Lidl and Aldi certainly have been creating lots of column inches between them since their respective assaults on the supermarket wine business. All credit to their marketing departments who have got critics such as Bampfield, MacQuitty, and Goode et al. to rate their wines in the dailies. As Wilde wrote “There is only one thing worse than being talked about, that is not being talked about”. So, we thought, this week we’d add to the cellar full of words and review Lidl’s Minervois Domaine L’Estagnol 2014 from Jean d’Alibert.
Evidently, there are six local partners from Rieux contributing to this mini-co-operative. Minervois is a relatively large area north of the river Aude in the Languedoc, and is well known for producing inexpensive but interesting wines. 85% of the production is red but there are considerable variations in the styles with the more interesting coming from higher up and further away from the Aude valley.
I’m guessing that Lidl’s wine must have come from the flatter landscape. It was all very pleasant – purpley-red in colour with a nice raspberry fruit nose. The taste was one of spice and tannins, light in body (R., tasting blind, thought it was Cab Franc); this certainly was not rugged and characterful. It was the type of wine you’d find in a French supermarket when on holiday where it would wash down the local pates and cheeses. Not expensive, at 6.99 it’s good value, but we defy anyone to label it as ‘Outstanding’ and award it 90 points, as Lidl has.
[Richard: I couldn’t get any of the GSM grapes in this, either on the nose or in the mouth although it seems there is no mouvedre. Alibert is a bottling operation and I certainly formed the impression that the wine was made to Lidl’s specification rather than being crafted in a co-op and presented as the finished product. The label is a bit of a giveaway and I suspect there is no real Domaine L’Estangol in the area. I’m not so sure about the value – I think you could do much better (from the WS for example) for the money.]