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Naked Wines, June 2020

Updated: Dec 22, 2021

Dear friends,

Let me share with you this experience. Buying a book in Barnes & Noble we got a voucher for a $100 discount in something called "Naked Wines". My first reaction was "what a strange and catchy name!", the second "this must be a joke", and the third "let's turn on the computer and check".

To my surprise, I confirmed that it was real. After using the $100 discount, I paid less than $43 for 6 bottles including shipping and tax.

Naked Wines' concept is to distribute wines from very small winemakers saving most intermediary costs. No advertising and growth by word of mouth. And they say you are an "Angel" if you join!

We chose white since the warm temperatures were calling for it. The shipment came in less than one week. The pack included 4 CA wines, one of them sparkling, 1 from New Zealand and 1 from Southern France. Sally and I tasted them and enjoyed most. Some seemed very good to us. And, certainly, for what we paid, the price/quality ratio has amazing. Let me offer our comments:

Rod Easthope 2019, Sauvignon Blanc, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Sally’s favorite. She was very excited about this wine. I’d say a typical NZ white but with more body. I detected lime, melon, rockrose and fennel, the bottle said boysenberry, elderflower and fennel, and other tasters in my family detected banana and pineapple. In mouth it was salty and herbal.

The denomination, Hawke’s Bay, is located in the North Island and is the second most prolific wine area in NZ after the ubiquitous Malborough County.

Food pairing: We enjoyed this wine with asparragous in vinaigrette.

Their rating: 95%

My rating: 90 pts.

Jaqueline Bahue 2019, Albariño, Lodi, CA

I was very surprised to see an Albariño from CA and approached it with interest. The aroma was very shy. I had a difficult time identifying anything in particular. I went through my mental wheel of fruits, spices, flowers, etc. and could not nail it down. It lacked the brightness of Rias Baixas and the liveliness of a Vinho Verde but we just kept drinking it and could not stop. The flavor was of tropical fruits, very common in Albariños. It was so friendly and pleasant!

Food pairing: It went very well with shrimp scampi.

Their rating: 88%

My rating: 88 pts.

Jac Cole 2018, Chardonnay (unoaked), Alexander Valley, CA

When I approached my nose to this wine I thought I was in presence of my wife leaving the shower. It smelled to me as something in her shampoo. After the shock I decided on lavender. Some hints of thyme and oregano but definitively lavender. In the fruit side we detected ripe pear.

In mouth it was moderately but noticeably buttery, salty and sharp/pungent. It kept evolving with more fruity flavors, amongst them chamomile.

A wine that is far from the prototypical CA over-oaked Chardonnay. A powerful white saying “here I am, whether you hate me or love me!”

Food pairing: After tasting it I decided to open a pack of sharp goat cheese and they married very nicely.

Their rating: 93%

My rating: 90 pts.

Miriam (by Alexandra Farber) 2019, Riesling, CA

This is just my rating because Sally refuses to have Rieslings.

Unlike many German Rieslings with alcoholic degrees between 8 and 11% this one had 12%. Interesting aromas of apple sauce, pear, white flowers, custard caramel and an herb spice, maybe oregano. Lots of things that kept popping up as we went. I will be interested on your thoughts.

In mouth, also, unlike many German Rieslings, it was oily/buttery (more towards CA style). The acidity was mild but crispy and playful, combined with some mild sweetness that Rieslings can seldom get rid of in spite of being labelled as “dry”.

I though this was a very nice wine.

Food pairing: I enjoyed it with smoked salmon.

Their rating: 89%

My rating: 89 pts.

Eponina (sparkling), Chardonnay blend, CA

Abundant bubbles of mid to small size that formed a permanent thick crown in the glass. Great start!

The prevalent aromas were lemon peel and lemon curd with a minimal yeasty hint.

In mouth it showed some salty nature with medium body and smooth texture. Elegant.

Food pairing: We had it with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, olives and nuts.

Their rating: 91%

My rating: 88 pts.

Pique Nique 2018, Chardonnay, Colombard and Sauvignon Blanc. Minervois, France

My maternal grandmother lived with us during my childhood in Madrid outskirts. She liked wine too much, according to my father. When he was out she would send my brother Juancho and me to the bodega with an empty bottle to get some white wine. The bodega had a metal counter, always very shiny, and an array of huge clay deposits (tinajas), coated in blue color. The owner would gab our bottle and fill it up from a tap near the bottom of a tinaja, hand us the bottle back and say: 5 cents. Once we paid he would add “you are too young to do these errands”. “Next time tell her to come”.

This wine reminded me much of the vinous aroma of my grandmother's white wine.

Food pairing: Croquetas caseras (use an internet translator if necessary)

Their rating: 89%

My rating: 81 pts.

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