Lidl's' “when it's gone its gone” promotions now work on a bi-monthly basis and its Christmas offers start this morning.
They contain over forty wines and the overall standard is very high but here are a few of the highlights.
Since it is a Christmas collection, I have concentrated on higher than normal price points but the full list does contain a couple of good £6 wines too.
As usual, click on the image for a bigger picture to help track down the bottle in question..
Surprisingly complex for the price
I particularly enjoyed the combined lemon and red apple fruit in 2015 Sassi del Mare Falinghina (£7.99 and 13.5% abv) but was also impressed by the lightness of the texture and the extra complexity its concluding touch of spice introduces.
Well priced Loire sauvignon
There is typical freshness and firm acidity in 2015 Fief des Pierres Blanches Quincy (£8.99 and 13.5%) but those lemon influences are attractively supplemented by peach centred depth and just a hint of minerality.
Great example of modern Rioja
Switching to reds, modern style Rioja has won the region many new friends by successfully turning up the acidity level and fruit contribution but strictly controlling the tannin and oak based elements.
Those characteristics come through clearly in the well-priced 2012 Glorioso Rioja Reserva (£9.99 and 13.5%) where there is a real lightness to the cherry and red currant fruit which is, indeed, enlivened by bold acidity and where its cinnamon and muted tannin finish provides a stylish sign-off.
Naturally, there is claret on the list!
Of the main Bordeaux Medoc communes, Saint Julien did better than most with the very challenging 2013 vintage and, if some of its wines lack the unbridled power of better years, many have proved to be ready earlier than usual.
With soft cranberry, blackcurrant and raspberry fruit, 2013 Chateau Moulin de la Bridane Saint Julien (£13.99 and 12.5%) is certainly ready and – with the help of a lot of skilled winemaking – brings us good quality, medium bodied claret with proportionate tannin and firm acidity.
Revel in the depth and texture of Amarone
With its careful grape selection and flavour intensification through weeks of drying before pressing, amarone is certainly the aristocrat of valpolicella red wines and this is not only an excellent example but a very keenly priced one too.
The depth and texture of 2012 Amarone della Valpoicella (£12.49 and 15.5%) shine through clearly here to show off the wine’s bold loganberry and red cherry fruit – with only gentle tannin – and the pepper, clove and vanilla backdrop that supports it.
Possibly a fizz you have never tried
Full marks to Lidl for sourcing sparkling wine from the small “fizz only” Franciacorta appellation in Lombardy with this chardonnay-based special at an amazingly competitive price – and unlike prosecco, this is made by the traditional method.
Pursuing the points of difference with prosecco 2012 Borgo Regio Franciatorta (£8.99 and 12.5%) is a much more savoury wine with a chalky mineral background. It had rave reviews at recent Wine Gang events, but try a bottle and see how well it ticks boxes for you.
And so, of course, to Champagne
Here though are more traditional bubbles with one of the four mid-teen priced champagnes in this latest Lidl collection. While not being the most expensive, this did – by my reckoning – out score the other three.
There is attractive, soft apple fruit to Champagne Bissinger Premium Cuvée NV (£16.99 and 12%) that is nicely balanced by firm lemon and lime acidity and a slightly nutty backdrop.
Six sumptuous sweeties
Canadian ice wine is incredibly costly to produce, so 2015 Pillitteri Estate Vidal Ice Wine (£14.99 for half bottle in a box and 11%) is remarkable for it price alone – but its sophisticated smooth orange flavours, raspberry style acidity and tongue tantalising density take it into a different league.
By the way, there is also a cabernet sauvignon version this year that one of the MW's involved in the selection process rates even more highly than the vidal.
Finally, home to port
Despite being tawny in style, Colheita ports, eschew the customary “20/30 year etc decade ladder” to bring us single vintage wines that, of course, have spent the lengthy barrel time needed to create that tawny colouration.
1997 Colheita Saint Clair Port (£14.99 and 20%) is a lovely and well priced example – with Christmas style nuts, dried fruit and oranges among its cocktail of flavours but, above all, it has exactly the right counterbalances between its fresh acidity and the gentle sweetness it delivers.
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