Saturday, December 6, 2008

A drinkable £1 bottle of wine, but . . .

Good news and bad news. The good news is that I’ve found a drinkable £1 bottle of wine. And the bad news? It’s only on sale in France! An annoying way to start a new blog, I admit but since I imagine a number of you will be nipping over the Channel for a pre-Christmas drinks raid let me suggest you take in a branch of Lidl.

The bottle in question is a Bergerac, a sort of Bordeaux drink-alike which comes from the Dordogne region of France. OK, it’s not great but far better than you have any right to expect for the price.

Having spotted an ad in the paper for Lidl’s wine bargains I actually bought five different bottles to see what they were like. Only one - a Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire (amazingly an AOC wine but in truth ‘ordinaire’ enough) was undrinkable but what do you expect of burgundy at €1.49 (£1.29)? The best, and the only one I would have bought, to be honest, was a perfectly decent Premières Côtes du Blaye for €2.99 which should be dirt cheap but works out at £2.59 thanks to the dire exchange rate with the euro at the moment.

Bergerac 2007, Uccoar €1.19 (£1.03)
OK, this is a bit weedy but it’s perfectly fresh and fruity - there’s nothing confected about it at all. Perfectly OK with a hunk of baguette and some paté. RATING (see right) *

Cotes du Rhone Villages 2007 €1.75 (£1.52)
Recognisably Cotes du Rhone which is something at this price. I can detect the Grenache on the nose which obviously dominates though the back label also lists Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. A slightly artificial touch of sweetness which suggests chaptalisation (added sugar). You’d be reasonably pleased to get this in a pub. RATING: *

Costières de Niimes, Caves du Pré 2006 €1.99 (£1.72)
A handsome looking bottle and label and the deep colour raise expectations that this is going to taste better than it does. It doesn’t have the concentration you normally expect from a Costières de Nîmes and there’s a slight vegetal note I don’t like but I’ve tasted a good deal worse. Fine for knocking back with a takeaway pizza. RATING:**

Premières Côtes du Blaye 2006 €2.99 (£2.59)
A pleasant light, fruity red Bordeaux that you could happily drink with simple meals like charcuterie or a plate of bacon and eggs. What used to be referred to as a ‘lunchtime claret’. Looks the part too. It even has a real cork (as opposed to a synthetic one) RATING: **

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