Dear Lidl, a few words…

by Daniele Cernilli 02/25/16
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Cara Lidl ti scrivo….

Let me start off by saying that I have nothing against supermarkets even when, as in your case, they are more like a hard discount store in regard to sales policy. I am of the mind that if they respect suppliers and are able to offer products of sufficient quality to consumers at low prices then they are playing an important social role. However, from there to use an important brand like Gambero Rosso to guarantee their Deluxe Selection of foods and wines seems a bit of a stretch. This also because my former colleagues at Gambero Rosso are more used to dealing with high quality products, especially when it comes to wine. Evidence of this is the fact that in their wine guide they included just over 2,000 producers out of the some 65,000 present in Italy today. Doing the math this comes out at 4%. Furthermore, in any technical tasting review, for which they are undoubtedly qualified, the rapport between quality and price is taken into consideration ‘ex post’ the focus on quality. While it is true that you, Lidl, have in Germany benefitted from the collaboration of a famous Master Sommelier like Markus Del Monego, he is more similar to Italy’s Luca Gardini than the tasters at Gambero Rosso who work independently and probably did not have to involve the buyers and quality controllers at Lidl. And so it has come to pass, as Fiorenzo Sartore noticed for first, that the descriptions you, Lidl, offer on your website and at retail outlets, under the aegis of ‘Gambero Rosso Selection’ are often quite severe. For example, there is a Verdicchio defined as “vegetal, saline, bitter and a bit sulfurous”, a Colli Piacentini Malvasia said to “not taste of much” and a Zibibbo that was “sweet but savable”. These are wines that cost around 3 euros, you may point out, the Verdicchio was actually 1.89 euros, and this leads one to wonder about what price was paid to producers, obviously very low and certainly not in line with respect between all parties. I am sure that the wines were all impeccably and with great sincerity reviewed by Gambero Rosso tasters and that their comments, when read carefully, would not induce anyone to buy these wines. I imagine that you, dear Lidl, paid Gambero Rosso generously for both the service they provided and the right to use their brand name for promotional purposes. Some say it was even several hundred thousand euros. For me, not even the most extreme and perverse fantasies of a sadomasochist would cost this much to be treated in such a way. Then again, dear Lidl, if this makes you happy, so be it.

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