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. 🙂
I’m a member of a group of winemakers known as The Outsiders, our forces marshaled by Louise Hurren. And in anticipation for our London tasting on November 10th, this article is an exploration of what being an outsider even means.
What the heck is an outsider?
There are people in this world who just always end up in weird situations. Outsiders will regularly surprise you. Not with contrived novelty. Not by jumping from behind a corner and shouting “Boo!” But by being genuinely and irrepressibly strange.
Am I an outsider?
Being a winemaker at a highly technical web conference gave me several glimpses of that priceless moment of surprise. Somebody says, “I’m a front end UX designer.” Somebody else says, “I’m a coder working on the W3C”. I say, “I’m a winemaker.” [small double take] In that moment, the true definition of outsider emerges. Somebody who is so unusual in the milieu, that they can contribute real insight. It might not always be great insight, but it’ll be original.
But if being a winemaker makes me an outsider to the tech world, doesn’t that mean I’m an insider in the wine world. Well, honestly, if you know anything about me, you know that’s not true. I’m a first generation winemaker with no training, certifications, or degrees. I was born and raised in a part of the US where award winning wine production is dominated by fermented fruit concentrate with flavors added (no joke, definitely a link worth clicking). I just love wine and I’m pretty good at making it.
People ask why
People also ask how. But all these questions are very hard to answer. I don’t have a rule book or manifesto that guides my decision making. I guess that’s also part of being a natural-born outsider. Who knows why we do the crazy things we do? But when you look at our amazing lives, our beautiful countrysides, our delicious wines, et cetera. . . don’t your questions fade away?
Sharing the Outsider Experience
I hope the Outsiders Tasting in London this November 10th will give a lot of people a glimpse of true weirdness. Not that the wines will be over the top, heavy-handed efforts to surprise you. They’ll just be effortlessly surprising. Because we’re all genuinely strange people. And we can’t help but make interesting wines.
Who exactly are the Outsiders?
At the London tasting, we will be many. In no particular order:
OUTSIDERS TASTING – Documentation for the wines and bios for the winemakers attending the Outsiders Tasting. The bios in this pack explains the outside angle for each of the winemakers.