Lidl’s French wine promotion delivers some great bargains

red wine glass

There’s a lovely lady I work with who keeps a special diary. It’s a diary of all the really really important events that take place in the country – nay, the world – at all times of the year.

She does other things too, this lady, very important things; but to me her diary is the most important thing of all.

For instance; I can tell you that recent Very Special Events included National Curry Week and Chocolate Week. It was also National Knitting Week.  If you had a celebration, I hope you  didn’t drop any stitches.

I think there should be an all-year-round event labelled Let’s Celebrate Great Wine Bargains. I’d even bake a cake.

The reason? A few weeks ago Lidl added 48 wines to its range, from across all of the classic regions of France including Bordeaux, the Loire Valley and Burgundy.

Lidl is one of the supermarket chains really upsetting the apple cart for the Big Guns at the moment, and this new range is expected to drive people even more to the stores. The French wine promotion in the UK is worth £12m and the Lidl group have sourced 5% of Bordeaux’s yield.

Lidl wines review

Lidl’s own consultant Master of Wine, Richard Bampfield, has cast his expert eyes (well, tastebuds) over the wines … and by Jimminy there’s some great bargains.

Ben Hulme, senior wine buyer, says: “We feel confident about the launch of our new French wines. We want to aim at people who have not considered us previously. The message is ‘come and a give it a try. Pick up a few bottles and see if you like them.”

I imagine you probably will. But you’ll have to be quick as the wines are available while stocks last and not all wines are available everywhere, and even if they are, there might not be alot of them. Keep an eye out nonetheless.

The best sellers, I’m told, have appeared to be Cotes de Gascogne 2013 (£4.99) Fitou AOP 2011 (£5.99) Bordeaux St Emilion AOP 2010 (£8.99) and the surprising one which is particularly popular, the Monbazillac AOC 2011 (£7.99)

 So, in my glass, three from Lidl:

Chateau Marjosse, Lidl
Bordeaux Chateau Marjosse 2012

Bordeaux Chateau Marjosse 2012 (£8.99) A fruitful deep red, the luscious-lips red of a 40s Hollywood siren. Truckles of black and red berry fruits, some spice and a mouth-watering juicy burst of acidity.

saint emilion grand cru lidl
Chateau Larcis Jaumat 2012 Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux

Chateau Larcis Jaumat 2012 Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux,  (£12.99) Loving this.  A wave of red berry fruits from the glass, rich and inviting, then a plummy depth of  raspberries and hedgerow fruits; bound up with spice, peppering away at your senses.

Domaine de Grangerie Mercurey 2012 Burgundy

Domaine de Grangerie Mercurey 2012 Burgundy (£9.99)  Medium-bodied, just like me. OK, I lied about that last bit. A tenner’s worth of smoky-edged red fruits, but lean and subtle, elegant and a little frisky on the acidity.

Back to curry and chocolate … I left you hanging there and I apologise.  Some brief wine tips on both, should the fancy take you, though not on the same plate I hope.

Chocolate: Try and match sweetness for sweetness. Avoid tannic reds … think of dessert wines. There’s some nice cheap ones, such as an orangey-flavoured Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro (chocolate and orange … yum) which is widely available for about £7.

Curry: Beer might be best, but if you are a wine freak (High Five) then a carmenere from Chile is a good bet or with a Chinese or Thai curry, try a riesling.

This first appeared in the saturday extra magazine October 18, 2014 

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

Sweet wines are delightful at the end of a Christmas meal

Jen Pfeiffer Rutherglen Tawny

SWEET doesn’t  always mean  sickly and in the  interests of making your  Christmas special, with the person of your dreams.

It might not be one of  your things to seek out sweet wines to sip with your  Christmas pud or  cheese.

You may think they’re too expensive a risk if you shouldn’t like  them.  But you know  what, I’ve spent £30 on  shoes I’ve never  worn  that are still  hidden in the  wardrobe. (Oops, I  let that one slip.)

Sharing  wine at a  special time of year beats impulse buys hands down  and you don’t  have to break the bank either.

Tesco Finest  Dessert Semillon (£6.79 half a  bottle) is a  consistent winner of awards and has honey and apricot  aromas and a  scrummy honey stone fruit taste.  Lovely  with  my taste-test  nibbles of Stilton, mince pies and a little pot of  chocolate mousse. Oh,  the sacrifices I make.

Torres Floralis Moscatel
Torres Floralis Moscatel

The golden-flower embossed bottle of Torres Floralis Moscatel  Oro (from £6.99 at    several stores. At www.morrisonscellar.com it is £6.49) is a treat to  look at and a  real  sweetie delight to taste.  Best with the chocolate.  It smells of  a tray of  grocer-fresh oranges   and home-made marmalade with the  sweet lusciousness  of  oranges and lingering  spice to taste.

Over at Sainsbury, Winemaker’s Selection  Muscat de St. Jean de  Minervois is only £4.99  for half a bottle and  honey and oranges  aromas play around the  glass. Not as much depth as some, but hey  as a  change in pace for  the Stilton at less than a  fiver what’s not to like.

Jen Pfeiffer Diamond Tawny Naked Wines
Jen Pfeiffer Diamond Tawny

Fleury Muscat de  Beaumes de Venise (www.henningswine.co.uk, £9.99)   comes from an ancient  Rhone winery and  generations have worked up a wine that is  fresh enough to enjoy  but sweet enough to take on your pud. Its yellow  lusciousness smacks  of grapefruit and  orange zest.

My real sweet  sensation  is Jen Pfeiffer: The Diamond  10 y.o. Rutherglen  Tawny (www.nakedwines.com, £15.99  or £11.99 if you’re  an investing  Angel). It  smacks  of sophistication and mature  elegance.  Halfway between  a port and regular  red it is bursting  with flavour. It is  delightfully syrupy  without a heavy  unctuousness that  can make all  but the best  fortified wines  hard work. Think raspberries  coated in chocolate and  you get some idea.

I went into a reverie  when I tasted the  sublime Edmeades Perli  Late Harvest Zinfandel  2006 (£12.95, hailshamcellars.com).  With a  silky smooth first  sensation of brambles  and chocolate, and a  tingle-tangle taste of  fresh blackcurrants, dried cranberries, raisins,  chocolate, some liquorice. Deep joy.


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Published in the saturday extra magazine December 21, 2013

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