The Lidl September French Wine sale has established itself on the calendar by now, and once again they have a number of stand-out wines and a few famous names.
Lidl is rumoured to be buying a million bottles of wine (including half a million bottles of Bordeaux) for this sale — and while Ireland only takes a small portion, there are some famous names to watch for such as Virginie de Valandraud 2014 (€32.99), the second wine of Chateau Valandraud.
This estate was the original Garagiste winery — tiny production, huge prices, and high marks from American wine critics — this has nice violet-scented black fruits but needs a little time to soften.
My favourite wine in the tasting was Chateau Lagrange 2012 from the Médoc village of St Julien (where you will find the three Léoville estates). At €44.99 this isn’t cheap, but this often sells for up to €60 to €70 depending on the quality of the vintage.
The 2012 was a difficult year for many and is considered a six or seven out of 10 depending on the producer, but I found this dense and rich with an inky, tobacco-infused character.
Another star was the Cru Beaune Comte de Moucheron at €34.99 — earthy and complex but with supple and silky fruits.
If these are too expensive you could try either of the two Burgundies mentioned below.
For the Diary: Culture Night, Friday, September 16: Tours of Franciscan Well Brewery — email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Retrace the Footsteps of Cork’s Wine Geese Families beginning at 4pm at l’Atitude 51.
Booking: 021 2390219, email@example.com
Back to school Autumn wine courses begin in the next few weeks so check with your local independent off-licence.
Cork Wine School courses begin on September 13 with a variety of WSET courses from one day to nine weeks.
Tel: 021 4296060 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wine Appreciation Course, Rathmines College, begins September 19 for 10 weeks, taught by myself.
(Enrolment at the college on September 12 to 13).
BEST VALUE UNDER €15
JP Muller Alsace Grand Cru Riesling 2013, Alsace, France — €12.99
Alsace Riesling of any quality is rarely found for less than €15 so this is well worth a look. Classic mineral and sweet apple aromas with just a hint of kerosene evident — dry and fresh with good weight and mouth-feel and a taut dry finish. Try with grilled mackerel or with hard cheese such as mature Coolea or a decent Comté.
Chateau Pey de Pont 2012, Cru Bourgeois, Médoc, Bordeaux — €11.99
Cru Bourgeois is the level just below Grand Cru Classé and price and quality varies widely. This seemed to have more merlot than expected on this bank of the estuary and I liked its plum and blackberry fruits. Good value and will probably improve for a year or two in bottle.
Domaine Bois de Roche Loupiac, Bordeaux — €9.99
Loupiac is not far from Sauternes and while it never reaches the sublime intensity of its big brother, it is frequently charming and flavourful. This has floral honeysuckle and sweet pear scents and would make a lovely match for some autumn fruit desserts made with perhaps white peaches or pears or with cheese.
BEST VALUE OVER €15
Chateau Roylland St. Emilion Grand Cru 2012 — €19.99
St Emilion has its own distinct ranking system — think of Grand Cru here as the equivalent of the Médoc’s Cru Bourgeois. This a new Chateau to me but seems to be well respected with lots of awards. I liked the ripe cocoa and plum-infused Merlot flavours and although still a babe-in-arms this is drinking nicely.
Chateau Siaurac, Réserve de la Baronne 2013, Lalande-de-Pomerol, Bordeaux — €18.99
Chateau Siaurac is one of the most beautiful Chateau in Bordeaux and they happily welcome visitors for tastings or for in the garden. This is Merlot country and this was my second highest ranked Bordeaux in the tasting — solid and ripe with black raspberry flavours mixed with plums and blackberry fruits.
Ladoix, les Gonia 2014, Burgundy, France — €15.99
This is a very fair price for a Burgundy with decent raspberry and strawberry fruit aromas that linger on the palate along with some structured blueberry tones. Lighter but with some tipicity is the Bourgogne Hautes-Cotes-de-Nuits at €10.99 which has fine light red fruits and also at a very low price.
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