March 30, 2010

Food & Wine Matching Notes from Naked Wines Latest Jamie Oliver Case

By Andrew Barrow In Food and Wine, Wine Notes

roquefort salad

Arriving at the tail end of last week the second mixed case of wines from Naked Wines forming a regular mailing under a Jamie Oliver Seasonal Picks selection. The case includes various recipes cards featuring Oliver’s recipes, each linked to one of the wines wine.

The recipes:
Best Lamb Cutlets with Special Basil Sauce matched with Dusty Dog Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 This Australian red is big, deep and juicy. Not the most complex of wines but decent enough. Matched well with the lamb – such a wine friendly meat – and even leapt over the brown dollop of sauce (pummelled pine nuts and basil, loosened with olive oil, with zing added by lots of balsamic vinegar, hence the unappealing colour) with ease. Despite the slight derogatory stance of the description the sauce is delicious. (Recipe from Jamie’s Dinners)

Char-grilled Pork Leg with Asparagus linked with Bain’s Way Merlot 2008. (Recipe from Jamie’s Kitchen).

Pan-Roasted Salmon with Purple Sprouting Broccoli and Anchovy-Rosemary Sauce with Gosling Creek Verdelho 2008 (Recipe from Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook)

Pasta Peperonata with Castillo de Tafalla Rosado 2009. (Recipe from Jamie’s Dinners)

Incredible Roasted Shoulder of Lamb with Smashed Veg and Greens with Parrot Valley Red Blend 2009 (recipe from Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life)

Cheese and Onion Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing with Mistral Chardonnay 2008. Billed as a starter but a ‘double’ portion served as a late evening meal when served with a few slices of toasted French bread. The photo is a stylised shot of the salad; although in this form it could be served as hors d’oeuvres. Now, if you don’t over-do the crumbled Roquefort, for it is strongly flavoured and would over power most wines, this un-wooded Chardonnay from Chile made for a rather satisfying combination. (Recipe from Jamie at Home)

Crispy Prawn Tempura with Ribbon Salad matched with Kimbao Sauvignon Blanc 2009. Good ol’ SB; versatile in food matching. While the tempura is on the ‘to try’ list the first bottle was opened to accompany little filo pastry parcels stuffed with leek, caramelised onions and cheese; details on Spittoon Extra. A jolly decent match indeed.

Rhubarb and Custard Kinda Soufflé with Las Moras Late Harvest Viognier 2006 Not convinced this is sweet enough for a dessert, high acidity halts any cloying sensation; nice apricot flavours. Wouldn’t automatically think of viognier though. Alcohol 12%. Sampled with a sorta trifle – layers of stewed rhubarb, crumbled ginger biscuits, custard, whipped double cream topping – the match was just ‘OK’. Maybe the soufflé proper would work better. Thinking a pâté would be more suitable… or indeed the Roquefort left over from the salad! (Recipe from Jamie at Home)

The mixed case of 12 wines – some (the more expensive I imagine) are just single bottles, the others are doubled up – comes in at £70..

  1. Mike May 2, 2010

    I do not understand how people do not realise the whole naked wines concept is a HUGE RIP OFF scheme. These wine makers are not necesarily small, much less depend on naked wines to survive, neither they only produce for naked wines. All those wine makers produce wine that is sold to supermarkets and shops across the UK and elsewhere…under their main (many times very well known) brands.
    Naked Wines rips off people by asking those producers to produce the exact same wine under a different label. Why? So that consumers (you and I) cannot compare prices, believe their lies, and “agree” to pay some times TWICE the regular price.
    They create a monopoly that allows them to set much higher prices for the wine, charging some times TWICE the supermarket price for THE SAME wine (produced under another name). That’s the basis of the whole Naked Wines business concept.
    I’m in the wine business and know at least a couple of producers who currently produce (or have done so in the past) wine for naked wines. The wine is exactly THE SAME the sell to many supermarkets in the UK (and worldwide). You can buy those wines in Tesco or Waitrose for 4.99, but naked wines charges you up to 9.99, for EXACTLY THE SAME WINE. That’s double the price! What a great business…
    On top of that, as said before, those wineries do NOT depend on naked wines at all. Typically they produce a few different wines (some of those producers have a portfolio of a couple dozens wines) and only a couple are labeled differently for Naked Wines (again, those same couple are labeled for the usual distribution chain – supermarkets). The volume naked wines generates for these producers is usually neglible compared to what they produce for the “rest of the world”, including most supermarket chains in the UK, for exactly the same wines.
    On top of that, those naive people that become “angels” are only making naked wines bank account grow larger, not helping any wine maker survive. Come on people, wake up!

  2. Rowan Gormley May 5, 2010

    Hi Mike,
    I am afraid that you have your facts wrong.
    Here are the real facts
    –          74% of our wines sold are made exclusively for us, and cannot be bought anywhere else
    –          68% of our wines are made by winemakers for whom we are their biggest customer
    –          We do sell wines made by big producers that you can buy elsewhere….which accounts for about 6% of our sales
    But the numbers only tell part of the story. The human story is that right now, there are 22 winemakers who our Naked Wines Angels are sponsoring, by funding them to buy grapes…even paying them a salary when they are in the early stages.  In return, we don’t ask for dividends or interest….we want the best wines at cost + a small margin.  That way everyone wins. If you don’t believe me look here
    The best way I can illustrate this is by example.  Constanza Schwaderer and Felipe Garcia are brilliantly talented winemakers who wanted to leave safe jobs, and set up on their own. With 3 kids (now 4) this looked like a pipe dream, until our Angels got together and funded them to do just that. We buy 96% of their production.  They have just won the TROPHY for Best Sauvignon in the latest Wines of Chile Awards. If you want to question this please do…ask them yourself by posting here
    We do sell wines made by big companies…but we don’t pretend that they are some cutie little boutiquey wines. And we certainly don’t price  them at double the supermarket price. We say what they are and we aim to compete on price. For example, we have not been able to find a small producer for Pinot Grigio, so we are working with a big company (and we make that clear) and pricing it at £4.99….which I think you’ll find is 69p less than Tesco’s finest. I can take or leave most supermarket PG but this was far more interesting light, smooth and to me less acidic than the usual. And according to at least one customer “ see
    We do have work to do, but we are on it. We have a string of projects in the pipeline, all funded by our Angels. Sadly wine takes time. But watch this space
    Finally…an invitation. 50 of the “naive people” as you call our Angels, are coming to the London International Wine Fair,  to help us select wines. Why not join us and see for yourself?
    Rowan Gormley, Naked Wines

  3. Mike May 12, 2010

    Unfortunately Rowan, you have to sell your story, which is the naked wines story. For your regret, I know ast 2 of your producers (one located in Montsant and another in Rioja). I do not know if you still work with them but you certainly did in the past. Funny enough none of them fit your description:
    – they are not big brands, but they are not tiny either
    – they do NOT depend on naked wines to survive. They sell far more in all international markets than they’d sell to you.
    – funny enough, the same wine they make for you, it is sold UNDER ANOTHER NAME, to mainstream supermarkets, ALSO IN THE UK. To me that’s th key point.
    In addition
    – 74% of our wines sold are made exclusively for us, and cannot be bought anywhere else. >> WRONG: 100% of your wines sold are LABELED exclusively for you.
    – 68% of our wines are made by winemakers for whom we are their biggest customer. >> Does this mean that 1 in 3 producers does not depend on Naked wines? That’s not really what you advertise, is it?
    – We do sell wines made by big producers that you can buy elsewhere….which accounts for about 6% of our sales. >> WRONG: 100% of your wines sold are LABELED exclusively for you.
    Your business model is based on missinformation: the fact that consumers can NOT compare the prices of your wines anywhere else, because, even though the same wines are widely available, consumers do not know this, as you sell them under your own label. Plain and simple.
    I’m working with small wine producers mainly. I’m talking about 2-men wineries. They all have no problems to export and sell their wines in mainstream markets. We are in the internet era. They all have quite nice looking websites and even online shops where they sell direct. I know NO small producer who has no website and is not selling direct.
    I’m sure they’d also happily work with Naked Wines, since that’d mean selling more, as they’ll want you to buy a minimum of 2, 3 or whateever number of pallets to create a new label for you. That’s not the issue. The issue is that you’d tell them: please change your label saying “Chateaux Morceaux” for “Ville Je-ne-sais-pas”; et voila we got a new wine, we can basically charge what we want as consumers won’t be able to shop around.

  4. Rowan May 12, 2010

    Dear Mike, if you are going to make these accusations try to get your facts straight
    – We don’t sell any wine from Monsant. Nor have we ever
    – You keep saying that 100% of our wines are labelled exclusively for us…complete rubbish
    – If any of your 2 man producers came to us, we would not be asking them to re-label. If you don’t believe us ask Google
    If you actually want to know what we are really doing, come and meet me at the London Wine Fair next week
    If you just want to have a fact free rant, I am afraid you are on your own

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