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Discounter Discoveries – Lidl’s latest Wine Tour

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. 

STOP PRESS

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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Comments

10 Comments

Eddie Walker

Hi Brian. The Caiz they currently offer that you have flagged-up has been available before. I still have one bottle in my ”cellar” and yes, I found it to be most enjoyable and it will come more into its own given the approaching summer days when we might enjoy it chilled and drunk al fresco, it’s that kind of bottle. Just to mention with this particular Wine Tour arrangement at Lidl there is a need when the new tour stock comes instore, because of the limited shelf space these shops have, there’s a need to relieve themselves of old tour bottles. Several of the branches in my area have large metal trays that they fill with the old bottles and reduce all of them to £3.99, regardless of their previous full price. And so the Miraflors that you recently flagged-up that was £8.99 suddenly reduced by £5! Better still at £3.99 was the Vacqueras that started out at £11.99, plus several others I was able to fill my trolley with. A massive saving for some very nice wines. May everyone have an enjoyable weekend approaching. Cheers now. Eddie …

Brian Elliott

You are right to call attention to Lidl “clearances” as there are some great bargains to be had. They seem to have a policy of “one price” for residual stock (currently £3.99 I believe) regardless of the original price. However, volumes and varieties will differ between stores and some stores will have no left over stock at all.

David Cronin

Hi Brian,
Loving the selection of reds this week, I’m especially interested in the CEO Mencia, hopefully it’s as good as the CEO Godello (which was brilliant value). I’ll probably stick a bottle of the Corbières & Shiraz/Mourvedre in the basket as well. The Second Fleet I’ve had a few times before and is very good.
I’ll have to shop at Eddie’s Lidl as we never have reduced stock in our local, £3.99 for the Bastide Miraflors, I would have bought the whole shelf.

Brian Elliott

As I said in my reply to Eddie, left over stock will vary from store to store – you seem unlucky. Glad you liked the selection – and Spain is the focus of next week’s post so that will suit you even more.

Erik Burgess

The good burghers of Englandshire and Wales are lucky. Our bargain bins are £4.99 due to minimum unit pricing here in Scotchland. Have enjoyed the Baden Pinot Blanc, CEO Godello and Mencia so far

Brian Elliott

Hi Erik and great to hear from you. As you say, minimum unit pricing does mean that wine priced below £5 elsewhere gets caught in the crossfire of arrangements to reduce consumption of high strength and low priced beers and spirits. There is increasing pressure though to see it introduced into other parts of the UK.

Eddie Walker

Just another piece of relevant here and interesting information on the way Lidl operate with regard to these reduced price bottles, the checkout guy said they had been ”sent” those Miraflors by another branch where they had stuck in the crates, because he said they had been able to easily sell their basic allocation! OK I get this in one respect of putting items in a place where they are known to sell most easily. But wow! how they will sell even more quickly given there is £5 a bottle reduction and I walk in and find a full half case waiting for me to take them off their hands without question!! Best deal financially from the Spring Tour was their Vacqueras at £11.99 but I could only find one bottle of that, in another store. And yes, it was £3.99 … bingo!!!

Brian Elliott

Interesting to see wine being shifted around even when about to go on a “give away” promotion deal. Good commercial logic though ….. Best …. Brian

Chris Barclay

There is no logic as far as I can see except that stores with predominant areas of religions that ban alcohol cannot shift wine, The managers in these areas tear their hair out as head office load up all stores as every “Tour” starts. Whites seem easier to source than reds which have a longer shelf life, and seem to be recycled back to the central warehouse. They often reappear in more appropriate geographical areas and do sometimes get remaindered a second time and then they go into the £3.99 specials bin. You do need to be very careful though with the white wines that go through recycling process too often and I was caught out with some 2016 Albarino’s so know your wines unless you like that sherried taste. I thought that buying some cases of the 2018 vintage from the same producer (yes I waited until they were in the £3.99 bin, and doing a 50/50 blend resolved matters without out drawing the companies attention as lets face it Lidl’s customers get great bargains every single week. I never pay more than £3.99 and set my bar at 88 points. Just get out there and do your research and plan your UK holiday so you travel to new areas at the “Change” date. Don’t do what I did and was puzzled when there was no specials bin in a strange town only to realise that Aldi and Lidl ere very close together. Thank you Brian for running such a fabulous service alerting us to all manner of bargains. You are a spot on Taster! acquired no doubt through many years of experience. I can even enjoy some of the sweeter whites now as well.

Brian Elliott

What a really helpful and informative comment – thank you Chris. Thank you too for the kind words at the end – I am really encouraged to hear that you have expanded the wines you are trying; that is one of the goals of the site. Reverting to Lidl’s organisation though, I have been impressed by how slick most things are. I visited one of their regional distribution centres a while back and was impressed to hear that stores in Scotland do not have rubbish bins. Everything goes back for recycling and the guy there told me he now makes more money from time expired items being re-cycled into animal feed than it costs to re-process them.


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