As well as their permanent range which has an emphasis on good value bottles for everyday drinking, discount supermarket Lidl also offer limited quantities of slightly more upmarket wines at different points during the year.
22nd February 2016 will see the Ireland launch of their special French wines, only available while stocks last – and some will be so limited that you’ll have to strike up a friendship with someone from Lidl Customer Services!
Here are 5 reds which impressed me, all from Bordeaux:
Château de Francs, Francs-Côtes de Bordeaux 2011 (€12.99)
Of the five I’ve chosen this is perhaps the most traditional in character, coming from a cooler year. However, the producer has obviously gone to great lengths to make a fruit forward wine – blackcurrant, blackberry and plum compete for your palate’s attention, along with classic notes of pencil shavings and cedar wood. Of the wines I’ve picked this has perhaps the most noticeable tannins, so it would shine with a steak!
The label shows 14.0% which is significantly higher than the vast majority of Bordeaux was when I cut my teeth on it in the early 90s – though that’s a story for another day. It does give you an idea of the body and power this wine has – not for shrinking violets!
Fronsac Château de Carles 2008 (€17.99)
Fronsac is close to St-Emilion and while it doesn’t have its neighbour’s cachet it is capable of producing some excellent wines, often priced favourably. 2008 was a good but not great year in general, but is often overlooked as the following 2009 and 2010 vintages were excellent. Predominantly Merlot fruit gives big ripe plum and blackberry flavours; the tannins are very soft making this very drinkable indeed. Would keep for several more years but at its peak now.
Château Cos Fontaine Francs-Côtes de Bordeaux 2010 (€12.99)
Ripe fruit – mainly plum and blackberry – suggest a majority of Merlot in this right bank red. At just over five years of age it is showing some development, so tannins have softened and fruit is settling in. Being from the fantastic 2010 vintage helps to make it seriously drinkable, and a great bargain at that.
Josephine de Boyd Margaux 2009 (€24.99)
Margaux is probably the most celebrated appellations of the Médoc, at its best producing silky feminine reds based on a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon but with a good proportion of Merlot and other minor players. This is the second wine of Château Boyd Cantenac which was awarded Third Growth status in the 1855 Classification – obviously some time ago but still has some relevance today. In a great year like 2009 it makes sense to go for a second wine as there is so much quality fruit on each estate that the second wine gets plenty rather than just whatever is left over after making the Grand Vin.
This is a great example of Margaux, silky and seductive, well structured and classy with a very long finish.
Fleur Quercus Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2010 (€24.99)
Wow! Another beauty from 2010, but this time a few rungs up the quality scale. Saint-Emilion is a world famous part of Bordeaux (and a lovely little town to visit if you ever get the chance), which means some producers can cash in on the cachet. Not here though, it is fully deserving of the appellation.
Intense black berry fruit is complemented by anise and other spices. It’s soft, seductive and dangerously easy to drink – even at 14.0%.
Money no object, this was my favourite red of the whole tasting!
Also check out my Top 5 Whites from the same tasting.