As most of you know, Lidl institute a “Wine Tour” promotion every couple of months; it usually contains a parcel of thirty or so wines that are only available while stocks last.
Often, there is a central theme and, replicating Lidl’s so-called “Claret Offensive” almost exactly seven years ago, the focus for September Wine Tours has traditionally been classic French regions.
This time, though, the theme is New World wines.
Reflecting the changing landscape of wine prices, the average price per bottle is now up to about £7.30 with actual prices ranging from £4.99 (one white) to £9.99 (three reds).
I tasted a dozen or so of the wines in this latest promotion and here are my top picks from amongst them.
As usual, associated hyperlinks and pictures are used where possible.
Starting with one furthest away
Any wine related word association exercise would surely automatically link “Marlborough” and “sauvignon blanc” but this is a blend from the region that uses pinot gris, riesling and gewurztraminer.
All those components shine through with gewurztraminer adding perfume; riesling providing a burst of acidity and pinot gris joining in with depth and polish.
Slightly surprised to see the Lidl MW team not giving this wine a higher score – give a try and see what you think.
Aromatic with real freshness, 2020 Outlook Bay PGR Marlborough (£6.49 and with12.5% abv) brings us smooth pear, melon and peach flavours with modest tangerine acidity but a pleasing texture that provides substance and texture.
Then on to South Africa
Speaking of three-cornered blends, here is one from South Africa that, unsurprisingly, uses chenin blanc and chardonnay but then adds viognier to the mix to add extra complexity.
This seems to be another example of the increasing use of classic Rhone varieties in South Africa.
Bright and smooth, 2020 Vis à Vis White Blend (£8.49 and 13.5%) provides pear, apricot and red apple flavours built into a creamy texture that also includes hints of honey and caramel and is galvanised into life with pithy, orange centred acidity.
Turning next to a red
My pick of the inexpensive reds is this malbec from Chile’s Rapel Valley – an area, some contend, that produces fresher malbec than Mendoza and versions that, in texture, sit mid-way between Argentina and Cahors.
Now there’s a cue to give this a try – and judge for yourselves.
Smooth with limited tannin, 2019 Viajeo Malbec Gran Reserva (£6.99 and 13.5%) delivers raspberry, blackcurrant and damson flavours with firm acidity and touches of sage, dark chocolate and aniseed.
Staying in Chile
Here is another red from roughly the same part of Chile that, again, uses a grape variety not automatically associated with that country – cabernet franc.
The grape (cabernet sauvignon’s dad) has long been a blending partner in Bordeaux and also produces lighter, raspberry centred reds in France’s Loire Valley but, here, it displays flavours more reminiscent of darker and more substantial fruits.
Savoury yet smooth, 2019 Viajero Cabernet Franc Gran Reserva (£9.99 and 14.5%) features textured mulberry, prune and green pepper flavours accompanied by firm tannin and good acidity with cocoa, thyme and liquorice elements too.
NB: Both that wine and the next one benefit from decanting.
Finally to California
I guess everyone accepts that land prices (and demand) mean wines will seldom be cheap if they are from the best-known parts of California.
However, head for areas like Lodi (home to this wine) and further inland and good value wines can be unearthed especially – as here – from that region’s signature zinfandel vines.
Dark and perfumed, 2019 Bold Wine Old Vine Zinfandel (£9.99 and 14.5%) contains medium bodied cherry and blueberry flavours supplemented by good acidity, balanced tannin and touches of mint, cinnamon, butterscotch and a gentle edge of sweetness.
Join me again on Monday for what I recommend as Top Tips and for a whistle stop tour of supermarket promotions.
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