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 wine ideas for blushing pink prawn starters

Have fun with wine on Christmas Day

I’m keeping everything simple for my Christmas Day wine countdown. If you’re into off-the-wall Christmas Day menus then you won’t find a wine and food matching pair here.

My menu? A glass of fizz.  Then into a seafood starter such as a prawn cocktail, or my favourite … flash-fried Thai prawns. Then moving on to turkey and the trimmings, then Christmas pud and cheese.

Then more fizz?  Well, why not.

Let’s start at the beginning and prawns. Well, I tell a lie. Because breaking news straight off the shelf this week as the International Wine Challenge awarded medals to supermarket own-brand wines.

Marks & Spencer Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico

Top of the bunch was M&S, which scooped 73 gongs, including five gold medals. A particular judges’ favourite was Marks & Spencer Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico 2013 (£8). You know what? It would be amazing lightly chilled with a Crimbo Day seafood starter.

If you want a sparkle to start your Christmas Day then another Gold medal winner is Tesco Finest Vintage Grand Cru Champagne 2007, (RRP £24.99).

Tesco Finest Grand Cru Champagne
Tesco Finest Grand Cru Champagne

Don’t you worry on the sparkles front, I’ll give you lots more ideas before the Big Day.

Prawns, they’re gentle little things. If they were on a Christmas party dance floor they’d be doing that left to right foot shuffle, but they come into their own with a pizzazz of spice or creamy Marie Rose sauce. Then they raise the level to a bit of a hip wiggle.

On Christmas Day I’ll be sticking to whites so not to overpower their blushing little souls. But if you never touch a white, and it’s a red you want with your prawns, then seek out a fruity Beaujolais or a light pinot noir.

Christmas Day wine: Coates and Seely Brut Rose NV
Coates and Seely Brut Rose NV

But what’s this? More sparkles? Yes. Any excuse. Why not go for a sparkler with your seafood starter. Pink to make your eyes blink with delight. Coates and Seely Brut Rose NV ( £25, winetrust100.co.uk)  scores a whopping 97 out of 100 from the site’s masters of wine. It’s made in the same way as Champagne, but I love, love, love the fact that this English wine is labelled Methode Britannique.  Red berries, strawberry ice, dry, gorgeous, and a perfect Christmas treat and flirtatious match to prawns.

Freeman’s Bay Marlborough Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, Aldi
Freeman’s Bay Marlborough Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

If that’s too much for your budget, then Freeman’s Bay Marlborough Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Aldi, £9.99) is exactly what it says on the vin. Sauvignon blanc, and sparkling too. If you love sauv blanc then you’ll love this; a lifting lime-edged sparkle at less than a tenner to go with your prawns.  My friends loved it. I know this because they “aaaahed”and then went quiet for a while.

Oh, come on then Janey. What about some other whites then? Well. Varieties I would recommend … a bright and lively vermentino or picpoul de pinet.

As I write, I’m sipping a picpoul from the Co-op, Truly Irresistible Picpoul de Pinet 2013 (£6.99) which is green apple-fresh with an easy squeezy swish of lemon to finish.

Christmas Day wine: Green Fish Verdejo
Green Fish Verdejo

Or try a crisp, characterful Chablis .. or a Verdejo …  a racy little Spanish number I discovered at a recent tasting  is Green Fish Verdejo (www.oddbins.com, £6.75). Zingtastic and worryingly moreish. Good price too.

Staying in Spain, Albariño is one of my favourite favourites. It’s a Spanish grape grown in the north west of the country, near the sea, which is bang-on appropriate for prawns. Tesco finest* Albariño (£7.49) has light subtle creaminess speckled through with pears.

From the Wine Society, a blend of chardonnay and sauvignon spangles in the form  of Domaine du Tariquet, Côté Tariquet Chardonnay-Sauvignon (£8.50). Sherbert lemon and hints of stone fruit rise from the glass, mouth-watering citrus and grapefruit.

If your tastebuds need a weary Christmas Day nudge then this vibrant delight would come along and before you know it the prawns would have moved on from a hip wiggle to a full-on jive.

This first appeared in the saturday extra magazine December 6, 2014 

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