Is Naked Wines good value?
By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr
I have, until recently, been a bit of a sceptic about Naked Wines. Was the subscription membership support really enabling wine makers to make better and hugely beneficially priced wines, or was this simply good marketing presentation of a good concept?
Well, I was recently sent a case of six bottles of some of their most popular wines, and it has made me revise my views. There are some interesting wines there, and good value.
Having worked with and in vineyards around the World, I have a pretty good idea of the cost of production. So the range I was sent between £7.99 and £9.99 (Naked members prices) actually I feel is good value for the quality level, particularly when you take into account packaging, shipping, warehousing, duty, free delivery within a day or so, and vat in top. And I guess, the wine-maker and Naked staff have to make a living.
Of the three whites sent, for me the best was the South African, Kruger Family Sauvignon Blanc 2022. The wines coming out of South Africa are getting better, and this comes from one of the best and most famous areas, the Stellenbosch.
This wine was not one of those "grassy" green, tart, sauvignons which I find too astringent. This wine is full with nice fruit and acidity, and complexity with citrus fruits and good persistence. Good food wine for all fish dishes. £8.99 to Naked Angles.
The Stefano Di Blasi Bianco Trevenezie 2021, is exactly what one would expect and hope for from a North East Italy white blend, part Soave, part Pinot Grigio, crisp dry and fresh. It is a good "fridge" wine for an occasional aperitivo, or for salads and summery dishes. This is a sound, straight forward, well made "crowd pleaser". Again £8.99 for Angels.
The third white is a rich apricot and lychee perfumed Viognier from the South of France. 2021 Benjamin Darnault's Viognier, which is dry but has some creamy almost sweet texture as well as the peach and apricot bright fruit. Another wine at an Angel price of £8.99, and good for salads and white meats, but very good with a cheese board.
For me, again, I had a favourite of the three red wines, the lovely Portuguese blend of local grape varietals, which makes a complex elegant and beautifully balanced, gentle red. The Montaria Vinho Regional 2021 from south of Lisbon.
This wine would be perfect with roasted chicken, or pork. Good value at £7.99 for Angels, with Portugal producing some of the best value wines in the World.
The other two wines were big and gutsy reds, particularly the Christian Patat 2021 Primitivo from the very South of Italy in Puglia. With "moreish" attractive dark berry fruit, but balanced with good fresh acidity, to make it a perfect accompaniment with roasted, grilled, or barbecued red meat. This is a real crowd-pleaser, and worth the more expensive £9.99 for Angels.
Finally, a soft round South African Merlot. Arabella 2022 Merlot from the Western Cape. Lots of dark cherry and plum fruit, very easy drinking wine, although at 14.5% alcohol, a bit heady. But highly competent winemaking at a good price £7.99.
All these wines, I note, are vegan and vegetarian certified.
I was impressed by the range, some good variety and for anyone signing up, masses to discover and choose from.
As a parting shot, I have recently come across the Simpsons. who started making wine in the L'Herault in the South of France. An excellent viticultural area making excellent wines, just in the hills north of Beziers. They more recently planted a vineyard in 2014 in Kent, to make an excellent English sparkling wine. But I see that Naked are offering their Southern French sparkling rose' 2020 for £14.99 for Naked Angels, which is a very good deal for pink fizz. Ideal, affordable, party wine!
Naked Wines, definitely worth a try.