What’s up with Lidl…and what’s up with their wines?
Lidl is a German retailer that is in direct competition right now with stores like Aldi and Trader Joe’s. They made their debut here in America only a few months ago and already, they are the buzz around town. Wines from these stores are typically surprising and are known for delivering fantastic quality to price ratios. We already know what Trader Joe’s and Aldi have to offer, but what does the new guy in town bring to the table?
The Wine Buyer
The most important part of any venture is a firm foundation. Lidl’s wine foundation happens to be Master of Wine (MW) Adam Lapierre. Lapierre oversees Lidl’s wine department and is charged with its organization, education, and of course the overall selection of wines for the shelf. “Master of Wine” is not an easy title to come by. In fact, there are less than 400 people in the world who have earned the title, “Master of Wine”. MW refers to a person who has achieved one of, if not the, highest levels of professional wine ranks in the world.
Not only is Adam Lapierre a MW, he is also an experienced wine writer, educator, lecturer, buyer, and consultant. To say the least, he knows his stuff. The way that Lapierre and the Lidl team have laid out their wine selections is proof that, not only are they passionate about wine, but they have a good grasp as to what the average consumer actually wants.
What Do We Want?
We want choices, but we don’t want to be overwhelmed. We want to be educated buyers, but sometimes we just don’t have time for a wine lecture from the wine associate. We want highly rated wines, but we don’t always want to fork out the high price that goes with them. Lidl addresses these issues by keeping the wine buying experience simple, accessible, and practical.
What Does Lidl Have For Us?
Imagine that you have a wine dinner to plan. Picture a wine associate picking out three wines that best fit your soiree. He chooses three different wines from three of your favorite regions. These wines are highly rated wines that have won several awards, and the vintages are ready to be consumed immediately. Now imagine these wines have a price tag even lower than your ideal price point. Sounds pretty appealing, huh? This is essentially what Lidl has done. They have turned you, the consumer, into your very own Sommelier.
These wines are laid out and organized Big Bird to Cookie Monster style. Their strategy is this: Break down wine into eight, easy to understand, categories:
- Light and Fruity – Wines with easy to identify, softer fruits like red and green apples, pears and stone fruit; perfect with lighter style foods like salad or chicken
- Rich and Robust – Wines with jammy characteristics and slightly higher alcohol content; perfect for pizza, ribs, burgers, and stinky cheese
- Bright and Crisp – Wines that are refreshing with popping acidity; perfect for seafood, light cheese and deli sandwiches
- Full and Flavorful – Wines loaded with tannin, earth, fruit and balanced acidity; perfect for steak, beef roast, and mild cheese
- Savory and Spicy – Wines that can bring out those funky characteristics like bacon fat and smoked meat; perfect with charcuterie, braised duck, venison, grilled vegetables and mild cheese
- Rich and Supple – Wines with light tannin and a lighter body but full of vibrant fruits; perfect for baked chicken, veal, light red pastas and of course a good book
- Sweet and Luscious – Exciting wines to sip and enjoy after dinner; perfect with creative desserts, cigars, and your most exciting friends
- Fresh and Fruity – Light bodied wines with bright fruit characteristics; perfect with seafood, charcuterie, light chicken and salad dishes
The wines in each category are carefully selected and must meet the expectations of Lapierre and his team. This means they themselves picked the wines. This leads to wines with a higher value than their price tags might suggest.
Highly Rated and Award Winning
The awards these wines have earned should tell you the rest of the story. Wines chosen by the Lidl team have received over 200 awards at the INDY International Wine Competition and the Los Angeles International Wine Competition. Their Italian Prosecco won INDY’s “Sparkling Wine of the Year” Trophy this year.
Not only do they have award winning wines, but they have several wines that have each scored 90 points plus. These awards and ratings only add confidence to the wine buying experience. It also gives you something to talk about at the table with the “family wine snob” (me) during the holidays.
For You, For Me, For Wine
The Lidl wine selection is well organized and easy to navigate. You can purchase with confidence, knowing you will get a product that is worth more than its price tag. To Lidl I say, well played. To its competitors I say, stay frosty…the new kid has some sweet kicks. To you, the consumer, I say, this is the pinnacle of the wine buying era. There is no better time to try something new, to venture out and taste new wines from different regions. At these price points, you can’t afford not to explore. Cheers!