As last Friday’s “Headline” post revealed, a new Lidl Wine Tour is under way although, as is usual for this retailer, the January “Tour” is more modest than promotions later in the year.
Today, I look behind those headline selections and also pinpoint other Lidl wines – within the Wine Tour and beyond it – that deserve a second look.
2015 Squinzano Rossi Riserva Corte Aurelio (£5.99 and 13% abv):
Although the comments section on this site suggest there may be some bottle variation, this was my great value choice on Friday and here is what I said about it.
It has soft plum and cherry fruit with good acidity and firm (but not intrusive) tannin and is given an unusual complexity for a six pound wine by mellow cocoa and allspice depth.
This Puglia red is a blend that is led (at 70%) by the negroamaro grape – and I particularly want to focus on that variety in this detailed post.
It is of interest because Italian wine lists (especially in restaurants) can often be daunting and a reliable grape variety is the equivalent of a friendly face.
So, that “friendly face” in the modestly priced category need not be restricted to montepulciano and primitivo but can, I suggest, also include negroamaro.
The first obstacle to be overcome though is its name – which can be translated as “black and bitter”.
Although the dark colour of the grapes validates the first part of that translation the second part is less clear.
While the flavour is certainly savoury, it is not especially bitter and some say the word is simply used to indicate “not sweet”.
Others contend that it is actually an Italian corruption of the Greek word for black – making the name, perhaps, a bi-lingual “black/black”.
Its vines are reliable and adaptable producers but seem especially well suited to the terroir of Salento where its love of hot sunny climates (and indifference to water shortages) makes it hugely successful.
Traditionally, wine made exclusively from negroamaro was viewed as robust and unsophisticated and so the variety was often used simply to add backbone (and often alcoholic strength) to less assertive grapes.
Modern winemaking has changed all that and current versions are significantly more subtle and approachable – for a good example from a different retailer, check out Morrisons The Best Negroamaro (£7.25).
However, the variety continues to work well in blends and creates an especially successful alliance with the rich and aromatic malvasia nera – although blends with primitivo are increasingly common.
So, negroamaro is a name well worth putting on your radar when searching wine aisles or wine lists since it is usually a reliable, good value choice – frequently providing attractive spicy and often cherry centred flavours.
2018 Duck Point Cabernet Sauvignon (£8.99 and 14% abv):
Among the more expensive wines in this promotion – they go up to £9.99, this was the stand-out red for me and here’s what I said in that headline post
Enjoy the wine’s well defined, smooth cherry, plum and raspberry fruit that is neatly supported by just the right combination of acidic freshness and slightly chewy tannic bite.
The interesting point is that this is not from Australia’s recognised prime cabernet spots (like Coonawarra and Margaret River) but from the Barossa Valley – shiraz country!
In truth, there are 1500 hectares of cabernet sauvignon in the Barossa – obviously well short of the 7000 hectares devoted to shiraz – but still highly significant.
While the main valley is certainly very hot, some of the linking valleys and much of the higher ground is significantly cooler and can support varieties that like less heat – and too much of it can seriously impair cabernet sauvignon’s taste.
Elsewhere in the Wine Tour
Other wines I rated in this promotion were:
- 2019 Grower’s Club Mourvedre (£5.99) – Cherry, plum and cinnamon influenced Stellenbosch red.
- 2018 The Second Fleet Shiraz (£6.99) – Smooth, herbal, plum and cherry based varietal from the Limestone Coast.
- 2018 Hachon Ribera del Duero Roble (£6.99) – Good acidity with neat herbal touches but firm tannin.
Among the core range
To supplement my conclusions about the Wine Tour, here are three wines from Lidl’s core range that I think also represent excellent value for money:
- 2018 Winemaker’s Selection Awatere Valley Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (£6.99) – Soft apple, greengage and gooseberry fruit.
- 2016 Douro Reserva (£5.99) – Textured plum and cherry fruit with a savoury background.
- 2017 Winemaker’s Selection Barossa Valley Shiraz (£5.99) – Herbal blackberry flavours with chocolate depth.
Be back on Friday, folks, with two wines well worth seeking out for the weekend.
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