity and touches of honey, allspice and fudge.
Rosé comes next
Back to Portugal for this wine – but going a little south of Vinho Verde country – for a (slightly more expensive than usual) rosé that skilfully walks the “pink wine” tightrope.
It manages to avoid being conspicuously dry (and, hence, not at its best without food) yet evades the trap of becoming a “drink anytime” option that carries too much residual sugar.
Pale and floral, 2020 Cabriz Rosewein Dão (£7.99 and 12.5%) is ripe but never sweet and brings us melon, strawberry and peach flavours combined with lively acidity and suspicions of baking spice and marshmallow.
Switching to red
For a great value choice, my vote goes to this typically intense but slightly rugged red from a difficult year in its homeland area – one of Languedoc’s biggest appellations, incidentally.
Aromatic and medium bodied, 2017 Corbières (£5.99 and 13%) delivers fruit-led bramble and red plum flavours partnered with good acidity, firm tannin and hints of anise, black pepper and a certain minerality.
Staying in that area
We head east from Corbiéres to a small appellation north west of Pezenas – Faugères – where complex geology and some high altitudes often makes life difficult for the army of small scale producers that operate there.
Full and very dark, 2019 Domaine Coudougno Faugères (£6.99 and 13.5%) contains ripe loganberry and prune flavours supplemented by firm tannin, good acidity plus liquorice and mint elements.
Now an unfamiliar grape variety
Mencia is not the best known grape variety even in Spain but it comes into its own in Bierzo – just to the east of Galicia – where it creates youthful, light, juicy reds that are perfect for summertime.
2019 Ceo Mencía Bierzo (£6.99 and 13.5%) offers us mineral influenced plum and cherry fruit, good acidity, firm tannin plus suggestions of cinnamon, allspice and eucalyptus.
Jetting off south now
Given South Africa’s climate and the way that shiraz is catching up cabernet sauvignon as the country’s most widely planted red variety, it is no surprise to see Rhone-style blends like this popping up.
Medium bodied but with a significant depth of flavour, 2019 Vis à Vis Shiraz-Mourvèdre (£7.99 and 14%) has herbal bramble and cherry flavours harmoniously married to lively acidity (but little tannin) and attractive oregano, baking spice and mint components.
And classic Aussie Shiraz
Although Lidl Tours normally keep Europe as their main focus, a couple of southern hemisphere reds are often tucked into the mix and here is a straight shiraz from South Australia’s Limestone Coast.
Full and dark, 2019 The Second Fleet Shiraz (£7.99 and 14%) provides rich but surprisingly soft mulberry and bramble flavours complemented by a neat balance between acidity and tannin with additional touches of thyme, clove and pepper.
I understand that Bank Holiday “25% off” deals are available until Monday at Sainsbury's and, for Clubcard holders only, at Tesco. As ever, check the websites concerned before shopping and note the limitations that apply to the promotions.
Join us again on Monday for our regular Top Tips selections and a look at what is current among supermarket promotions.
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