Lidl Ireland have just launched a range of French wines which will be available for a limited time only – until stocks run out. Below are brief notes on six whites that would be making their way into my trolley: two from Burgundy, two from the Loire and two from Alsace.
Wally AOP Touraine Sauvignon 2018 (13.0%, €9.99 at Lidl Ireland)
There are several different Touraine appellations in the Loire Valley but this is the one which removes any doubt as to which grape variety you will be drinking. While not reaching the heights of Pouilly-Fumé, Quincy and the other Sauvignon based wines further east, Touraine is the French standard bearer for inexpensive fresh, tasty Sauvignon Blanc.
Wally has a very expressive Sauvignon nose – grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. These notes continue through to the palate, but there are no rough edges – it’s (almost) smooth in texture. Great value for money!
Comte d’Ardières AOP Sancerre 2018 (13.0%, RRP €16.99 at Lidl Ireland)
Probably the most famous Sauvignon appellation, Sancerre is one of the most prestigious wine regions of France. Despite that, quality and style can vary as there are multiple soil types and aspects. I don’t know who the Count of Ardières was, but the wines named after him are very elegant and mineral in style. There’s also lots of fresh citrus and a long tangy finish. Worth trying with delicate white fish or oysters.
Collin-Bourisset AOP Coteaux Bourguignons 2018 (13.0% €9.99 at Lidl Ireland)
For those not familiar, Coteaux Bourguignons is an appellation that covers the whole of Burgundy proper and Beaujolais, for both red and white wines. It can thus be made with fruit from all over the region, but is often a label used for wines from the south around the Maconnais / Beaujolais border. The grapes for this white are not given, but on tasting it appears to me to be substantially or totally Chardonnay. It has some oak on the nose and palate plus citrus and stone fruit. This is proper white Burgundy, a steal for a tenner!
AOP Chablis 2018 (12.5%, €12.99 at Lidl Ireland)
After the trials and tribulations of frost and hail over consecutive years, Chablis producers had to put up their prices so that they could still make a living. The phrase “there’s no more cheap Chablis” was uttered many times. Thankfully, the 2018 harvest was the best in 20 years according to the president of the Chablis Commission, so things are returned to normal.
At €12.99 this would definitely be considered a “cheap Chablis”, though I’d wager Lidl’s average bottle price is several Euros less. It has the classic Chablis nose of citrus and soft malolactic character. The palate shows red and green apples, lemon and lime fruits plus stony minerality. This is an excellent wine for the price and was the standout wine of the tasting!
Camile Meyer AOP Alsace Gewurztraminer Vieilles Vignes 2018 (13.0%, €10.99 at Lidl Ireland)
When it comes to wine Irish people rarely have a sweet tooth, and usually eschew anything with more than a few grams of residual sugar. Perhaps this is because of ‘Nam-like flashbacks from sweet, unbalanced, flabby German whites from decades past (you know the ones I’m talking about), who knows. This means that the limited number of Alsace Gewurztraminers available in supermarkets are usually quite dry. There’s nothing wrong with that in itself – each to his own – but for me Gewurz needs a bit of RS to complement its round, rich character.
And here’s the perfect example at an inexpensive price point. It’s VERY Gewurz on the nose, with lychees, Turkish delight and rose petals. The aromas continue on the palate but a little more subdued, but matched nicely by an off-dry finish.
AOP Crémant d’Alsace Brut NV (12.0%, €12.99 at Lidl Ireland)
France’s second best selling sparkling wine is represented by this fresh and fruity little number. It’s made in the traditional method and is fully sparkling so is a steal at this price (given the double duty on such wines in Ireland). This is a great alternative to Prosecco; fun and fruity but drier and better balanced.