Lidl goes back to the future with French wine tour

Tomorrow’s Lidl wine tour promotion features French classics you may have forgotten, writes Peter Ranscombe.

DON’T you just hate it when a tune gets stuck in your heid?

I’ve been humming the theme to Back to the Future since getting a sneak peak at some of the wines in Lidl’s latest wine tour promotion, which begins tomorrow.

As with previous offers, the bottles are available in limited numbers so… when they’re gone, they’re gone.

The reason for Alan Silvestri’s 1985 classic being lodged between my lugholes is that the French bottles in Lidl’s latest wine tour have a distinctive “back in time” feel to them.

Reading through the list was a blast from the past – but that’s no bad thing.

Too often in the world of wine, we’re searching for “The. Next. Big. Thing.” and we neglect the classics – which are classics for a reason.

They’ve got staying power, they’ve got durability, they’ve won their place on the table.

And, at Lidl’s prices, it’s an ideal time to rediscover some old favourites – or try these classics for the first time.

Jean Cornelius Riesling Alsace 2019 (£7.49)
Lidl hits the mark time after time with its wines from Alsace, and this riesling is another winner. Perched on the French border with Germany, Alsace combines both countries’ winemaking heritage and is sometimes seen as an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy. Don’t let cliches like that put you off though, because the region produces some great value wines. Lime and a whiff of petrol on the nose lead into classic high acidity and waxier lime and lemon curd on the palate. There’s a slightly buttery roundness too, which helps to tame that freshness. A good introduction to a classic region and variety.

Ventoux Blanc 2020 (£6.99)
A bit of a wild card in the pack – Ventoux is best known for producing red wine, but this Rhone white is a corker. I’d wager there’s a decent dose of viognier in the blend, delivering peach and floral aromas. On the palate, the peach is joined by more savoury lemon rind – perhaps from blending partners roussane or marsanne – with plenty of simple, bright fruit to balance the fresh acidity, which is a style that should satisfy sauvignon blanc fans.

Champagne Bissinger Premium Cuvée Brut (£19.99)
With all the excitement about the growth of Prosecco – and now rosé Prosecco – it’s easy to forget that there are bargains to be had out there from the Champagne region too. Making fizzy wine in bottles instead of tanks is always going to cost more, but this fresh yet sweet combination is worth the extra pennies – and worth the upgrade from the standard Champagne in the core range at Lidl too. Attractive red apple, pear, cinnamon, and brown sugar dance together on the nose, with heavier brown sugar coming through on the palate.

La Caselle Cahors 2016 (£7.49)
Cahors’ wines used to be scary – “black wines” full of tannin that needed rich food to unlock their potential. These days, many of the region’s wines – including this organic example – are being made more gently, so that they’re accessible much earlier in their lives. La Caselle ticked all the boxes for me – blackcurrant, wood smoke, and damp earth on the nose, which was traditional yet with no unripe green notes, and then raspberry coming to the fore on the palate. The tannins were ripe too, and no scarier than a similarly-priced claret.

Domaine Tournants Lirac 2020 (£7.99)
Lirac always had a reputation for producing some of the Rhône’s softer wines, but I suspect there’s some Beaujolais-like carbonic maceration going on here, where whole bunches of grapes rather than just the berries are placed in the tanks. The result is a deliciously-fruity nose full of ripe raspberry and blackberry, with enough sweet raspberry, red cherry, and strawberry jam on the palate to enjoy a glass without food. There’s enough well-integrated tannin too though to pair with casseroles or a roast. My favourite from the bottles I tried in the latest Lidl wine tour.

Puech Morny Gigondas 2019 (£14.99)
Sticking with the Rhône, and this Gigondas is a decent introduction to the region’s style. There’s maybe not quite as much chewy tannin as in days gone by, but the juiciness of the dark fruit is impressive, with blackcurrant, blackberry, and vanilla on the nose being joined by a lick of blackcurrant jam on the palate. Often seen as a baby Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas justifies its price tag.

Read more of Peter’s wine, beer, and spirits reviews on his blog, The Grape & The Grain