First off I need to make it clear that I am a fan of many wines that Lidl carry. When they run a French Wine Sale, like the one due to begin this Monday (Sept 12th), they bring additional wines into their stores. So, buy ’em now ‘cos they won’t be there when they’re gone!
(I should also add (as it may be a mystery) as to how the wine press is so familiar with these wines? Lidl bring us to France to taste them! This year the tasting was in Alsace and was led by Richard Bampfield MW – you know him by his friendly face in all Lidl supermarkets!)
Back to business. This Lidl French Wine Sale has something for everyone, is good value and the wines are available nationwide.
Here are a few that stood out for me as being fabulous: (they will sell quickly ….)
Alsace Grand Cru, Altenberg de Bergbieten Riesling 2013 €12.99 If you ever want to find out what the fuss in relation to well made Riesling (with a touch of age) from Alsace is then grab this. It’s fantastic.
Chateau Roylland, Saint- Emilion Grand Cru 2012 €19.99 Drinking quite young with a ton of well integrated structure and rich fruit to allow it to age well. Love the big strong finish!
GREAT VALUE PAIR
Alsace Sylvaner Vielles Vignes 2015 €8.99 This may be all peach and pear in a light body but it has a really fine poise that gives it good length and balance.
Chateau Pey de Pont Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2012 €11.99 Incredible Bordeaux red at this price. Finely perfumed with a generous heart of well ripened fruit stitched to a brilliant structure; all leads to a strong and exact finish. (Tuck a few away for Christmas?)
WORTH BREAKING THE BANK FOR PAIR – both red!
Comte de Moucheron Beaune 1erCru 2012 €34.99 Burgundy is often (correctly) quoted as being out of reach of our pockets! Perhaps this still is. That said it offers us the chance to try a truly excellent example of a rich vibrant wine with plenty of years ahead of it. If Pinot Noir does it for you then give this as a gift where you know it will be opened before you head home!
Virginie de Valandraud Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2014 €32.99 A really exceptional wine with a ‘big’ pour (always impressive – foolish, I know!) This just keeps on giving more as it opens up in the glass. Generous to a smooth fruit fault and held together with ease by a smooth but definite structure. All good.
Gorgeous vineyards at Blestheim Alsace
MY FAVOURITE PAIR THAT I WILL BUY FOR WEEKEND DRINKING….
Besides the Alsace Grand Cru above I really like the following two. Both have their faults (might not get high points on the Bampfield scale!) but they deliver for my palate and here’s why ..
Chateau Lalande Mausse, Fronsac 2013 €9.99 Beside the value here the fruit is exciting. I like to find young vibrant fruit in a wine. (I’m personally not a great fan of aged wines…!) In this case my money is well spent on a soft heart of richness and rewarded in a long and satisfying finish.
William Nahan Chablis 2015 €14.99 This has an edge of smokiness to it and a well textured palate. I like the ‘verviness’ of this where there seems to be a nervous tension ready to uncoil!
A Pair that I disagree with the Bampfield score on!
I don’t like 100 point scales but as they seem to work so well (ie consumers buy into the higher the score the better the wine ..) I do have to appreciate them. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with the scores! In general, though, if the taster is expert enough then these numbers will relate back to an objective set of criteria. Richard Bampfield is one such expert and in general I do agree with most of his scores. A couple caught my eye where we disagree:
Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge 2015 €17.99 (91 points) I despair at red Chateauneuf du Pape wines that drink no better, or indeed differently, than a good Cotes du Rhone Villages. Admittedly, this one drinks better than many of the €14.99 examples we see every weekend as cut price offers but then a €17.99 wine should drink well! I think this is poor value for money for a Chateauneuf du Pape and much prefer another Rhone in this sale the Vinsobres 2015 at €9.99 (89 points)
Mignot Pere et Fils Fleurie 2015 €10.99 (90 Points) This is a very dry wine. Too dry! Gamay should be succulent and overtly fruity with an imprint of the village it hails from. In this case it comes from Fleurie but tastes like a dried out Morgon.
Enjoy this Sale. In total it brings us 44 wines from across France. All good? No, but sure that’s the fun of it all! Some good? More than just some!
(Anything absolutely Worth Avoiding? I hate to point to a wine that just doesn’t work for me at all. After all, tasting is inherantly subjective. Every now and then though a wine just seems ‘wrong’! For me the Chateau de Roussellet Cotes de Bourgs 2011 at €9.99 is just ‘not right’.)