Have you bought wine recently from Schwarz Lebensmittel-Sortimentsgroßhandlung? Didn't think so. You may though have bought a – typically generously priced – wine from Lidl, which is the surname Dieter Schwarz acquired for 1,000 German marks from Ludwig Lidl, because the former name was too long, and Schwarzmarkt, or Black Market, wasn't great branding for a retailer.
Lidl's EDLPP, everyday low price policy, is not based on discounting so much as a limited, no-frills range without the treacherous razzmatazz of promotions. Both Aldi and Lidl have made great strides at the expense of the Big Four recently, thanks in part to a concerted attempt by both to up the wine ante.
Having recently reported on Aldi's approach, it was an eye-opener to see a rather different strategy being adopted by Lidl's head drinks honcho, Ben Hulme. While both have a core range based on limited supply and good value, Hulme was particularly inspired by the Foire aux Vins in French supermarkets to bring in a four-times-a-year seasonal selection.
Last year's autumn collection was a tad Bordeaux-centric, and although reduced in number, there are good buys in the cedar-scented Right Bank clarets, the 2011 Château de la Dauphine, Fronsac, £14.99, and a smoky 2011 Jean de Trimoulet St Emilion Grand Cru, £10.99.
Classic white burgundy gets a look-in with an excellent value, richly nutty 2014 De Marcilly Bourgogne Hautes Côtes de Beaune, £8.99, and apple and pear-fresh 2014 De Marcilly Rully, £9.99.
On the refreshing whites front, there is a bracing 2014 Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, the aptly named Grand Fief de Retail, £5.99, and two distinctive whites, the 2014 Le Cellier Savoyard Apremont, £6.49, a floral, appley Savoie white, and from the Jura, the saltily dry 2013 Clervigny Arbois Réserve, £8.99.
It may feel premature to be talking winter wines, but it's well worth stocking up on the sweet and sour plum fruity 2014 Serabel, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Chusclan, £5.99, a herby 2014 Domaine de l'Estagnol Minervois, £6.99, and the raisin-filled 2014 Vacqueyras, £8.99, with its delicious damson bite. µReuse content