Part one covered the sparklers and the whites, now here’s a look at some of the red wines which I enjoyed at the Lidl Xmas Press Tasting:
Bordeaux Superieur AOP 2012 (€7.49)
This is traditional fare to go with steak or roast beef. I’m sure someone could also recommend a cheese this would be a great match for…but that someone’s not me! Ignore the Supérieur part of the label – it means the wine is at least 10.5% alcohol versus 10.0% for Bordeaux on its own – and in the last few decades missing that target has been rare.
Soft black fruit wrapped up in silky tannins, this is proper Bordeaux at a properly low price. A majority of Merlot gives plum and blackcurrant with just a touch of leather. Decant for a few hours to help it open up.
Cepa Lebrel Rioja DOCa Joven 2013 (€6.99)
Cepa Lebrel Rioja DOCa Crianza 2011 (€7.99)
Cepa Lebrel Rioja DOCa Reserva 2009 (€8.99)
I’ve grouped these three together as they showcase three of the four main styles of Rioja.
The style is taken as an indicator of quality but for me it’s down to personal preferences. Do you like fresh, vibrant red fruit or creamy vanilla with black fruit? Or perhaps somewhere in between? Here’s your chance to find out for yourself – buy a bottle of each and try them all together (but don’t finish them all at once on your own!)
The classification requirements are for more time in barrel and bottle before releases, hence the difference in vintages. The barrel ageing really comes through on the nose and palate, with the Reserva showing the most American oak character, though not dried out wood.
Medici Riccardi Morellino di Scansano DOCG 2012 (€9.99)
For those new to the name it is a Sangiovese dominated blend (known locally as Morellino) produced in coastal Tuscany. While not as intense as the much more famous Chianti Classico or Brunello di Montalcino, it nevertheless provides a very enjoyable, velvety wine. As is typical for the variety, black cherry and liquorice are the main flavours. Tannin and acidity are present but correct.
Medici Riccardi Sangiovesi / Shiraz IGT Toscana 2011 (€19.99)
A step down the official quality ladder, but a doubling in price? It’s not quite as straightforward as that – and it rarely is in Italy! Shiraz is actually a good partner for Sangiovese, taming the tannin and acidity, and adding juicy fruit, body and power. Too high a proportion of Shiraz in the blend means that the producer cannot use the Chianti label – but IGT Toscana is a recognised label in its own right thanks to the Supertuscans (see here).
This wine combines the cherry of Sangiovese and the blackberry of Shiraz. It’s a serious wine, well worth splashing out on.
Medici Riccardi Sangiovesi / Cabernet Sauvignon IGT Toscana 2011 (€19.99)
If you followed what I wrote for the previous wine, just imagine Cabernet Sauvignon replacing Shiraz in the blend. Still lots of juicy fruit, but blackcurrant rather than blackberry. Twelve months ageing in oak barrels also gives vanilla notes. If you can’t decide which of the two to go for – buy them both!