AMONG the highlights at a recent tasting held by Lidl, two bottles in particular proved a bit of a surprise.
If I were to walk into any shop and see a St Emilion Grand Cru and a Châteauneuf du Pape at the prices here I’d think twice about buying them.
Both appellations are held in high esteem — too high in my view — and I’d be inclined to suspect that something was not quite right. This is particularly true of the CdeP which regularly under-delivers, even priced in mid teens or €20.
But the two bottles here offer very good value Bordeaux and Cotes Du Rhône respectively.
A handful of other wines in the tasting were well worth a second look, including an unctuous candied 10 Year Tawny Port that is a very pretty unusually light pink-orange colour and sells at €12.99; and a Premier Cru Chablis at €13.99.
*There are far too many great wine events coming up to mention here so take a look at blakecreedon.wordpress.com. Among the highlights is the first Wine Society evening at the Hayfield Manor in Cork on Thursday. It’s a five-course dinner matched with the wines of Famille Quiot in the Rhone valley. €79 per person. To book, call 021-4845900 or email email@example.com.
Cimarosa Sauvignon Blanc, — Lidl, €5.29
Fresh citrussy and slightly grassy Chilean sauv blanc, every bit as good as plenty of its peers and priced at a tenner. On offer until tomorrow at six for the price of four.
Viajero Sauvignon Blanc 2009, — Lidl, €7.99
This wouldn't be my first choice at Lidl but its softly-softly approach to the grape and its pithy texture will find favour with some.
St Emilion Grand Cru 2009, — Lidl, €11.99
Now this is my idea of a good affordable Bordeaux — tightly-furled flavours opening up to deliver generous fragrant glassfuls of berries and spice.
Chateauneuf Du Pape 2009, — Lidl, €12.49
The southern Rhone is awash in good middleweight spicy reds and this is one of the better ones at this price: glossy black minty delicious.
Black Sheep Ale 500ml 4.4% ABV. Tesco, €2.29
PEOPLE who developed their taste for craft beers across the water in Britain are likely to have done so through beers such as Theakston’s Old Peculiar — robustly-flavoured, strong in alcohol, and quaintly named.
The brewery that makes it was swallowed up by a nest of larger companies during a surge of acquisitions in the 1980s.
But the then managing director Paul Theakston quit to set up Black Sheep in Masham in North Yorkshire, which brings us to today's bottle: This beer is an entirely different prospect to the more famous Peculiar: a lightly hoppy lemony ale which is perfectly pitched to people getting bored with big brands of lager who want to try something more interesting and food-friendly.