Lidl Ireland’s annual French Wine event sees several dozen French wines added to the racks in their stores, from 30th September onwards while stocks last. These are some of the whites which grabbed my attention at the press tasting. They aren’t going to be the best examples of their type as the price tags are very modest, but they offer a great introduction to the various styles and represent very good value for money.
Château Petit Mouta “Sélection Les Carmes” 2018 (12.0%, €10.99 at Lidl)
White Bordeaux is often overlooked, especially AOC Graves which is generally a step up from Bordeaux Blanc and Entre-Deux-Mers but still offers great value. This “Sélection Les Carmes” cuvée is mainly Sauvignon Blanc (90%) with the remainder (10%) Semillon. The nose shows lots of lovely green aromas – gooseberry, grapefruit and granny smith apples – with hints of tropical fruits. On the palate it is tangy and fresh with those green notes coming through again. It has more body than a Loire Sauvignon due to extra ripeness and the presence of Semillon in the blend. The finish is clean and long-lasting, with no oak evident. Great value for money.
Domaine Deux Vallons Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie 2018 (12.0%, €8.99 at Lidl)
As I have opined many times on these pages, Muscadet (100% Melon de Bourgogne of course) has an indifferent reputation which is partially deserved – there are plenty of this, acidic and flavourless examples out there (see those in French supermarkets). However, this example does have some character; yes, it is very dry but it has a very pleasing minerality to accompany the light citrus palate. The finish is mouth-wateringly acidic, so it cries out for shellfish or nibbles.
Wally Touraine Blanc 2018 (13.0%, €9.99 at Lidl)
Whether the “Wally” in question is a fool, a pickled gherkin or simply a bloke called Walter is moot. The wine is a 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire; it has the usual gooseberry and grapefruit notes, but also grass…freshly mown grass, and is not too far removed sticking your head into a pile of grass cuttings and inhaling. It’s a fairly simple wine to go with salads, goats cheese or with itself at a party.
Madame Claude Parmentier Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2017 (13.0%, €9.99 at Lidl)
We now move to the southern Rhône, and if the Sauvignons above could be said to be “vertical” on the palate then this is much more “horizontal” – not that you will be on your back after a glass, but rather than it’s broad in the mouth, much more about texture than flavour. Like me you might guess that this is predominantly Grenache and so it is: 70% Grenache Blanc, 15% Roussanne and 15% Marsanne. If you haven’t had this type of wine before then it’s well worth a try – something completely outside the Sauvignon / Chardonnay / Pinot Grigio mainstream.
Collin Bourisset Coteaux Bourguignons Blanc 2018 (13.0%, €9.99 at Lidl)
“Coteaux Bourguignons” means “Burgundian Hills”, and can be made anywhere in greater Burgundy, from Chablis and Auxerre in the north to Beaujolais in the south. There are red and white variants (the red version of this wine is in the next post) which can be made from several grape varieties, though Pinot Noir and Gamay are most common for the reds and Chardonnay and Aligoté for the whites. This example is 100% Chardonnay and has a ripe, fruity nose which expresses its southerly roots. On the palate it seamlessly blends citrus (lemon and lime), pip fruit (red and green apples) and tropical fruit (melon and pineapple). This is a very well put together unoaked Chardonnay that’s tasty and tangy.
Expression de Saint Mont 2017 (13.0%, €8.99 at Lidl)
And so to the star of the show, a fantastic white wine from South West France. The blend was not available but I suspect it is predominantly Gros Manseng supported by Colombard, Ugni Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc. The nose is very expressive, full of melon and mango. It’s round in the mouth as they follow through onto the palate, though in a restrained manner. A lovely fresh finish is the perfect ending. I’ve been praising Côtes de Gascogne and Saint Mont for years now, and with wine this good for little money this make a very good case for the region.