It’s time for Lidl’s final ‘Wine Tour’ of the year hitting UK stores. This bi-monthly event sees special parcels of wines brought into shops, most of them one-offs sold on a ‘when it’s gone, it’s gone’ basis. I sampled six wines from the event which kicks off on Thursday 26th November 2020 and lasts as long as stocks do. I’d half an eye on Christmas with the selection of a Champagne, a fully sweet dessert wine and a couple each of whites and reds. My top picks? White: the Riesling Trocken for sure, elegant lime-fresh stuff, red: Germany again with a bargain Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) from the Baden region, though if you like blockbuster reds, the big, sweet and oaky Carmenere is good of that style. The icewine from Pilliteri Estate in Niagara-on-the-Lakes is definitely worth a big mention too.
(2020) Part of Lidl's Wine Tour, made up of limited parcels, this is Brut, and employs all three of Champagne's principal varieties. Foamy and lively in the glass, the nose has a yeasty, lightly nutty edge to red apple fruit. In the mouth, there is a definite sweetness - presumably this is at the higher end of the Brut scale - and that impression of sweetness plays through to the finish, though acidity does balance. Straightforward stuff, and worth its £10.99 price.
(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) 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) 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.
(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.