Wine Press: Award-winning wines from Lidl which are kind to the pocket

WE’RE all watching our pockets at the moment. Never more so than when we’re still paying off those random online buys in the New Year sales.

I thought I’d check out Lidl’s wines after browsing  the interweb and discovered the retail chain sells several award-winning wines at surprisingly low prices. How would the Price Taste Ratio fair, I wondered.

Since 2008, Lidl has won more than 200 awards from The International Wine and Spirits Competition, The International Wine Challenge, Decanter World Wine Awards and Quality Drink Awards.

The company sees that as “a very encouraging sign that we’re picking wines of good quality”. Here’s a glance at some of those award-winners.

Cimarosa Chilean Merlot I thought it was ok. Then I remembered Lidl was knocking this out at £3.99 a bottle. And I realised it was exceptionally OK indeed.

What does £3.99 buy you. A pint of bitter? Seven pints of milk? In this case, £3.99 buys you a double award winner (bit surprising) that won’t offend, isn’t heavy, and can service the full sweep of food from monkfish to marzipan.

It does come in that sort of bottle that screams cheap. But it’s Ok. It’s £3.99! Stick it in a decanter!  No-one need ever know the truth.

Cepa Lebrel Rioja Doca Joven Lidl wines
Cepa Lebrel Rioja Doca Joven, Lidl

Cepa Lebrel Rioja Doca Joven (£3.99)  Won bronze at the International Wine Challenge 2013. This is a young wine with a simple personality. Aromas of strawberries, cherries and  a twizzle of liquorice  are found nose-dip deep in the glass.  There’s a good spicy glug of fruit with a tongue-tip tannic dryness on the roof of the mouth. It’s not going to rock boats but I enjoyed its simplicity.

Chardonnay Vin de Pays d’OC  IGP  (£4.09)  was commended at the International Wine Challenge  last year.  It has light aromas of apples and pears and a touch of peach. It has a pleasant stone fruit taste –  not oodles of deep  flavours but has a fresh acidity which together with the fruit could make it an ideal midweek bottle to share.

Allini Asti Spumante  (£5.25)  Won bronze in the Decanter World Wine Awards 2013. It has  a sherbert dip aroma of peaches and limes. A gentle fizz, and  peaches to taste.

A few minutes after sipping, I ate a Jaffa Cake. Not interesting in itself, but then I tasted the wine again. It was really lovely. It’s not a wine for people who squeak  at  sweet things,  but otherwise a good  fiver’s worth of a fizzy-fresh pairing to chocolate orange dessert.  Or just drink with Jaffa Cakes.

Also in my glass

Le Petit Chat Malin. There are three wines in the brand; the rosé is a  blend of Grenache Noir, Cinsault and Syrah and  the white is made up of Grenache Blanc, Marsanne and Rousanne.

The red is a blend of old vine Grenache and Syrah. This is an easy-drinking and reasonably-priced red (£4.99 at Booths/£5.99 at Waitrose). From the sunny Languedoc-Roussillon region of  France, there’s plenty of juicy fruit notes and a slight hint of spice on the finish that adds an extra dimension.  A bit of a bargain if you can find it –  other stockists include Londis, Nisa and Bargain Booze.

Published in the saturday extra magazine February 15, 2014

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

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