Picture this – Lavender Bay, adjacent to Sydney Harbour Bridge, standing outside the renowned Sails Restaurant with a glass of 2006 Gosset Grand Millésime à la main, so to speak, – fondest memories of fine dining in fine company (including native Sydneysiders Melinda and Blake) and a delectable French Champagne that regaled my palate given its freshness, crispness and great structure (all three elements enhanced by the absence of malolactic fermentation) and, moreover, oozed lemon zest, crisp grapefruit and delicious acidity.
This excellent vintage combines richness, elegance, complexity and finesse to fully justify its retail price of circa £63!
Back to Blighty and re-connecting to winter time, one must never discount (in the primary sense of the verb) either Aldi or Lidl in the quest for reasonably- priced, but good quality wines. Off I duly headed, in intrepid fashion, to a Lidl store and commenced perusal of their white wine selection.
I wended my way to the remnants of the Christmas Wine Cellar, as their Wine Cellar represents best purchases and, for an outlay of just £4 99, was able to procure a 2016 Cirò Bianco made from predominantly Greco Bianco, a white grape variety brought to Calabria by the Ancient Greeks.
This fragrant wine is fresh and dry and would pair well with either risotto or salad and is worth a punt! My next pick was a 2016 Coonawarra Chardonnay priced at £5.79 of South Australian provenance in the heart of the Limestone Coast and this wine proved to be a perfectly palatable Chardonnay with citrus, red apples and tropical fruits to the fore and green melon and pineapple on the palate.
For £5.99, the 2016 Abellio Albariño Riàs Baixas made by Bodegas Gallegas in the Sainès zone of Riàs Baixas on the extreme north-west of Atlantic Spain is fresh and fruity with an apple peel and citrus nose added to a hint of salt and is dry with gluggy fruit and a good mouthfeel!
Back to Lidl’s core range, a 2016 Mâcon-Villages for £6.75 is a smooth, slightly buttery tropical and apple flavoured Burgundy eminently quaffable on its own, but also a fine accompaniment to a roast chicken dish.
My final white selection was that of a 2016 Henri (not Danny) Larue Pouilly- Loché on offer at a reduced £8.99 and one to snap up as it is decidedly creamy and rich with soft melon character and tropical hints and should not remotely disappoint!
In terms of red wines it is, indeed, rare for me to advocate the purchase of a wine scaling pecuniary heights of £3.99, but the 2016 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo is a timely exception and, although light, has a splendid fruitiness allied to a cherry aftertaste and, at this price, is indubitably my bargain of the week – a wine that manifestly exceeded expectations!
My final red selection was a 2013 Barolo priced at a miserly £10.99 with bright cherry fruit aromas and red fruit on the palate culminating in a dried strawberry finish with hints of black pepper and a wine to savour and my last riposte!