I Hit the Wine Jackpot at Lidl

You can as well, with a good strategy.

If you don’t know Lidl, they’re all over Europe and they’re a cleverly run chain of German grocery stores. Why clever? Because their buyers are adept at responding to local needs and desires and mixing things up with themed cuisine offerings and a lot of VERY good prices coupled with surprisingly good quality.

Enjoy really good Italian wine on a daily basis without staring at an empty wallet.

I bet this caused you to perk up. If you already live in Italy you probably know Lidl. Or, maybe you’ve zoomed past their stores, thinking they’re some “poor people’s” bargain grocery store. If you’re moving to Italy or planning a big swath of time here, then I urge you to make Lidl part of your shopping strategy.

Lidl doesn’t have a huge wine aisle but they DO have a solid assortment, adjacent to some great options on the hard stuff (but that’s another story). You can get pricier wines north of twenty euro, but most of the wines are under six euro. Ding ding ding! My kind of store and my kind of budget!

My Wine purchasing MO

I’m a devotée of the Vivino app. It’s a great on-the-fly method of researching and buying wine. If you haven’t used it, you take a photo of the wine label and it scans its database for reviews, ratings and tasting notes. I’ve drawn many puzzled stares from locals as I move up and down the shelves in search of a  bargain wine with enoteca-worthy quality.

An exceptional Italian wine discovery.

So, yesterday I hopped over to Lidl to shop for my dinner. I was in the mood for a nice, meaty red wine but I didn’t want to dip into my wine rack’s expensive holdings and I didn’t want, or need, the temptation to polish off a bottle too quickly fearing that it might go bad (haha!). On the third scan with Vivino I found a bottle of 2016 SerPasso Toscana red wine at 2.99 euro a bottle. Vivino delivered a 3.8 star rating out of five stars. My experience with Vivino is that wines above 3.5 definitely are worth checking out.

I popped one in my bag and took it home. As I was making dinner I prepared some salami and nuts to snack on, and I uncorked the wine. I turned my nose up at the synthetic cork. This doesn’t bode well, I thought, while preparing myself to sip on a wine that would be devoid of complexity. Boy, was I wrong! You know how you expect one thing and then you experience something else, something WAY beyond your expectations and you have one of those movie moments when everything else seems to fall away and time stops? Well, that’s how it was for me, even though you’re probably thinking that I’ve gone over the top.

A big, fruity red, soft tannins, nice complexity, and a LONG finish.

This kind of red wine is right up my alley. I was literally stunned to taste this wine while trying to reconcile how a 2.99 euro price tag could possibly be right. Remember Trader Joe’s Two-Buck Chuck? I recall thinking, Not bad, and stocking up on it. That wine lost steam and its appeal pretty quickly. I chided myself as a I longed for better quality and thought, Jed, you get what you pay for.

Not in this case, unless I simply was temporarily out of my mind.

I almost ran back to Lidl.

With a large cloth bag in hand. It had only been thirty minutes since I had purchased the one bottle. I imagined other people having just made the same discovery I had and already were rushing back to the store to claim the remaining bottles.

Thankfully, I didn’t encounter competitors that I would have to swat away. I calmly claimed eight bottles, leaving a few lonely survivors. My cloth bag was bulging. I went to the register, smugly thinking I had scored the last of this treasure. I wasn’t willing to consider that maybe a flat of this wine remained.

My total? Less than twenty-five euro for eight bottles. Think about it. Damn good wine (one that I’d love to slip into a blind taste test against snooty high-price-tags reds) at around $3,35 a bottle with the current conversion rate. And, this is NO Two-Buck Chuck.

I’m happy to have filled out the vacant slots on my wine rack with this beauty. But, I’m already considering another run to Lidl to see if they have any left. This kind of wine find doesn’t happen often. I’ve enjoyed other superior wines from Lidl but those have usually required that I trade up to the six to ten euro range.

Make Lidl your friend.

Not just for wine, but for artisanal cheeses, grass-fed beef, specialty cuisines (right now they’re doing a Greek-themed section) and loads more.

And, if you can find SerPasso, grab every bottle you can!

This Just In!

A confession. I’d written this blog post and readied it for the launchpad. Then, I went back to Lidl. Four bottles of SerPasso remained. And, they’re all mine!

By |2019-05-08T13:03:01+01:00May 8th, 2019|Drinking in Italy, Food in Italy|14 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!

14 Comments

  1. Robin Fink May 11, 2019 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for the tip, Jed!!
    We bought 6 bottles yesterday in Umbria, and shared last night with some locals you know, with dinner, at our home.
    They thought the wine was fabulous!
    Hope to see you, when you are in Umbria.
    XXo

    • Jed May 14, 2019 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      Yay! I’m glad you found it and like it. I just scored 4 more bottles. I’m not sure how long this energy will last.

  2. Karen Hundeby May 11, 2019 at 7:13 pm - Reply

    Jed, I took your advice and zipped over to our Lidl in Sulmona. I was half expecting that they wouldn’t have the SerPasso, considering you are much further North. Well, I was pleasantly surprised that they had a fully stocked shelf of the ruby red bonus wine. I bought ten bottles and could have purchased twenty! Another reason for you to move to Abruzzo! Thank you for exposing and endorsing SerPasso. Like you, I hate breaking in to my high value cantina wines on a daily basis. Now I have a fantastic, new go-to wine thanks to you!

    • Jed May 14, 2019 at 6:18 pm - Reply

      This makes me so happy! I love spreading news about worthy wine finds! If you come across a great wine deal, let ke know!

  3. Andy Fuchs May 10, 2019 at 9:53 am - Reply

    We just found out: local bread @Lidl is as good and fresh as from the local bakery down here in Sicilia… crazy!

    • Jed May 10, 2019 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      Yes, crazy, isn’t it! The bakery at our Lidl is superb though I haven’t sampled it lately (I’m a low carb guy. Don’t laugh!)

  4. James Mariorenzi May 9, 2019 at 8:32 am - Reply

    Hi Jed
    After reading this, I’m heading to Lidl in Pontecorvo, Frosinone this morning to give it a try.
    James

    • Jed May 10, 2019 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      Hi James, Let me know if you find it. I’m curious to know how much Lidl’s assortment varies in different areas!

  5. Nicole Victor May 9, 2019 at 12:00 am - Reply

    LOL…great story and I can just see you running over to LIdl with a big smile on your face to get the last 4 bottles….enjoy!!! xoxo

    • Jed May 10, 2019 at 8:28 pm - Reply

      You know me so well, Nicole!

  6. Kevin May 8, 2019 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Super entertaining! A very humorous fly on the wall kind of moment as I visualize your story! And very good to know….we will be sure to be on the lookout for a Lidl when we visit. I can totally relate to the desire to hoard a good inexpensive wine. My FIL found a nice Sangiovese….a 2012 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wine from Masciarelli. He bought all he could find where he lives and we did the same. Luckily we were limited to 3 bottles! 🙂

    • Jed May 8, 2019 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      Hi, Kevin, I love these “wine find” stories. Thanks for sharing yours. I’ll be sure to pass on info for other special treasures!

  7. Phillip A Infelise May 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm - Reply

    Jeb

    Why Lidl has not come to Colorado is just a matter of time. Until then, we can only access on our visits to Calabria, one coming up in October.

    Good news for you is to find that synthetic corks (and even screw tops) do not downgrade a wine and, in the future, will be the sign of a wine to have and to hold.

    Love you sight and content; please keep it up. Filippo

    • Jed May 8, 2019 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      Grazie. Filippo! And, thanks for the reassurance about the synthetic corks (and screw tops). I know that’s true but old prejudices die slowly! I’m so glad you like the blog and site! Best, Jed

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. By continuing to use this website you consent to our cookie usage and privacy policy. Ok