(2021) Producer Leroy Chevalier appears to be a négociant bottling wines from various appellations, and the grape varieties here are unstated buy most be local varieties such as Mauzac and Muscadelle. Pale green in colour, the nose is pretty and attractive with the floral and leafy, soft green herbal notes, a touch of elderflower typical of this region's dry whites. The palate is bright, softly-fruity and the epitome of easy-drinking, with a nice juicy tangerine core of acidity for a very pleasant summery mouthful of wine. Part of Lidl's summer wine tour 2021.
(2021) One of the stars of this selection, as it should be given it is also the most expensive. Gigondas is close to Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône Valley and makes broadly similar wines from the same grape varieties like Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah. This is all dark, rich bambles and black forest gateau on the nose, spice and meaty, velvety black fruits the order of the day. In the mouth it carries a fair clout: 14% abv is typical for this appellation, here adding a touch of heat to the smooth, sweet, black-fruit flavours of the palate. Robust tannins and acidity kick in towards the finish.
(2021) I was sent a preview list of wines to be featured in the Wine Tour which listed this simply as 'Mâcon', and ordered it assuming it was a Chardonnay - as the Mâcon appellation produces 10 times more white than red. In fact it is a red Mâcon, which means it could be either Pinot Noir or Gamay, or indeed a blend of both. Bold ruby in colour, there's a forward creaminess of red berry fruit, feels like a little of vanilla too? In the mouth super sweet fruit, with more density than the Bourgogne red also tasted, more spice and a bit more stuffing all round.
(2021) The nose is rather neutral on this Alsace Riesling, apple and lemon, maybe the vaguest suggestion of honey. On the palate there's some residual sweetness, and good clarity, lemon being the predominant note to fruit and acidity. If you are an Alsace fan looking for incisive character of the best Rieslings it may disappoint, but it falls into the category of 'very pleasant' rather neatly. Part of the Lidl summer 2021 wine tour.
(2021) Pouring a pure garnet colour of medium density, this has fresh raspberry and red liquorice aromas with a touch of twiggy briar wood. In the mouth it is fruity, with plenty of sweet summer berries. The acidity is good, giving a cleansing finish to an easy-drinking lighter red. Part of the wine tour summer 2021.
(2021) This lightly fortified sweet Muscat, much in the style of a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise for example, comes from the Torres family of Spain. It's a delightful wine, overflowing with aroma and flavour, the colour a burnished gold. On the nose, honeycomb, saffron and sweet confit fruit, florals and lemon all in the mix. Thick and unctuous on the palate, there is masses of honeyed flavour and intense golden sultana sweetness, but the alcohol and the acidity give a bit of backbone and welcome freshness. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2021) The steep, slate vineyards of Priorat lie at high altitude close to Barcelona, and not too far from where Torres has its base. This is a blend of Cariñena, Garnacha and Syrah, aged 14 months in French oak. It has a refined, vinous nose, cherries and blackcurrants, touched by graphite and light, creamy, polished oak. There's something a little earthy and gravelly too, adding to the appeal. The palate has great energy: a lip-smacking burst of juicy black fruits and acidity fills the mouth, while smoky, bittersweet dark chocolate notes swirl around. Tannins are very plush and fine, and the length is excellent.
(2021) From their Pago del Cielo vineyard at 895 metres altitude in Ribera del Duero, this Tempranillo spent 12 months in a mix of French and American oak. There's a lovely lift of kirsch and violet at first, chocolaty and vanilla oak notes too, and deep black fruits. The palate offers more of the same, that is a depth of creamy and smooth black fruit and chocolate, but a little elegance too, a raspberry and cherry skin brightness with dry, sandy tannins and good balancing acidity. Flavoursome and good value. The 2018 vintage is in Waitrose at £12.99.
(2021) A pale peachy-pink, the main advantage Torres wine has over some of the other Spanish attempts at this style are the grapes used: Carignan and Grenache, two of the mainstays of Provence wines too. Very light, very commercially appealing raspberry and rose-hip aromas, a little bit watercolour paintbox, then a palate that has some sweetness and possibly a touch of residual sugar, but plenty of lemony acidity keeps that in check. It is light-bodied and arguably a touch dilute even for a rosé, but flavours and balance are good.
(2021) Massaya is a partnership between the Ghosn family of Lebanon and the Hebrard and Prunier families of Bordeaux and the Rhône Valley respectively. An unusual blend of more or less equal parts Grenache, Cinsault and Tempranillo. Bright creamy crimson, it is moderate in density and offers aromas of pomegranate, spice and pepper. This does not appear to have seen oak. In the mouth there's a savoury, endive and liquorice twist to this. On the mid-palate more sweetness comes through, the wine is medium-bodied despite the 14.5% alcohol, the finish rather dry with a dustiness to the tannins.