Lidl wines on a roll as summer selection hits the shelves

Lidl wine reviews

Lidl has just launched 40 new summer wines at a time when the retailer must be feeling pretty pleased with itself. Its overall wine sales have increased 38% over the past 12 months; and in parallel, a survey by Wotwine says that Lidl wines top its ratings table, with 68% of its wines offering customers good value.

Ben Hulme, Lidl UK’s Senior Wine Buying Manager, says: “To be recognised as a go-to destination for wine shoppers is something that we are delighted to have achieved. We are excited to be introducing a more varied wine selection for the summer and hope that our customers will enjoy the fresh new range we’ve designed to satisfy every palate.”

Lidl’s latest selection includes wines from France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Chile and Germany. They’re available in most stores, but once they’re gone, they’re gone. Stock is expected to last around a month. I tried some of Ben’s “hero” recommendations from the new range.

LIdl wines Rheingau Riesling, Junge Rheingauer, Rheingau 2013
Rheingau Riesling, Junge Rheingauer, Rheingau 2013

Rheingau Riesling, Junge Rheingauer, Rheingau 2013, White, (£7.99): This is blended by a group of young winemakers who make this specially for Lidl. Well I love riesling and this doesn’t disappoint. There’s a hover of honey, and comforting apple tart, squeaked with citrus on the nose and to taste, a confident burst of lemon acidity.

Champagne Brut Rosé, Bissinger, Lidl wine review
Champagne Brut Rosé, Bissinger

Champagne Brut Rosé, Bissinger, Champagne NV (£16.99) Get thee in the garden now summer is officially here, and toast the sunshine (fingers crossed) with rosé champagne. The blush-pink wine pops excitedly, the bubbles giddier than two dogs in a Britain’s Got Talent final; on the nose there’s a hush of fresh strawberries and apple blossom; to taste, dry, fresh and very pleasant.

Cariòena Garnacha, Aragon, Carivin 2014 Lidl wine review
Cariòena Garnacha, Aragon, Carivin 2014

Sticking with pinks, Cariòena Garnacha, Aragon, Carivin 2014 (£4.79) is a bright cerise with light aromas of rose hips and strawberries. It’s a bit thin on fruity flavour but if you like your rosé to be unchallenging and an easy sip as you watch Corrie or chat to the girls, then give it a go.

Bordeaux LEscloupey Cadillac Lidl wine review
Bordeaux LEscloupey Cadillac

Cadillac, Bordeaux, L’Escloupey 2010 (£7.99, a full bottle) Cadillac Blanc is a sweet white wine made from a blend of sémillon and sauvignon blanc. There are honey, apricot and vanilla aromas; to taste, the flavours were outbalanced by the acidity (and a bit of spice?) but I was happy. Try it with scrunchy roast chicken. Yes. Try it.

Lidl wines Rioja Blanco, Rioja, Cepa Lebrel 2014
Rioja Blanco, Rioja, Cepa Lebrel 2014

Rioja is more well-known for its reds than for its white wines. Rioja Blanco, Rioja, Cepa Lebrel 2014 (£4.99) is not a palate-startling heavily oaked white rioja, but instead has a whisper of pear and tropical fruit on the nose; to taste a zesty-citrus acidity compensates for its lack of depth in flavour. If you’re buying in bulk for a summer party, your chatting guests wouldn’t complain.

Also in my glass …

A trio of reds. First, to Spain and Torres Altos Ibéricos Crianza 2012, (£10.49, Waitrose and www.waitrosecellar.com). It is 100% tempranillo, the classic grape of the Rioja region, and is rich with cherry and blackcurrants, with a warm huggable depth sprinkled with spice.

Beaujolais-Villages, Château de Lacarelle 2014 WIne Society
Beaujolais-Villages, Château de Lacarelle 2014

I popped Beaujolais-Villages, Château de Lacarelle 2014 (£7.95, The Wine Society) in the fridge for a couple of hours and then sipped in the sun. You think I’m mad but yes! Beaujolais is lovely with a slight chill. Here, the gamay grape has made a wine full of fresh red fruit flavours which was also perfect back at the dining table with a Sunday lunch of roast pork.

Bordière Nord Syrah Grenache 2014 (£6.99, Majestic) – as it says on the vin – is a blend of power grapes syrah and grenache, which are never backward in coming forward. It’s a decent price for a wine which fizzes and crackles with blackberries and black pepper – great for barbecues.

Published in the saturday extra magazine June 6, 2015

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Christmas Day wines which might float your gravy boat

Christmas Day wines and trimmings

I love Christmas Day trimmings … sprouts in butter with bacon and lemon; golden roast potatoes; creamy mash; buttered carrots; sweet melting crunches of parsnip; a button-mound of stuffing; pigs in blankets, cuddling a bread sauce cushion, which in turn is gently nudged by a teardrop of cranberry sauce.

I’m so hungry now.

You might favour turkey, beef, or goose, or a special veggie centrepiece with all those wonderful trimmings. Whatever your choice, it would be daft to pour something horrid into a glass after taking care to make all of the flavours on your Christmas plate perfect. Here are some Christmas Day wines to get you thinking for the Big Day, even if you choose to ignore them.

Before that, some sparkles. (You know me.)

Sainsbury Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Sainsbury Blanc de Blancs Champagne


Sainsbury’s Blanc de Blancs
(£22.50) has just been voted “best buy” supermarket Champagne in Which? magazine’s annual sparkling taste test. A frizz-frazz huzzah of fine bubbles, with biscuit and brioche aromas and bright citrus flavours with apple and a shy hive of honey. Open this for family as they arrive on Christmas Day or save it to wrap presents, watch The Great Escape and have an occasional fizzy hiccup.

Whites might be your choice. Rich Burgundy whites, chardonnays with deep creamy oak character, are a good bet; but my pals don’t like them.

Wolf Blass SIlver Label Chardonnay
Wolf Blass SIlver Label Chardonnay

So for something more subtle and light, Wolf Blass Silver Label Chardonnay (£12.99, Tesco) has layers of citrus and some minerality. Yes, it has some oak, but it’s not heavy and gloopy. It has enough in its flavour armoury to stand on the Main Course Battlements and take on the parsnips, stuffing and cosy piggy blankets and come out reasonably unscathed.

Here’s a white worth seeking out because I’m sharing the love. Morrisons Signature Grüner Veltliner (£6.99) won Gold at last week’s International Wine Challenge gongs and if you’ve not tried this apple-bright grape then why are you waiting. It will probably survive a turkey, but not a richer meat, and will brighten up a veggie main.

Morrisons Signature Grüner Veltliner
Morrisons Signature Grüner Veltliner

On to a deep pink. Brown Brothers Explorer Tarrango 2014, (RRP £7.99 Tesco, Sainsbury’s) is an Australian grape and a new one on me. It will take a little chilling, so pop it outside the back door on Christmas morning. (The fridge is for important things like Champagne, double cream and Boxing Day piccalilli.)

Brown Brothers Explorer Tarrango
Brown Brothers Explorer Tarrango

This wine is a deep magenta, and has an intriguing nose of earth, redcurrant and pepper. With cranberries and more pepper to taste. It might tumble out of the bottle fairly quickly as you eat.

Here’s some quick-fire reds to float your gravy boat.

The Exquisite Collection Fleurie Aldi
The Exquisite Collection Fleurie, Aldi

The Exquisite Collection Fleurie (£6.49, Aldi) has soft tannins which won’t start a tastebud fight before the Queen comes on, but has peppery bramble flavour spikes to wink at the trimmings.

Sainsbury Taste the Difference Languedoc Rouge
Sainsbury Taste the Difference Languedoc Rouge

Taste the Difference Languedoc Rouge, (Sainsbury, reduced from £8 to £6 until January 1) is a blend of syrah, grenache and carignan, a cheeky grape trio which isn’t backward in coming forward. This wine is full of black fruit flavours, soft with vanilla and speckled with pepper and dunked with memories of French summer sun.

Tesco finest* Viña Mara Rioja Crianza
Tesco finest* Viña Mara Rioja Crianza

If you like rioja, then Tesco finest* Viña Mara Rioja Crianza (£7.99) is a decent starter for ten. Cherries charm and pepper prickles while clothed in a winter warming vanilla overcoat. This is one for a main with meaty oomph.

Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir
Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir

I’ll be going for pinot noir on Christmas Day. Earthy, fruity, spicy, light – just like me in my 20s. I’ve had a mini pinot noir taste-off; opening Jackson Estate Vintage Widow Pinot Noir, (RRP £19, Majestic, Ocado, thedrinkshop.com, Tesco.com, Rollings Wine Company) and Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir 2013 (RRP £12.99, Asda, Co-op, Morrisons and independents).

Both are New Zealand, both with a fab reputation. I’m a huge Villa Maria fan, but for me the Widow edged it. It’s a smoky red fruit delight, with a bright-light squint of acidity and a juicy finish. It might be a widow but it shouldn’t be left on the shelf.

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Published in the saturday extra magazine December 13, 2014 

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