Supermarket wine doesn’t evoke images of greatness. Often you are settling for the best of a mediocre selection. What if your supermarket offered a curated selection of great international wines? What if…
Lidl Thinks Big
It started happening in June. European grocery store Lidl began opening stores in the U.S. Lidl is a German discount supermarket chain and is the chief competitor to Aldi. The chain started by opening 37 stores this summer and is expected to have more than 100 stores open in the US by mid-2018.
It is a no-frills store that saves money and passes the savings on to the consumer. They import many low-priced gourmet foods from Europe and also source foods locally.
All this is interesting to me but, as you may have guessed, our focus is on the wine. Lidl’s approach to wine is capturing much attention.
Curated Wine Selection Hits The Shelves
You may think, “So, a grocery store sells wine. Big deal.” Lidl’s approach is vastly different than your average Piggly Wiggly. The wines for Lidl are a curated selection by Master of Wine Adam Lapierre. He tasted more than 10,000 wines in order to select the highest quality wines for Lidl. Which may cause you to ask, “How do I get that job?”
Lidl has three distinct collections in their stores:
1. Everyday Range - well-made examples of popular varieties from around the world
2. Wine Discoveries – for those who are wine-obsessed or simply want to sip something new, there are insights and novel tastes with the Wine Discoveries picks. Each month, Lidl’s Master of Wine selects a range of wines for a changing monthly theme.
3. Wine Fair - a few times per year, Lidl has Wine Fair promotions. In these special months, they go all out to present a large, comprehensive selection of wines from a particular country or wine style.
We had the opportunity to sample three wine added to the Lidl collection in October.
The trio of wines we received are from France and our first to sample was a 2015 Madiran from négociant Vignobles Raymond. The wine is produced in and around the village of Madiran in Gascony in the South West France region. There was no breakdown on the grapes used, but wine from this region is mostly Tannat, supplemented by Cab Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. We enjoyed this wine with a rustic meal of spaghetti and meat sauce cooked on a wood stove. This is a serious value at only $5.99. It drinks like a $30 bottle.
Continuing on, we opened the second bottle of red. This was the 2015 Terroir des Dentelles. This is from the Vacqueyras AOC in the southern Rhone. It is a medium bodied blend of Grenache, Syrah and perhaps Mourvedre. It is graceful with red berry flavors and a juicy finish in the Cotes du Rhone style. This is another surprising value at a mere $9.99.
The white wine we enjoyed was the 2015 Domaine Saint Prix Saint Bris Sauvignon. What makes this an oddity is that it is a white Burgundy, but is made from Sauvignon Blanc, rather than Chardonnay (which is the region’s most famous white grape). It is the only region in Burgundy where Sauvignon Blanc can be vinted. Sauvignon Gris grapes can also be used and the wine is simply labelled “Sauvignon.”
This is a pleasant, but but not astounding white wine. It is dry with a bit of green apple and a slight zestiness. It is an easy drinker and will pair well with light entrees. At $8.99 it is an affordable buy, but not a great value like the two reds.
With corks popped and glasses drained, we emerged with this conclusion: Lidl has an eclectic selection of wines with high QPR (quality price ratio). The value is such that you can fill your cart with wine and still have money left over to buy groceries!
Full disclosure: We received this wine as a marketing sample.