My trip to Lidl saw me buying a four pack of wine so I’m slowly working my way through my Lidl choices. I picked up this Domaine Chatelain Pouilly-Fumé ’13 for the straightforward reason that I cycled through Pouilly-sur-Loire as I made my way from the Northern Rhone along the Loire to Tours on the Way of Saint Martin. It’s a great bike ride if you get the chance.
My memories of Pouilly itself are a little fuzzy. It was cold, and raining, we’d been cycling all morning on just a croissant and coffee so I was hungry and tired. We locked up the bikes by the side of the Loire and headed into the nearest restaurant, well aware that it would be overpriced as we hadn’t got the energy to head into the back streets to find somewhere less touristy.
In my cold confusion I ordered pasta with spinach and cheese, a sensible choice, but my cycling buddy asked me after I’d ordered why I had chosen to do so in Italian. I do not know, but once I’d warmed up and eaten I’d regained enough good sense to order a small glass of Pouilly-Fume and some goats cheese to go with it for dessert. A fine choice. I did that in English. That glass of wine was divine, a thousand little angels in wellington boot and carrying umbrellas danced on my tongue. No wine served when you’re warm, comfortable and relaxed can ever taste that good.
So Lidl had something to live up to, but at £8 a bottle their offering was probably similar in price to the 125ml glass I had in France, so my hopes weren’t too high.
The wine was crystal clear and pale in colour. It smelled of gooseberry bush, but not cat’s pee. There was also something floral going on. It was dry, oh my it was dry with a crispy acidity that left you in no doubt that this was a French Sauvignon Blanc grown in the cooler climes of the northern Loire. I seem to remember Pouilly claiming to be exactly half way from the source of the Loire to the Atlantic, making it the perfect centre of wine.
The crispiness was apple like, but there wasn’t much flintiness or wet stone, just fruity acidity, gooseberry and that hint of floral flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I found it more-ish in the extreme.
At the same kind of price as you’d pay for a Marlborough Sauvingnon Blanc, this is a steal. It’s not the finest Pouilly-Fume you’ll ever taste, but I haven’t tasted a better one at the price point, in fact, I think I’ve paid double for a similar level of good from Pouilly.
Take a break from the mass wines of New Zealand and get to Lidl for something more unique, naturally limited in its production by the tiny size of the Pouilly-Fume, about half the size of Sancerre.