(2021) I liked this wine when it came into Lidl two years ago (in the previous vintage) from the mountainous Dão region whose wines always display good freshness. A blend of Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional, aged in barrel, this is mellow and succulent, briar, cherry and savoury Asian plum on the nose, the palate is medium-bodied with a tangy red berry freshness, but the sweetness of the fruit at its core builds, the tannins almost imperceptible, and a twist of bittersweet cherry tang in the finish. Not one to lay down I suspect, but drinking really very nicely.
(2021) A single varietal Vinho Verde from the Minho in northern Portugal, this has a charming nose, lime leaf and tangerine, touches of soft leafy green herbs. It bursts onto the palate with a surge of sweet, ripe fruit, juicy ripe apple and luscious pear, fine acidity and the tangy finish is persistent. A very nice Vinho Verde this.
(2021) From Monterrei in Galicia, way up on the Atlantic coast of northern Spain, this was a real hit with me when I tasted it back in May 2020, and many wine-pages visitors let me know they loved it too. Seven months on, the wine is just as good: sea-spray bright, tangy, vivacious and delicious. This and the Caiz Vinho Verde are a fine pair of whites for your consideration.
(2021) A barrel-fermented Chardonnay from Navarra in the south of Spain, as cheap as chips at £5.99 and nicely understated on the nose, just a creamy background to ripe, red apple fruitiness. On the palate it is straightforward, lemony, more juicy apple and it is clean and well-made. Not a distinctive Chardonnay, but a light- to medium-bodied quaffer, oak way in the background.
(2021) From the Pagos Del Rey winery which I visited many, many years ago, this is a Reserva meaning it spent at least 12 months in barrel. It has a very deep, almost crimson-black colour for a five-year-old wine, and immediate aromas of cherry, blueberry, liquorice and briar. There's an obvious slick of vanilla adding to quite a plush opening salvo. In the mouth there is good intensity to the fruit, a fairly charry quality to the oak, but that bittersweetness of liquorice and endive sits nicely against the juicy, fleshy fruit. Tannins are soft and background, this finishes on sweet fruit, acidity and that charry and spicy oak.
(2020) A Trocken, or dry Riesling from Rheinessen, this opens with clear lemon and lime aromas, a little punch of something like quince or orange zest, and some floral notes. Though dry in the finish there is some sweetness initially, again more lime than sharp lemon, and a balanced finish of good acidity. Useful and versatile sipping wine, or for fish and Chinese cuisine.
(2020) The Gran Reserva designation is not legally defined in Chile, but here it signals a heavily oaked, ripe and rich wine, complete with super heavyweight, ostentatious bottle. The nose is laden with chocolate, coffee and plum, with a bitter cherry edge. Slick and supple in the mouth, creamy oak and plush, smooth and super-ripe black fruit floods the palate. Spicy too, tannins are sweet and don't disrupt the picture, but balance is good overall if you are a fan of the 'blockbuster' style.
(2020) Icewine is a realy Canadian speciality, the grapes harvested in sub-zero night-time temperatures so that much of the water content is dispelled when the fruit is pressed, leaving a super-sweet, thick and unctuous dessert wine. This is a very good example, made from Vidal which always gives a warming, golden, honeyed aroma of ripe apricot, here the engine-oil thickness of the wine on the palate sweet and exotic, like the ripest mango and lychee, a burnished toasty background, then very good lime jelly acidity to balance. A great wine in half-bottles, for very sweet desserts or to sip on its own after dinner.
(2020) It's fairly rare to see a white Ventoux on the shelves, this region of the Rhône Valley certainly more famed for its reds. The blend is unspecified, but from the appellation expect Clairette, Bourboulenc and Grenache Blanc, maybe Roussanne too. There's a slight hint of bronze to the colour, and an apple-dominated aroma, before sweet and juicy fruit on the palate. Medium-bodied with a bit of texture, the pithy citrus acid balances the finish.
(2020) First of all, decoding the label: the wine comes from a producer called Burg Ravensburg, in the ancient district of Ravensburg in the Baden region, and the grape is Spätburgunder, a.k.a Pinot Noir. Germany is producing some fine Pinot, and the more southerly region of Baden is one of its centres. I have to say, quite a superior wine this: organically certified, screw-capped and authentically Pinot from its moderately pale ruby colour and nose of flowers, herbs and red fruits, a hint of briarwood, and the palate brimming with sweet cherry and raspberry. Some ageing in barrels rounds the finish, nicely grippy with a touch of tannin and good, tart, mouth-watering acidity giving length.