So, why not a naked grapes? I can hear you now: "Um, aren't they all naked?" Well, yes, on the vine they are. But after harvesting, on their way to my mouth, many make a stop off in an oak barrel - some for quite a while. And let's face it, no one looks good in a barrel.
That's kind of the idea behind The Naked Grape wines. Winemaker Hillary Stevens does use oak barrels, but not a whole lot. Steel is her fabric of choice...kind of letting the grapes do all the work, and then letting the oak just add the accessories. But she called her wines The Naked Grape, so of course, I grabbed a few bottles for my Naughty Wine Names Series (again, the deciding factor for making it onto my naughty names list is this: would you blush if you presented a bottle to your grandma?) This is not to be confused with another naughty names list that gets a lot of attention at this time of year. That list is put together by a big guy in a red suit and is the BEST way to get young children to behave from, oh, about Halloween on. OK, moving along here....
First up was The Naked Grape Cabernet Sauvignon. (13% alcohol, California, non-vintage.) My first whiff of it was almost a vinegary aroma - maybe with some (wet?) leaves. It wasn't bad - just very pungent. It poured out bright, deep red with medium legs. In my mouth, I tasted smoke and ashes with oaky undertones. That was my first taste. I then used my handy-dandy aerator and the dark fruit popped out ahead of the oak. Also some finish to it. Nice. Not "wow". Just nice. Might be worth a second try.
Next on my naked list was the Chardonnay. (13.2% alcohol) Smelled of mellow lemon and some zesty citrus. It was a pale gold color that had a lively taste to it. The lack of oak really made the fruitiness jump out at you, but it wasn't a sweet, sticky fruit. Some pear, some apple. The finish was lingering with no bite to it - just a teeny bit zesty. Again, very nice. I would buy it again. I should also note that I used the Chardonnay to make what turned out (in my humble opinion) to be a killer Risotto Milanese!! It really did well in and with it!!
So would I get naked again? Well, I'm not a toddler, so public nudity would pretty much get me in trouble. I'm not a dog, thus naked is not my natural state. So we'll have to talk about buying The Naked Grape Wine. I purchased these wines for $6.99 on special (I think they usually run about $8 or so.) At that price, I'd definitely try them again. They also make a Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and a Moscato, but I had to cut my nakedness off somewhere. I'll get naked with the others someday and then write my review. (That's quite a sentence if you take it out of context, isn't it?)
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