Prestigious Sommeliers International September 2013 issue Review:
O’Vineyards Proprietor’s Reserve 2007:
“Serve it at 16°C.
color: Black hue, purple
Nose: rich, very aromatic, dense, spices, blacberry, violet, peony, garigue, white pepper, cinnamon
Palate: pure straight at first taste. Very good amplenes, Spices, freshness and density in the finish
Match with food: grilled wild boar, Prime rib, marrow bone
I love the name New French wine. I could be part of a New France movement. Very inline with the Outsiders group. Thanks for the comment, Jane! Really nice to hear that we’re doing something right and that all of our work is paying off.
I got to see a lot of British friends while I was on Naked Wines UK Tour this summer. Even Jancis Robinson, the queen bee herself attended our London tasting. And she had exceptionally positive things to say about the innovation at Naked Wines and also the quality of wine.
Overall quality of Naked Wines
“There are no duds, even if most of the offerings are of solid rather than mind-blowing quality – but the range is really interesting (see, for example, boutique Chileans, dry Germans, the stunning value Strathbogie Pinot and Slovenians). And if you search for GV (good value), you will find some VGV and the odd VVGV. But please be warned that not all of these wines will still be available. You can check at www.nakedwines.com.”
Jancis correctly points out that the entire range at Naked is solid quality and there are many hidden gems with very good value. She also acknowledges that the listed prices are 30% higher than the discounted price available to the thousands and thousands of Naked Angels, paid members of the site.
Impression of the Winemakers
“We were allowed in early at the beginning of the tasting session and it was rather sweet to see this collection of mainly young men, all in the same Naked Wines T-shirt, chatting excitedly with each other, rather like freshers on their first day at university.”
I did like this bit about how the winemakers (myself included) were standing about the room before the tasting like a bunch of first years at university. It’s a remarkably accurate description as the whole tour reminded me a lot of college. Roaming around a new environment with a bunch of great people I just met. Free shirts. A bit of drinking.
O’Vineyards Tasting Notes
I don’t cater my winemaking to specific journalists, but it’s always really nice to hear that very accomplished wine pros who have been around the block like what I’m doing.
O’Vineyards, Trah Lah Lah 2008 IGP La Cité de Carcassonne
16.5 Drink 2011-2015
Made by Ryan and Joe O’Connell. 65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep crimson. Nicely integrated. Sweet start and attractively dry, lively finish. Still a bit chewy but chock full of life. 13.5%
£12.99 Naked Wines
And I’m not the only one she liked. As mentioned above, no duds in this tasting. The Languedoc did exceptionally well as we represent an important part of the Naked Wines portfolio. Winemaker Ben Darnault got one of the many Good Value awards in Jancis’ notes for his highly drinkable “Very Languedoc” Minervois. And Hegarty-Chamans put forward some nice wines that raised her brow. Always interesting things to drink in the Languedoc.
O’Vineyards Proprietor’s Reserve 2006 was delivered in the UK recently and the reviews are pouring in as quickly as the wine is being poured into glasses!
Try a bottle
Everybody orders in increments of six bottles. Even though this is a wine they know can sit for a long time in their cellar, it’s only human to want to taste one straight away and evaluate for themselves how it will age and when would be the best time to open the other five!
So right away, we have a lot of people trying a bottle.
How to cellar a wine
Once you discover the wine is good, it’s very hard to resist the temptation of drinking them all young on the fruit flavors! One customer suggested her perfect solution: buy 2 cases ;D
Posted by Julie Boulton on 16:17 25/08/2011
Comment on: Domaine O’Vineyards Proprietors Reserve 2006
The characteristics of this wine make it go well with a wide range of foods. We tried it with tapas and each dish brought out different undertones. A real medley of tastes! I’d highly recommend trying it this way, but do include some spicy meats, chicken and cheese dishes. Wonderful and very smooth.
Agree it’s too powerful to drink on its own.
A very special wine to be savoured with every mouthful…
I’ve put 6 bottles aside, so there are 5 on my rack to indulge in whenever the urge takes us… now you’re thinking I’ve been a bit greedy buying 2 cases, but I’m very glad I did (at Market Place prices)! Well done Ryan and Joe… a votre sante!
Dealing with Negative Feedback
I should confess that one person has given us a negative review on the wine. It’s really great how Naked Wines puts me in direct contact with my wine drinkers, and this comment is a perfect example. The man says he’s disappointed and “Delivery was left in porch foe some days” [sic] A-ha! I think that’s a good guess, and I recommend the best way to get his money back. Crisis averted.
In the wine world, there is such a long chain of custody between vineyard and your cellar, there are a million things that can go wrong. If he hadn’t offered this information, I’d be left scratching my head wondering how anybody could describe this wine as lacking oomph. If anything, the major criticism of the O’Vineyards Reserve is too much oomph! ;D So here, the comment system allows me to discover what went wrong and offer the best course to rectify the problem. All businesses should be so lucky!
O’Vineyards Proprietor’s Reserve 2006 finally made its way to households across the UK. One of my favorite things about Naked Wines is the rabid devotion and excitedness of the customers over there. We get instant updates about the wine being delivered and it seems to never take more than a day for somebody to pop open a bottle and let us know how well it traveled.
Naked Wines customers are Fast
Posted by Darren Lewis on 17:51 18/08/2011
Woo hoooooo…… the O’Vineyards Proprietors Reserve 2006 Marketplace offering arrived today.
Now I just need to make up a special occasion so that I can drink it.
Is Thursday a special enough occasion?
Darren confirmed the wine has been delivered at their home at 17:51 on the 18th. I wonder how long it will be before somebody opens a bottle. Less than 3 hours later Trevor is already reviewing the wine online:
Naked Wines customers are devoted
And the reviews keep coming in! We’ll keep hearing from them about how the wine is evolving and meeting their needs. Do their friends like it? Do their kids like it? How does it compare to other wines from O’Vineyards or other vintages of Reserve. We get all this feedback for free and it helps us make better wines to better please our best customers.
Naked Wines customers are the best customers in the world.
PS – It took Darren a few days to open that bottle, but he immediately let us know how it went!
Posted by Darren Lewis on 13:31 21/08/2011
Comment on: Domaine O’Vineyards Proprietors Reserve 2006
Not for the feint of heart.
It’s a deeply heady blend, packed with ripe fruits and carrying an undertone of floral perfume.
This intensity, coupled with a slightly dry finish might make it just too full-on for some to drink on it’s own. But, all of these characteristics make it a perfect match for a nicely rare steak.
Top drawer again O’Connells…… and I have 5 more bottles to indulge in.
As some of you know, I’ve been doing semantic analyses of wine reviews we receive online. Mostly, I’ve used this data to make silly computer-generated wine reviews. But today I’m going to use the data to talk a bit about word clouds and word frequency.
Robert Parker’s most used words
Robert Parker is one of the most influential wine critics on earth and he popularized a one hundred point rating scale which dominates the US wine market. An American named Tom Wark did some data gathering about Robert Parker’s perfect scored wines. Basically, he looked at the 224 wines that had received a perfect score of 100 from Robert Parker.
Wark published the list of words that appear the most in tasting notes for 100 point wines. This should give us some insight into what sort of characteristics appear in wines that Parker thought of as perfect.
For words like “Elegan” or “Intens”, the reason they cut off like that is because Wark grouped Intense, intensely, intensity, and other nearly identical words into one word group labeled simply “Intens”. Fair enough!
What we get is that Parker uses the word rich a ton when he tastes a wine that merits 100 points out of 100. Intensity, concentration and spiciness also come up a lot. Minerality, massiveness, balance, complexity and length are also in there.
I think this is a really fun idea. Because I’m a data nerd.
Customer comments – Tastes Like Wine
So Parker often describes “perfect” wines as rich, intense and concentrated. What words do my customers use most?
Yes, rather hilariously, the most used words are Taste Like Wine. Not together mind you.
So I did an analysis of customer comments regarding Trah Lah Lah 2008 on Naked Wines, an online wine retailer that represents and promotes us in the UK. The word cloud above is a graphical representation of the words used most frequently in reviews, and the most common words appear in larger font size. I generated the word cloud above using wordle, although I did move some of the words around in a graphic program later on to emphasize the tastes like wine joke. But the size of the words is accurate! I just moved them to the top of the cloud. Wordle also automatically removes definite articles, personal pronouns, possessive adjectives and certain other words that are more about syntax than meaning.
Now, there is a huge difference between what Naked Wines customers say about Trah Lah Lah 2008 and what Robert Parker says about wines he rates as 100 points, namely because very few of the comments wine drinkers left on Naked are in “tasting note” form. Instead of striving for journalistic, objective tasting notes about richness or spice, people tend to write about their whole wine experience. It seems pretty normal that the most used words include “taste” “like” and “wine”. Personal pronouns and possessive adjectives (I, me, our, its) appear much more frequently.
Here is a list of the words that got used most (I think I might have taken out all the definite articles and certain words that only serve syntax) and the number of times that word appeared.
- I 94
- wine 52
- not 32
- really 23
- bottle 22
- we 21
- again 20
- you 20
- good 19
- very 18
- like 18
- some 18
- my 18
- taste 18
- buy 15
- french 15
- red 14
- more 14
- me 13
- just 13
- if 13
- well 13
- quite 12
- one 12
- first 12
- bit 10
- better 10
- too 10
- all 10
- wines 10
Is there a meaningful difference between Parker 100 tasting notes and Naked Wines customer comments?
So there is a huge difference in which words appear the most. But is this a meaningful difference? Well, for the most part, this is not a good comparison. But it is a very fun comparison and it inspires certain ideas.
For one thing, why are tasting notes built the way they are? Why do wine critics try to objectively describe flavors and odors in wines?
When they do try to refer to the overall experience of the wine, why does their vocabulary focus on richness, depth, complexity and so on? Wine drinkers don’t think this way (at least not according to this small sample from Naked Wines customer reviews of Trah Lah Lah 2008).
Again, this isn’t really a fair comparison because tasting notes aren’t the same as customer comments. Tasting notes are specifically built to describe the experience of a wine. Customer comments can be anything. They can be about an overall experience, they can be about a specific pairing the person tried, they can be simpler statements (eg I liked it, I didn’t like it), they can be congratulatory or simply grateful (eg Thanks!, Good job, guys!). This means that customer reviews won’t limit themselves to particular vocabulary like tasting note jargon.
Now, even if we limit the analysis of customer comments to only the descriptive words (like rich, intense, etc.) we get a list that’s pretty far from Parker’s. The most common are Really, Very, Good. Of course the statistics can be a bit misleading since Not is even more common than those! The first descriptive words that appear on the list which might be described as more precise are “French” and “Red”.
Also, I’m only using the 100 point scores from Parker but I’m using all comments for my Trah Lah Lah 2008 on Naked Wines. One might argue that the reason Trah Lah Lah comments don’t have the word rich is because the wine is not 100 points. So I will admit right here and now that this is bad science. This is not a perfect comparison. However, it still illustrates my notion that wine critics use a vocabulary that is actually somewhat foreign to the average wine drinker.
You can also argue that wine drinkers lack the refinement or courage to say things like “intense and deep” while it’s very easy to say “tastes like good wine”. But I think that’s my point. Regular wine drinkers don’t necessarily understand or relate to tasting notes like “unctuous”. Maybe wine communication should use vocabulary more familiar to wine drinkers. How would most drinkers react if the back of a bottle said “This is a French red wine and it tastes good and could use some food”?
Apology and shaking my fist at Stephen Colbert
I was going to post these word clouds later with a lot more analysis of Parker’s reviews.. I would also like to do word clouds of Parker’s ediotrial content (instead of straight up tasting notes) and even do some for other critics and journalists. But Stephen Colbert recently beat me to the punch and I hate it when Stephen Colbert steals my ideas!!!
I promise to talk about all of this in more depth and with more rigor if I get chosen to present at SXSW in Austin next year. The talk I suggested is about data analysis, reinterpretation, visual representation, infographics, and all sorts of other stuff that might help people in non-verbal jobs like wine communicate with the rest of the world online.
Customer review of Domaine O’Vineyards Trah Lah Lah2008:
Posted by Francesca Jacklin on 21:19 07/08/2011
Comment on: Domaine O’Vineyards Trah Lah Lah 2008
A lovely rounded wine with plenty of berry fruit, but not jammy, and a nice dose of tannins that make it pair well with food, we had this with BBQ rack of lamb and it was gorgeous.
One of my favourite wines, the aroma is so heady it’s hard to put the glass down and you never want the bottle to end!
Whenever you say what you pair the food with, my mouth starts to water. You guys are doing it right! Drinking this wine with goooood food. The only time you have to put your glass down is to open another bottle! ;D
Customer review of Domaine O’Vineyards O’Syrah 2008:
Posted by Cindy Phillips on 22:21 28/07/2011
Comment on: Domaine O’Vineyards O’Syrah 2008
This wine was absolutely LOVELY! It’s just the kind of wine my husband and I love. Heavy, rich and flavourful. Absolutely loved it. Have put another 12 bottles in my basket already!!
Cindy has made us very happy. We just love to hear when people enjoy the work we put into these wines. Lots of concentration and extraction to get those rich, flavourful wines! She used LOVELY, love, and loved! LOVE LOVE LOVE it. So good she got a whole other case. Good times. We’re very happy that this is her kind of wine.
Customer review of Domaine O’Vineyards O’Syrah 2008:
Posted by Mark Bonsall on 11:15 24/07/2011
Comment on: Domaine O’Vineyards O’Syrah 2008
Smoothness personified. This was an absolute treat and I’m so glad I bought in advance in bulk! Can’t think of anything critical to say about it really, it just slid down so well I got to the end of the bottle without even realising! Chapeau!
Hats off to another customer for an epicly well-written wine review. We love to hear that our wines are easy to drink… perhaps a little TOO easy!!
Customer review of Domaine O’Vineyards Trah Lah Lah 2005:
Posted by john o’mahony on 13:15 13/07/2011
Comment on: Domaine O’Vineyards Trah Lah Lah 2005
A awesome bottle of wine! Don’t be put off bye the silly name it’s frigging fantastic. Me and 7 friends picked this wine out of 5 others one night all agreeing it was our favorite. Well worth a try.
Haha, love hearing this sort of review. Not only does John enjoy the wine, he disses the silly name, and he shared the bottle with friends! That’s always the best news. We like it when people like the wine. We LOVE it when they share the wine with others!
O’Vineyards: pairs well with friendship. That’s a great tagline … sort of has an alcoholic carebear vibe to it.