“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. 🙂
On the 4th of July, I returned from the UK (a daring reenactment of American Independence Day ;D). I had just completed a massive UK wine tour with my UK importerNaked Wines. Looking back, I can’t believe how much fun it was.
Fun, laid back tastings
One important element of the fun is that Naked Wines doesn’t take itself too seriously. Customers could pour their own glasses of wine. This might seem like a small thing, but it’s really important. All too often, tastings get this artificial feeling where winemakers or professionals stand on one side of the table and tasters stand on the other side. This artificial divide really dampens the mood. Plus I always feel like I’m in a zoo, being stared at. And tasters often feel that they are asking permission for the wine.
I much prefer the free and open tasting where everybody’s equal. Anybody can pour a bottle. And winemakers can switch to the other side of the table if we so desire!
Innovative Formats & Weird locations
We also had fun doing weird tastings. I’ve talked about our guerilla pop up wine tastings before. The general idea is to play with the wine tasting format and spice it up. We try to make wine less scary and more fun while bringing the delicious fruits of our labor to as many new markets as possible.
And we also had some wacky locations like the Royal Arms Museum. I still think it’s a miracle nobody tried to get on a horse or swing a halberd at a winemaker.
Meeting Angels & Vineshare Owners
Another crucial part of the tour was meeting Angels. O’Vineyards couldn’t exist if it weren’t for all the support of the Naked Wines Angels. And we only know a few of them (the more talkative ones). This tour was an opportunity to meet several hundred angels whose contributions allow me to continue making wine!
Some of the angel encounters were especially exciting since we just launched our new vineyard share program. 100 Angels have rented vines near mine and are paying me to take care of the parcel and make their wines. I got to meet about a dozen of these angels in person for the first time. 🙂
There was always this terrifying moment when the investor first tasted my wine. Thankfully, they all loved it! And here’s a video commentary from one of the angels/investors who had just met me for the first time.
Meeting other winemakers
I got to meet a lot of other winemakers during the tour too. I honestly expected more violence and argument between the winemakers. But they’re all really great people to hang out with. It’s clear that Naked Wines hires based on personality as well as quality of wine. And that makes sense because ultimately, we all have to be able to interface with their clients on the website’s social network as well as in tastings like these!
It’s also cool to taste so many of the most popular wines on the site. It gives me real perspective into what angels love. And that helps inform my winemaking decisions at the vineyard.
Being Part of a Movement
Whenever I see something like this photo of some of the dadaists and constructivists in the early twentieth century all meeting together to take goofy photos… I think it must have been crazy to live at that time. To be surrounded by all that talent and energy.
Toward the end of tour, as all the winemakers and naked staff sat around the dinner table, I felt like I was living in one of those special moments. Like I’m part of a really important movement. All I’m doing is making wine, but I belong to this big group of people who might be changing the way the wine and food world work. I don’t know how important it really is, but it sure feels important.
Over 20 independent winemakers, funded by online wine retailer Naked Wines, are flying over to the UK at the end of June to thank and meet their customers. As part of a UK-wide Tasting Tour, covering eight different cities in a week, the winemakers will showcase over 100 wines which were made possible through Naked Angel funding.
So I’ll be meeting a lot of the people who drink my wines! It should be a whole lot of fun.
Every day, we’ll also be doing a popup tasting at lunch time, but you’ll have to follow the chatter on twitter and the like (or get lucky) to discover those. 🙂
See you soon, UK wine drinkers! 🙂
How to find us
Domaine O’Vineyards, located in the North Arrondissement of Carcassonne, is just minutes from the Carcassonne train station, the Medieval City, and the Carcassonne Airport.
GPS coordinates: 43.259622, 2.340387
Wine, Dine, Relax at our Boutique Vineyard
Unique thing to do in Carcassonne
Wine Cellar. Winery Visits. Wine Tasting.
Wine & Food Pairing
North Arrondissement of Carcassonne
885 Avenue de la Montagne Noire
11620 Villemoustaussou, France
Tel: +33(0) 630 189 910
Best by GPS.
Follow the signs to Mazamet/ Villemoustaussou using the D118. At the end of the last straight part of D118, you will come to a roundabout with the Dyneff gas station.
Take the exit towards Pennautier. Continue 500m to a small roundabout and go straight over.
Look out for the second road on your right, Avenue des Cévennes which curves up hill (about 1km) to Avenue de la Montagne Noire on the left.
At the last juction, bear left. the road sign “Ave de la Montagne Noire” (confusing as it seems to show a right turn)
After another 500m you will see our red brick color building in the middle of the vines.