We return to Naked Wines this week, with the recent news that they are bringing the winemakers to meet the customers in a series of UK tasting tours. They're coming to London, Brighton, Norwich, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Edinburgh so if you're nearby, pop along to sample the wines for yourselves. You'll get to meet the winemakers themselves and sample their latest offerings.
Naked kindly provided some wines as a preview (remembering that "Angels" get 33% cashback off the marked price in return for £20 a month regular payment into your Angels account). We had the first three this week and the next three will follow next week. Enjoy!
Castillo de Tafalla Angels Selection Rosé, Navarra, 2010
Winemaker Benoit Dreyer returns with his "pick of the crop" rosé made from Garnacha (Grenache) grapes grown in Navarra. We've had the standard 2009 rosé before and found it to be very good. 14%
The Look: As you can hopefully tell from the photo, this is probably the most striking-coloured wine; bright lipstick-red with orange and cerise hues. Almost fluorescent in its brightness!
The Smell: Apples, some caramel, strawberry, hints of tropical fruit and some cedary/oaky wood.
The Taste: Again, very apply, like a sweet gala apple, some caramel sweetness but balanced by nice crisp acidity, some tropical hints and decent length. Certainly better on the second glass but a bitterness on the finish let it down slightly.
The Score: A decent rosé but didn't wow as much as the 2009 7/10.VFM: At £7.99 this is pretty good value, giving VFM = 0.88, but I'm not sure the cream of the crop is worth the extra £1 over the standard Rosé at £6.99?
Winemaker Alessandro Botter crafts this fizz in the winery his grandfather set up. Extra dry in style, from about 40 miles North of Venice in the Veneto region. Non-vintage and 11%.
The Look: Pale watery-white with a slight lemon tinge.
The Smell: Very aromatic, grape-juice and peaches are evident.
The Taste: Fine bubbles and lots of them! Very fresh acidity, white fruit like grapes, peaches and apricots. Lots of fruit. Slight hint of biscuit but not a great deal of complexity.
The Score: A fresh, fruity, fragrant and accessible Prosecco. Not bad at all 7/10.VFM: At £10.49 I would suggest that this is about 20% overpriced, it lacks the minerality and elegance that you start can find in £10+ Proseccos. VFM@ 0.67 isn't terrible and with the Angel's 33% cashback it's more in line with what you'd expect to pay.
From the hot region of Alentejano in the south of Portugal by winemaker Antonio Ventura. This is a blend of indigenous varieties; Trincadeira, Aragonez and Alicante Bouschet. And no, I've never heard of them either! 13%.
The Look: Dark red with purple and violet hues running through. Not quite opaque but nearly.
The Smell: Really great smells, especially after an hour open. Redcurrants, blackcurrants, blackberries and oaky spice.
The Taste: Lots of fruit, a hit of dark cherry, blackberry and brighter more acidic red fruit like redcurrants. Cedary notes as well. Good balance between fruit, acidity and tannin. Not infinitely long but a decent length. Ever-so-slight hotness on the finish. Good, solid, but generic fruity red.
The Score: At £7.99 it places itself in a tough competitive environment. There's gallons of good wines to be had and this doesn't really stand out. It is, however, an unusual blend and it's worth a try. 7/10.VFM: The VFM pops out at a pretty respectable 0.88. Portuguese wines are neglected by the majority of the wine-drinking public (I'm guilty) but not deservedly so. Next time I'll probably go for the Reserva 2009 @ £9.99 as I'm sure that would offer a step-up in taste.
So there we have it. Three solid performers this time around. All good value and even more so if you're prepared to stump-up the £20 a month Angels fee. I'll review the remaining three next week, maybe there'll be a breath-taker amongst those...?
As always, speak to you soon.