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Lidl unveils smaller ‘quirky’ French Collection

UK discounter Lidl has unveiled its latest autumn French wine cellar collection which concentrates on white wines and a few “quirkier” choices, according to wine buying manager Anna Krettmann – but the collection is more than a third smaller than last year’s line-up.

Lidl unveils its latest French cellar collection

The French collection was introduced in 2015 with around 12 wines, and was initially very “Bordeaux-heavy”, Krettman said, but the retailer has increasingly moved away from classic French styles to embrace more regionality and “esoteric” wines. However, this year’s cellar will feature only 26 wines (11 white, 8 red, 3 rose, 2 sparkling and 2 dessert wines), down from 42 wines last year.

Krettmann pointed to the ‘unusual’ Côtes de Jura, “an interesting style that sits well in the range and gives the more adventurous drinker something to try,” as well as the Côtes du Rhône rosé from Les Hauts d’Oriet (RRP: £5.99), a style included in Lidl’s wine cellar event a few years ago.

Alongside the 22 French wines, the collection includes a Chardonnay blend from Rex Goliath in California, and a Sauvignon Blanc Reserva Privada from the Central Valley in Chile (both RRP: £4.99)

Lidl’s consultant MW Richard Bampfield said the highlights of the latest collection included an unusual delicate and aromatic white Gaillac from Chateau Louvignes 2015 made from 50% Muscadelle, 40% Loin d I’Oeil and 10% Mauzac (RRP: 5.99) as well as a contrasting Chardonnay from the Côtes de Jura from Domaine G. Quillot 2012 (RRP: 8.99), which he described as savoury, yeasty, fresh and vibrant with Sherry notes.

“It is a fascinating wine, probably an acquired taste but I love the fact that we can put something like that on the shelf which is distinctive and unusual,” he said.

He also pointed out a Cabernet d’Anjou rose from the Loire which had been “neglected” in the UK, and two “terrific” wines from Alsace, a Riesling from Hans Michel 2015 (RRP: £7.99) and Vieilles Vignes Gewürztraminer 2016 (RRP: £7.99), but warned that with the region having been hit by frosts this spring, there might be supply constraints next year.

Among the eight reds are five wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon, including a 100% Carignan from Val de Salis (RRP: 5.99), one each from Bordeaux and Burgundy, a Listrac-Medoc (RRP: £10.99) and Mercurey from Louis Chavy (RRP:11.99) and two from the Rhône.

The wines are set to go on shelf on 28 September, as part of the annual French Cellar wine collection.

The UK discounter Lidl has seen its wine sales return to growth of around 37%, the retailer confirmed to db, following a slight slow down in momentum.

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