Paula’s Wines of the Week starting 1 June 2015

Paula’s Wines of the Week starting 1 June 2015

Launched into store at the end of last week, Lidl’s 40 new additions to its Wine Cellar range make tasty and affordable accompaniments to any meal. Ranging in price from £4.79 to £16.99 these new wines hail from the well-known wine regions of Spain, Germany, France, Portugal, Italy and Chile but boast some lesser-known grape varieties. But how good are they? I tasted eight of the new range, all priced under £8.99, and the results varied from the out right spectacular to the alright.

Lidl rates it wines with a marks out of 100 – a system made popular by the influencial American wine critic Robert Parker. But where Mr Parker’s points out of 100 could make or break a wine’s reputation the Lidl rating, awarded by independent wine professional and judge Richard Bampfield MW (a Master of Wine so he has passed his exams), is being used more as a ‘pointy finger’ and telling us shoppers which wines to look out for.

So if you see a wine rated between 100 and 95 on the Lidl 100-point scale this means it’s ‘a great wine’; 94 to 90 is rated as ‘superior character and style’; 89 to 85 shows ‘special qualities’ and 84 to 80 is a ‘solid, well-made wine’. Lidl don’t indicate on their website what a wine ranking below 80 is like, although I will as I found a few. Not many, and they didn’t get below 70, but I did find a few things to disagree about on their tasting ratings.

So how did they do? My reviews below show the Lidl points out of 100 ranking and mine, with explanation and tasting notes. After that it’s up to you to decide if you want to buy them.

PG Wine Reviews

Carles Spanish Priorat 2010

£5.99 Lidl

Lidl Points Rating 87/100: wine exhibits special qualities

Paula’s Points Rating 93/100: ace wine at an ace price

This red wine from the lesser-known region Priorat makes the best of the bunch scoring a massive 93. Lidl’s score of 87 seems a little mean when you take into account the price – there’s just so much going on flavour-wise for a fiver. Expect sour cherry and raspberry flavours initially, soon followed by perfumed violets and creamy damson. After the bottle’s been opened for about half an hour the flavours morph into chocolate and mocha coffee. Fab stuff.

Saint-Joseph Crude de la Vallée du Rhône Syrah 2012

£8.99 Lidl

Lidl Points Rating 86/100: wine exhibits special qualities

Paula’s Points Rating 86/100: a sophisticated wine

Called Shiraz in Australia but known as Syrah in France, this classic red grape variety always packs a punch with both its aromas and flavours. This version comes with a mix of plum and leather on the aroma which gives way to blackcurrant and black coffee on the taste. This is a lingering and sophisticated wine.

Castillo Albai Spanish Rioja Crianza 2012

£5.49 Lidl

Lidl Points Rating 87/100: wine exhibits special qualities

Paula’s Points Rating 87/100: wine exhibits special qualities

I have to agree with Richard Bampfield’s rating – this is some good wine with all the hallmarks of  a wine that will keep well for a couple of years (if you can stop yourself drinking it tomorrow). Flavours of creamy chocolate, mint, cherry and blackberry.

Junge German Rheingauer Riesling 2013

£7.99 Lidl

Lidl Points Rating 87/100: wine exhibits special qualities

Paula’s Points Rating 80/100: nice but you can get the same flavour characteristics cheaper

With flavours of light apple, lemon and honey this German Riesling tastes more like a South African Chenin Blanc. Which is nice but when the wine comes in the classic German tall-necked fluted bottle then you’d be expecting those classic German flavours of pear and elderflower surely? Nice wine but expensive for what it is.

Chateau Les Queyrats French Graves Blanc 2014

£6.99 Lidl

Lidl Points Rating: they don’t say

Paula’s Points Rating 80/100: a solid well-made wine

Pear, pineapple, apple and lemon – sweet and sharp flavours that need food.

Cadillac L’Escloupey 2010 Sweet White

£7.99 Lidl

Lidl Points Rating 90/100: superior character and style

Paula’s Points Rating 75/100: good wine but there’s plenty of similar ones around

Simple sweet fruity flavours in this dessert-style wine. You’ll find similar flavours in Spanish Moscatel for abour £5 a bottle.

Dornfelder German Qualitätswein Trocken

£5.49 Lidl

Lidl Points Rating 84/100: solid, well-made wine

Paula’s Points Rating 70/100: good for what it is but no better

Dornfelder is red grape variety that gives adequate tasting wines in Germany and here in the UK. And that’s all it does. So why is it grown? Because it’s one of the few red grape varieties that will ripen in the variable north European climate. The liquorice and sloe flavours need food to balance out the tannins. But I’d rather put my money towards the first wine in this list.

Corte alla Mura Italian Vernaccia di Pan Gimignano 2013

£5.99 Lidl

Lidl Points Rating 87/100: wine exhibits special qualities

Paula’s Points Rating 70/100: Nice but that’s all. Cheap though

Light lemon and apple. That’s it.

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© Paula Goddard 2015