Aimed at all wine lovers from novice to connoisseur, this column showcases wines produced by some of the world’s leading winemakers and estates and selected by The Naked Grape’s MD Simon Evans.
It includes wines on offer, recently released and rare wines, all with food pairing suggestions, so you can start building up a real knowledge of wine as you enjoy each month’s choice. “Buying wine from us removes the risk,” Simon explained, “as every wine has been tasted and selected to ensure it meets our exacting standards.”
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• May 2022
Fontvive – Vin de Pays de Vaucluse
Bluebells and warmer weather beckon and this mouthwatering white wine is just the right refreshing tipple after a walk in the spring-time woods.
Only 3,000 bottles of this Viognier Chardonnay blend are made by Fontvive each year and the Naked Grape is excited to be one of a handful of stockists to offer it this summer.
It comes from the Vin de Pays Vaucluse area in the Southern Rhône Valley which is not restricted by the AOC appellation requirements of other more notable regions. Consequently, the producer can experiment with different grape varieties and techniques et voilà… a dry, round-bodied white wine.
Think notes of crisp apples with honey-suckle and an aroma of baked pear. This blend is very pure and clean in flavour but not acidic.
£13.99 per bottle
• Pair it with a picnic of duck and hoisin wraps and crunchy crudités or serve alfresco with a freshwater fish salad and minted, buttery Jersey Royals.
• April 2022
Bodega Volcanes de Chile Reserva Merlot
Bodega Volcanes de Chile Reserva Sauvignon Blanc
For this month only, we are offering readers two bottles of this excellent Chilean producer’s wines for the price of one. There is no limit on the number you buy, just ask for Holly or Nicola in the Hungerford shop and quote Penny Post April.
Bodega Volcanes de Chile is the only winery dedicated exclusively to producing wines with grapes grown on its volcanic soils. They are fresh and pure demonstrating mineral characteristics and varietal expression.
The Merlot is smooth and medium-bodied with rounded tannins; it has notes of plums and black cherries with a hint of smoky cedar.
• Pair it with Easter lamb, baked ham and grilled meat.
The Sauvignon Blanc is a top-end, elegant wine with lime and grapefruit notes alongside a touch of herbs.
• Pair it with festive salmon, poached fish and salads.
£14.99 each – or £14.99 for two bottles! You can have two red, two white or one of each.
• March 2022
Catarratto Terre Siciliane 2020
Looking for a change from Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay? This beautiful elegant, dry white wine from southern Italy could just be the answer.
The volcanic island of Sicily provides the ideal terroir for the high yielding and vigorous Catarratto vines: indeed, these are the most widely grown white grapes there. Their aromatic qualities and richness were previously used in the production of Marsala but today organic practices such as those followed by the Contrade Bellusa result in this intense white wine. One could just say that the Cataratto grape is rising from its ashes…
Zesty citrus notes with grapefruit, hints of sweet spices and herbs combine in a full-bodied wine with low acidity.
£11.99 per bottle.
• Pair it with rich dishes like fish salads, truffle risotto, chicken with pesto and pasta carbonara.
• February 2022
All Angels Classic Cuvée 2014
It’s time to celebrate – the end of dry January, longer daylight hours, chirpier birdsong and, of course, Valentine’s Day.
Treat yourself with a bottle, or two, of our favourite Berkshire Sparkling wine from Enborne. The grapes are grown on a small privately-owned vineyard near the 12th century parish church of St Michael & All Angels from which the wine derives its name.
The traditional grapes of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier are blended with a small proportion of pinot gris; this is what the Hattingley Valley winemakers call the ‘salt & pepper’ of the mix. The result is a refreshing, dry, straw-coloured sparkling wine. It is nicely balanced with creamy lemon biscuit notes and has gentle long-lasting bubbles. We believe this special ‘long aged on lees’ edition is superior to many Brut champagnes from our French neighbours – try it and see.
Utterly delicious with or without food, share All Angels Classic with your nearest and dearest to mark a milestone date or achievement, commiserate or just celebrate life.
£32.99 per bottle.
• Ideal with smoked fish, caviar, vegetable dips, paté, cheese – and birthday and wedding cake.
• January 2022
Chateau Tertre de Calon 2018
Montagne St-Emilion, Bordeaux, France
The wine to be enjoying this new year, the wines of St-Emilion offer a softer more approachable style to the those of Bordeaux.
A blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this wine is a deep ruby colour with purple hues and has a soft nose of cherry, cassis and spice. On the palate it is well balanced with a solid tannic structure and a complementary soft mid-palate of ripe fruits such as plums and red berries, well-integrated oak ageing added structure and spice.£29.99 per magnum (while stocks last) – this is 25% off and so a real bargain. • Ideal with rump steak, roast veal and game as well as soft cheeses.
• December 2021
Foxdenton Christmas Liqueur
The perfect gin liqueur that tastes like Christmas in a glass.
Time and again this gorgeous little creation has shown just how versatile and enjoyable it can be at the festive season ( and all through winter, come to that). Made with Winslow plums and a blend traditional Christmas spices including ginger, clove, cinnamon, and star anise, our Christmas liqueur, is the ideal winter warmer.
(Should you need other inspiration, cast your eye over the list of our selections from previous months which you can see below.)
Happy Christmas one and all!
£24.99 per bottle (50cl)
• All this needs is a mince pie and an open fire. However, it is equally at home in a glass of fizz.
• November 2021
Pantocrator Reserva Rioja 2010
This might just be the world’s best Rioja…
This wine has hit the headlines with an astonishing power, intensity and complexity of flavour. Taking its place at the very top of the pile, this Rioja will be sure to delight any red wine lover.
We have secured a limited amount of stock so order yours before we run out.
£32 per bottle (including special gift box).
• Pair with rich meats such as lamb shanks, rump steaks or a sausage casserole.
• October 2021
Martinez 1985 Vintage Port
Douro Valley, Portugal
We love Port and this vintage example is simply fabulous. Created using grapes hand picked in 1985, this has benefitted from oak ageing and lots of time quietly improving in the bottle. A glorious treat to enjoy or as a gift for the Port lover in your life.
Pale red brick with a glorious graduated colour in the glass. The nose has Oriental spice, oak and sweet caramel touches. The palate is expansive, sweet, broadly flavoured wine with outstanding depth, concentration, and balance. It finishes with a solid lashing of alcohol. Drink anytime between now and 2025.
We have just eight bottles of this – get yours now!
£85 per bottle
• Pair with cheese, cheese and then more cheese (preferably the marvellous Ossau-Iraty from the French Basque country – this and the Port make a truly stupendous combination).
• September 2021
Tenute Neirano Gavi
A wonderful example of how to do Gavi correctly. Beautiful clarity on the palate, a fantastic nose of stonefruits, mango and citrus, this wine is an extraordinary production of everything we like to see in an Italian white of this style.
As the wine develops in the glass, the floral notes start to show themselves and the acidity really starts to offset the underlying sweetness, with a touch of dryness rounding the experience off. This is a truly fantastic white to see you into autumn.
£14.99 per bottle.
• Pair with: the clarity provided by this white means you can enjoy many styles of Italian dishes – think pesto or ratatouille, or anything with an earthy, herbaceous kind of flavour.
• August 2021
Sleek as it is smooth, the high altitudes that this grape is grown mean there are very few tannins to be found here. A warm and gentle, velvet complexity greets you on the palate with a hint of spice and chocolate.
Combined with subtle notes of bush fruits and a playful nod to the characteristics of a traditional Malbec seen in bolder varieties to the north, this sublime example goes down a treat if you’re looking for a lighter red to enjoy while keeping to a more autumnal feel.
£15.99 per bottle
• Pair with: due to its lighter nature, this wine would go well with a decent chunk of cheddar, baba ganoush, or a selection of chocolates.
• July 2021
El Ternero White Rioja
La Rioja, Spain
Straight from Spain, this white Rioja is a fantastic addition to any white-loving aficionado’s collection. Oaked, creamy, tropical fruit notes – this wine delivers on so many fronts.
Imagine the best elements from a new-world well-oaked Chardonnay, that creaminess and richness delivered in abundance but with enough clarity on the palate to enjoy the exotic flavours that follow and you’re pretty much there. What’s more, a medium to long finish means you get to enjoy this wine long after the last gulp.
£17.99 per bottle
• Pair with creamy mushroom risotto or Cajun inspired garlic bread bring out this wine’s capabilities.
• June 2021
11 excellent wines from all over the world
Over the last year, we’ve recommended some pretty excellent wines, ranging from powerful reds to mouth-watering whites and with a silky Port and an elegant rosé thrown in for good measure.
So, for our recommendation this month, we’re therefore suggesting a review of our past offerings. Have a leisurely scroll down the list below and you’ll be sure to find (at least) one that will hit the spot for you.
Note that that not all may currently be available but, if not, we’ll be sure to find you something that comes close to matching it. Any promotional offers may not also apply: if, however, you’re thinking of trying one of each of these 11 plus an extra to make up a full case then we should be able to do a deal…
Whatever your needs, whatever your taste and whatever your budget, do get in touch (see details above) and we’ll do our best to make your next bottle something truly special.
• May 2021
Domaine le Grande Destré, Rosé
There is no point in trying to put it off any longer, crack open the rosé – summer is here (obviously apologies if it cold and raining when you read this…)
Having worked with a family producer in the Provence and Languedoc regions for some years, this is one of our stand-out exclusive import wines here at TNG.
Its effectively Provence Rosé but without the price tag. Pale and elegant in colour, with a nose of fresh strawberry, the palate is bone dry, very fine and rounded with the most delicate of fruit undertones.
As expected, this wine is shines when drunk alone, due to its finesse and clarity – see below for some suggestions as to what it can help wash down.
£8.75 a bottle
• Pair with linguine, shellfish and mussels.
• April 2021
Silent Noise Montepulciano
McLaren Vale, Australia
Your new favourite red wine. Here we have a fab example of the multi-layered Italian Montepulciano grape variety left to blossom in the wonderful soils and climate of the McLaren Vale in Australia.
Blackberries and blackcurrant conserve meld with floral notes of peony roses and black fruit pastilles and that is before you even taste it! The palate of this medium bodied wine sings of sweet dark berry fruits, fragrant perfume and touches of black coffee crema. What a mouthful!
£17.99 per bottle.
• Best enjoyed after an hour in the decanter with some Comté cheese or homemade burgers.
• March 2021
Casa Silva Cool Coast Chardonnay 2018
Paredones, Colchagua Valley, Chile
Another fabulous recent discovery, this 100% Chardonnay reminds us why we love unoaked Chardonnay so much. This vineyard area is standing head and shoulders above most, producing wines that are in some ways superior to Chablis Premier Cru wines at twice the price. Green fruit and stony aromas and clean, green apple and lime and melon palate and finish. All in all, a creamy and super elegant wine.
This comes from one of a handful of areas in Chile which are showing themselves to be adept at creating some of the finest most elegant whites on the planet.
£17.99 per bottle
• Pair with flatfish like sole and halibut, green vegetables, fresh herb and yoghurt dishes.
• February 2021
Grande Arte Pinot Noir
The rugged maritime province of Estremadura, just to the north of Lisbon, is dotted with small family-run wineries producing some wonderfully idiosyncratic wines using otherwise well-known varietals. This Pinot Noir is a fantastic example.
It has a bramble nose and velvety mouth feel, Cedar and French toast notes on the palette (a result of nine months in oak barrels) and with a lengthy fruit laden finish. For those Pinot Noir lovers out there, this is a great discovery. Comparable with a solid Burgundy wine, the polished fleshy fruits offer a more silky mouthfeel than is often found in French wines of twice this price. The perfume and elegance throughout really is superb.
£15.99 per bottle (10% off six bottles).
• Pair with game, fish stews, or salty cheeses.
• January 2021
Bodegas Pocas Late-bottled Vintage Port 2013
Douro Valley, Portugal
First discovered by our MD Simon on a buying trip to the Douro Valley, this is a fantastic quality Port.
Created by the family-owned Pocas estate, this wine offers a glance at what full vintage Port tastes like but at a fraction of the cost.
Black in colour, hugely aromatic and full in aroma, the palate is sweet and silky, long in flavour and laden with rich currant, bramble and oak infused flavours.
There is no sediment in here, so you can drink and enjoy easily!
£19.95 per bottle
• Pair with Osu Iraty or a full on vintage Cheddar.
• December 2020
Côtes du Rhône Villages – Vieilles Vignes
Southern Rhône, France
The ideal festive red wine.
This rare 100% Grenache Rhone red is an absolute star. Warm, black forest fruits with a gorgeous wide open supple palate. Raspberry, blackberry and cassis aromas. Slightly smoky and warm fruit palate. Velvety tannins and a long vanilla finish. Decanting will open up the complex bramble fruit palate.
All in all, a red wine to savour.
Was £17.99 – now 16% off at £15 per bottle
• Pair with steak, braised beef, and very mature hard cheeses.
• November 2020
Hugh Hamilton Scallywag Chardonnay
McLaren Vale, Australia
This beautiful handmade Chardonnay is superior to many white Burgundy wines at twice the price.
The winemaker simply starts in the vineyard by selecting the grapes from the best possible site in the most appropriate growing areas for Chardonnay, which is in the Adelaide Hills. The exceptionally fine weather allows the grapes to fully ripen in order to achieve excellent and generous fruit lift. The palate has a core of lush fruit gift-boxed in fine French oak. Melon, lemon and bay leaf, notes of vanilla and cardamom. This wine possesses both length and breadth and atouch of texture stops it all from getting too much as does a fine line of crunchy acidity.
Allow yourself to rediscover proper Chardonnay with this glorious wine.
• Pair with baked rainbow trout with lemongrass, steamed pak choi and coconut rice.
• October 2020
Azabache Gran Reserva
This excellent Gran Reserva Rioja is selected from the best vineyards from an exceptional year. The blend comprises 70% Tempranillo, 20% Garnacha and 10% Graciano and has been softened by three years in oak and three more in the bottle before release.
Extended time in American oak barrels has resulted in hints of vanilla, mint and toasted nuts upon the classic black cherry and cassis aromas. A refined and complex palate – juicy plum and cherry fruit flavours are punctuated with cola and black pepper spice. The tannins remain supple through to the finish.
Normally £25.99 each – available for £15.99 while stocks last (which won’t be long…)
• Pair with charcoal grilled bacon-topped burger or lamb kofta kebabs.
• September 2020
Château Fleur de Jean Gué Reserve 2015
Lalande de Pomerol, Bordeaux, France
Simon sourced this wine on a day-trip tasting in Bordeaux. Yes, you can get to Bordeaux and back in one day, and squeeze in a bespoke wine tasting and bite to eat – but it’s helpful if you have the winery owner waiting for you at the airport!
We find this Bordeaux shows much of the silky power and elegance of the full on Pomerol wines, but at a modest price.
This hugely over performing red is a blend of 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc. This ‘right bank’ Bordeaux has a dense fruity nose, polished tannins and well-balanced feel in the mouth. Already showing some aromatic maturity; this wine will improve greatly with further ageing.
• Pair with fillet steak in red wine or roast leg of lamb.
• August 2020
Plan de Dieu
Domaine René Bessac, Côtes du Rhône Villages
Sourced directly from the Domaine, this Rhône is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Many of our customers have cottoned onto the power and character in this modestly priced red, comparing it to Chateauneuf du Pape wines at more than twice the price.
Warm, black forest fruits with a gorgeous wide open supple palate. Decanting will open up the complex bramble fruit palate. A powerful and very rich, savoury red.
£12.99 each, 5% off 6 bottles, 10% off 12 bottles.
• Pair with braised beef, BBQ ribs, burgers or with a crumbly rich Cheddar.
• July 2020
Signor Vino Vermentino 2018
New South Wales, Australia
When you taste as many wines as I do, there comes a time when your taste buds are treated to something out of the ordinary. This happened in late February when, amongst a couple of thousand wines at trade tasting, this one jumped out and said ‘hello’.
The immediate flavour is super fresh, lemons and citrus punch, with a mouth watering freshness. Yet there is no acidity or harshness, it is creamy and rounded.
The flavour really lasts and gets the taste buds going, leaving you watering for another mouthful.
All this from the little known Vermentino grapes, indigenous to Italy, but in this case grown in the vineyards of New South Wales, Australia.
I don’t think you can buy a more enjoyable white wine for this price.
You can buy online here – introductory price £11.99 per bottle.
• I love to enjoy this wine with mussels or fresh crab. It is also sublime with creamy salmon linguine.
Please note that any offers mentioned in the monthly recommendations may be time-limited and will be subject to availability.