Ryan O’Connell, part of an American family winemaking team that lives and makes wine in France, recently
brought my attention to NakedWines.com, a customer funded wine business. Customers, so-called “Naked
Angels,” fund independent winemakers in return for exclusive access to wines at wholesale prices (40%-60%
discounts plus free wines included in orders). Naked Angels invest $40 a month that is used to spend on any of
the over 280 offered wines. Every wine has a 100% money back guarantee.
Launched in 2008, NakedWines.com now has over 200,000 Naked Angels investing in their Naked Piggy Bank
accounts. Currently, the Naked Angels are a closed group, but one can put their name on a waiting list through
the website at www.us.nakedwines.com.
Naked Angels have invested over $38 million in more than 130 winemakers worldwide. NakedWines.com
invests in winemakers, with little investment in sales, marketing and distribution. The company is based in
Napa with a winery in Sonoma Valley
For more information, visit The Naked Blog at www.nakedwinesdotcom.wordpress.com.
Ryan sent me the following Pinot Noir wines to sample, some from well-known winemakers. The quality was
consistently high with a few exceptional wines. Prices are Angel prices.
2014 Daryl Rex Groom D.R.G. River Road Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
$18.99. Noted winemaker Daryl
Groom has received multiple “Winemaker of the Year” awards, and at one point in his career, made
Penfolds’ flagship red, Grange Hermitage.
Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose
offers inviting aromas of dark red and black fruits, cedar, spice and mushroom. A luscious, fruity
wine, with plenty of black cherry, black raspberry and pomegranate fruit flavors complimented by
hints of oak, grilled beef and cola. Firmly structured with tannins showing up on the lingering finish.
2014 Daryl Rex Groom D.R.G. Highmark Ridge Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $18.99.
reddish purple color in the glass. The nose blossoms over time in the glass, offering aromas of dark
berry jam and spicy oak. Very charming, with a core of sweet, succulent blackberry and black
currant fruit flavors. Fully integrated tannins and oak, with a satiny texture, and a pleasingly long and
slippery finish. My only nit is that the fruit is very ripe with a little raisin note showing up over time in
the glass. Still, I liked this wine a lot especially for its texture.
2014 Jacqueline Bahue Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $19.99. This talented winemaker
brought the NakedWines.com winery to life. Her experience includes making wine in Italy, Spain and
Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. I was taken by the nose which offered vivid
black cherry glaze aroma complimented by a subtle note of barrel spice. Eye-opening attack, and
both luscious and lithe on the palate, featuring middleweight flavors of black cherry and black
raspberry. The seamless quality of the wine is striking, and the sweet cherry finish holds on for what
seems like a minute.
2014 La Tapatia Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $17.99. Dalia Ceja, a second generation
winemaker from the Ceja family that founded the first Mexican-American owned winery in Napa
County, has her own personal winemaking project. La Tapatia is a nickname given to women born in
Jalisco, Mexico, where here mother was born.
Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Nicely
perfumed with expressive aromas of black cherry, anise and spice cupboard. Discreetly
concentrated and appealingly sappy, with flavors of black cherry, black raspberry and Hoison sauce
with an echo of oak.
2014 Matt Parish Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $19.99. Matt Parish was the chief winemaker for the
Americas at Treasury, responsible for big name wines like Stags’ Leap, Chateau St. Jean, Etude and others.
This label brings him back to the cellar and vineyards and away from administrative tasks.
purple color in the glass. Very shy aromas of black cherry fruit. Nicely composed, very pretty, and forward
drinking, with a mid weight black cherry core backed by modest tannins.
2014 Richard Bruno Monterey Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $12.99.
Light cherry red color in the glass. Delicate
aromas of cherry, crushed red berries and sandalwood. Light weight flavors of red cherries and berries with an
accent of oak spice. Elegant, charming and simple, with gossamer tannins, juicy acidity and a silky mouthfeel.
2014 Scott Kelley Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $13.99. Kelley made Pinot Noir at Robert Mondavi and
Estancia for over a decade, and has struck out on his own using the NakedWines.com platform to fund wines
from southern Oregon (Umpqua Valley). This is his first vintage of southern Oregon Pinot Noir. It is sourced
from dry-farmed hillside vineyards and fermented in concrete and oak fermenters.
Moderate reddish purple
color in the glass. The nose leads with aromas of cherry, cranberry, peat, oak and floral bouquet. Up front and
easy to like, with mid weight flavors of dark cherry and berry on the palate, accented by savory dried herbs,
and framed by matched fine grain tannins. The finish is uplifting and juicy with modest length.