When Lidl arrived into Ireland it was referred to as a ‘Discounter’. It wasn’t meant to be a polite term! Time has moved on and as Lidl has become enmeshed into our retail environment they are now more often thought of simply as a ‘supermarket’. Its wine offerings gives us a clue as to how this has happened.
When I attended my first Lidl wine tasting I noticed grimaces across the faces of many of the wine journalists in attendance. ‘Discounter’ meant ‘Cheap’ and that in turn meant poor, unbalanced and confected wine. This was, of course, wrong. Price does NOT equate to quality. It may be difficult to make a quality wine to sell at a low price (especially in Ireland where we have penal and unfair taxations on our wines!) but a retailer can set whatever price it wants on a wine. If Lidl decided to sell Bollinger Champagne (which it won’t) at €20.00 a bottle it will still be Bollinger. Price doesn’t equate to quality. A balanced and well made wine is possible no matter what the shelf price is. This doesn’t mean that a €7.00 bottle will be a world leader. No, but it might very well be an enjoyable drink!
Wine journalists and Masters of Wine today continually find wines on Lidl’s shelves that they award with great praise. Many of these wines continue to be presented as they were years ago – at the same low prices. Critics today attend a Lidl tasting expecting to find nuggets that can be recommended. No-one is saying all of the wines at Lidl are fabulous but equally they are worth exploring especially if critics have tasted , scored and written well of them. The bar has been raised by the experts and about time too.
On Monday March 25th Lidl begins a French Wine Sale across Ireland. The following are excellent value and are each drinking very well!
Val de Salis Pays d’Oc Chardonnay €8.99: I like chardonnay and so does a huge chunk of our market. (Why else would we be so happy with our Macon Villages and Chablis wines?!!) This wine comes from the warm south and has a rich, smooth and expressive palate. Perfect foil for rich-sauce pasta dishes.
Chateau la Peyrere Bordeaux Blanc AOC €7.99: Perhaps a bit too obviously a simple Sauvignon Blanc? But nothing wrong with that. Grassiness and a sharp rich palate make this a fabulous starter wine.
Each of these Red wines is worth checking out. Do (a little) bit of googling homework and look up what the character of the region on the labels are supposed to bring to the wine. Then judge the wine – not the price!!
Ch Blagnac Haut Medoc €11.99
Ch Haut Plaisance Saint Emilion €12.99
Ch Sentout Lagrange Cadillac €9.99
Ch Calmette Saint Chinian €8.99
Rasteau AOP €9.9