Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Naked Wines

Sat 7 March 2009

Last week I was very lucky because I was the 100th follower of NakedWines on Twitter. A day or so later I was the happy recipient of a mixed case of wine (and they even asked me if there was anything I particularly liked or disliked before they put it together).

Note: read to the bottom for a £25 voucher!

Naked Wines launched last December (you can read the back story over at Spittoon) and seems to be embracing social media and Web 2.0 enthusiastically: the company has engaged bloggers, run a video competition to win wine for your wedding and is, tomorrow (that's Wednesday 11 March) running a tasting of Australian wines including a live auction (Naked Wines is buying the wine). If you're so minded you can follow the action online or through Twitter.

But all of that is not much chop if what ends up in your glass doesn't make you go back and buy more wine.

Naked Wines

The first wine opened was the Hacienda Don Ramon 2006 Rioja (Tempranillo), which is £7.99. The first thing I noticed was that it's a very pretty wine to look at: a ruby wine with a blushing pale raspberry rim. The nose was not overtly pronounced but had a lot of fresh red berry fruit: very ripe sun kissed strawberries and raspberries that are still in the garden, so there's some earthy, dusty notes as well as some vegetal notes from the berry plants' leaves. That vegetal note was a little bit pervasive for me so I quickly moved on to tasting the wine! Much fresher strawberry on the palate: intensive and attractive. The tannins were definitely present but well balanced by the acidity. The vegetal notes I was unsure of on the nose were much less pronounced on the palate, and were complimented by some more developed woody, leathery flavours. The length was very good although I did feel it was a little dominated by alcohol (the wine is 14%abv). This is a pretty minor complaint because throughout the rest of the palate the alcohol was well integrated.

Andy summed the wine up in far fewer words: "I think this is really nice".

The next night we opened a bottle of Domaine des Anges 2005 Côtes du Ventoux (75% Grenache, 25% Shiraz), from the fringes of the southern Rhône (also £7.99). A noticeably older wine in appearance, it was garnet in the glass but still had plenty of fresh fruit on the nose.The nose was quite pronounced, with white pepper and hot spice notes mixing very ripe red berry fruit. There was also something a tad tarry or medicinal (or perhaps liquorice-like?) in the background.

The palate was pretty true to the nose: pronounced, spicy but with a hit of ripe red berry fruit right at the front. It was more tannic than the Rioja and those tannins definitely dominated the finish a bit. But there was acidity, and some lovely slightly more developed flavours (think strawberries dipped in chocolate) with good length. Although the tannins might be a bit much for some it's a well balanced wine, and if the tannin worries you that much you can always leave it alone for a year or so!

Opinion on preference was divided: Andy thought he preferred the Rioja and I thought I preferred the Domaine des Anges. They are both good wines and priced well.

The really interesting thing about this exercise was that we actually ate the same thing with both wines and the Domaine des Anges fared a lot better. Our meal was a selection of cold meats, olives, cheeses and bread. The Rioja worked really well with our blue cheese (a Dolcelatte) but less impressively so with the Gruyère and really quite poorly with the meats and olives. The Grenache played nicely with all of the above and even survived a second night when it was drunk with spaghetti, chilli, oil and garlic!

If I've inspired you to check out Naked Wines then you can even claim £25 off your first purchase by hitting this page. The code you'll need is EATINGLEEDS and the password is GRAPES.

You can keep up to date with my adventures on the rest of the case by following me on Twitter!
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to the auction and stayed to the very end, it was soooo much fun. I was even made the official twitter because Greg the techie guy thought I was doing a better job of keeping up then he was. To be fair, he did have computer networks crashing all around him which only he could fix! I think you'll like the choices that were made, keep a special lookout for Ladies who shoot their lunch - Chardonnay. You should definitely make the trip down for the next one, Rowan says there will be more auctions in the future.

9:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Naked Wines tip! It's a really interesting site and I think I migth well try it by proxy. Got my 25 pound voucher and will have a look tomorrow (getting late down here). Thanks again.

11:19 am  
Blogger Katie said...

What a lovely surprise to win some wine.

7:15 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Love your wine posts. its where I lack. Mind If I link you on my blogroll?

10:26 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Winesleuth - I saw your tweets about the Ladies who shoot their lunch so I will keep an eye out!

Pete - hope you enjoy any wines you order!

Katie - you're right - free wine is the best!

Richard - thanks, and no problem linking!

8:51 pm  

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