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’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:
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.
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 (£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