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Premium Discounter Discoveries – Lidl

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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Comments

6 Comments

Matthew Walkley

Some lovely looking picks here Brian. A little trip to lidl is in order. Particularly intrigued by the NZ white you’ve recommended.

Brian Elliott

Well worth a visit I believe Matthew and be interested in your thoughts on that NZ white blend. I enjoyed it but that does not seem a universal opinion.

Eddie Walker

Hi Brian. The Cabernet Franc interests me! I’m a bit of a Chinon/Bourgueil fanatic and have shopped regularly over the years in E Leclerc especially, in Chinon, for its very decent range of local wines whose quality seems more to be determined by age/vintage and the price charged for it, increasing as it gets older. I was in Sainsbury’s this week and got their only? CF, Morador, also Argentinian, priced normally at £9 but only £5.62 on a double-dip deal! A steal at that money. Hard to easily come by Cabernet Franc, it’s not to everyone’s liking, Sainsbury’s have one more, a Malbec blend, Artesano de Argento. These Argentinians are a long way from typical Loire offerings. Seem to lack the perfume effect though nevertheless very drinkable. I need to try this Lidl offering. They say it will keep for 2 years! That might be the trick if it can be resisted and lay some down. Cheers Brian.

Brian Elliott

Hi Eddie – Great to hear from you as ever. I am also a bit of a Loire fan so share your love of Bourgueil – more money but the Yapp website can really get your mouth watering. As you say, cabernet franc is normally much heavier away from the Loire but is still distinctive and that Lidl one is great but does need decanting or – as you suggest disciplined cellaring.

Chris Scott

Hi Brian
Hope this finds you and yours safe and well.
The PGR gets a thumbs up from me, a really interesting and enjoyable mix. I bought the SA blend you mention along with the howlings chardonnay following it’s hype on Sunday Brunch at the weekend.
Wasn’t really taken by that Malbec, just didn’t do it for me but did stock up on the Gestos which is a regular in these packages and always delivers for me. Added the Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel to the basket last week along with the McGuigan’s Crossing Pinot from Oz which was most enjoyable and made me go stock up.
Overall happy with what I got from this tour but made even better by the 5 bottles of Bissinger champagne that were down at £5 from the last. Every cloud……
Stay safe and drink well

Chris

Brian Elliott

Hi again Chris …. Great to hear your thoughts on those wines – and rather pleased that you seem to share my enthusiasm for the New Zealand blend. You are not alone in being less impressed than I was by that malbec but that is all part of the joy of tasting different wines. What is beyond dispute, however, is the quality of the champagne you secured for a fiver. Whisper it soft my friend or there will be a long snaking queue leading to your front door. Great to talk and much more fun than raising requisitions about imperfect titles!


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