Although the regular Lidl promotions have been re-named Wine Tours (rather than Wine Cellar), they still appear every other month – and the latest one launches today.
Once again there is an eclectic mix of wines and much to warm the hearts of wine lovers – especially those on tight budgets.
Here is my take on the highlights from the latest collection.
As usual, for a bigger image of any pictured wine, just click on the bottle shot.
When the weather gods smiled benignly
The year saw early flowering, a hot summer, a dry run up to harvest and big variations between day and night temperatures (which help maintain acidity levels) and – consequently – some great wines produced.
For a good example of that quality, try the Wine Tour’s fresh but delicate 2016 Gavi del Comune di Gavi (£7.99 and 12.5% abv) with great texture, neat spicy hints and orange edged red apple fruit.
The year went well in Austria too
While the Granit version (£7.99) has splendidly typical austere, mineral tinges, my vote goes to 2016 Gruner Veltliner Terraces (£8.99 and 12.5%) with its leafy, apple and greengage fruit and its own particular style of savoury depth.
Head west for a great value red
Portugal provides an inexpensive white (Duoro Blanco at £4.99) and this similarly priced impressive red from the Duoro Valley. It is structured around port grapes like touriga nacional, touriga franca and tinta roriz (tempranillo).
With textured plum and raspberry fruit, 2015 Douro Tinto (£4.99 and 13.5%) punches well above its price point and those properties are attractively supplemented by hints of chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon – with a touch of graphite – but only limited tannin.
But keep going west
I was impressed by the substance and depth of 2015 Chile Cuvee Winemaker’s Selection (£7.99 and 14%) with its suggestions of walnuts, cocoa and nutmeg sitting behind the long, lingering bramble and blackcurrant fruit.
Meanwhile back in the core range
Enjoy, for example, the smooth, mildly spicy 2017 Winemaker’s Selection Chardonnay (£5.79 and 12.5%) with vanilla imbued lemon, apple and peach fruit and a buttery backdrop.
Note, however, that the vintage differs from the one in the picture
Equally, Coonawarra’s 2016 Winemaker’s Selection Cabernet Sauvignon (£6.99) is really well made fare with mellow plum and bramble fruit embellished by touches of chocolate and cinnamon, firm acidity but only very gentle tannin.
Best of the Rest
I am often asked about those “Big Red Envelope” promotions that have become very much the signature of Virgin Wines.
So here are two excellent wines they sell which score highly for both their quality and the price at which they are currently available.
After a dozen years under the corporate umbrellas of, first, Richard Branson and then Tony Laithwaite, Virgin Wines were the subject of a management buy-out in 2013 led by their current head honcho, Jay Wright.
Under his stewardship Virgin has become much more of a mainstream wine retailer and can also boast one of the best, up-to-the-minute web sites.
But what of their wines?
Behind its dark, textured “look and feel”, 2016 16 Little Black Pigs Cabernet Sauvignon (currently £8.99 – instead of £9.99 – at www. virginwines.co.uk and 14.5%) has smooth blackcurrant, bramble and red cherry fruit with sweet edges but touches of toffee and oregano too – and well judged tannin.
And in Europe
While 2017 Dragon Hills Pinot Noir (£8.99 at www. virginwines.co.uk and 12.5%) will never have the depth or earthy elements that make Burgundy so brilliant, it does have juicy but light, floral influenced raspberry and cherry fruit with firm acidity and background suggestions of clove.
Stand by for a new Aldi promotion that starts next Thursday. Details, of course, here at MidWeek Wines on Day One.
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