Naked’s 2019 Benchmark Tasting

Published by Tamara Harrison - 27th Feb 2019

We recently held our annual benchmark tasting where we taste our wines against industry benchmarks, at both positioning price and Angel price.

All wines are tasted blind, that is to say that we don’t know what wine is what, just that they are a particular variety and vintage.

This process allows us to gather some very important information: firstly, and most importantly, we get to ensure that our pricing is absolutely accurate and, secondly, we get to see how our portfolio of wines sits against the competitors framework. Very happy to say the results, portfolio wide, were awesome!

Generally, there were some very obvious stylistic trends across certain varieties, with reds across the board looking very extracted and trying to create richness, with sweetness, especially at the more value end of the spectrum. This led to many wines looking very similar and showing little, if any, regional characteristics. Again, I am very pleased to say that we bucked that trend and absolutely have wines that offer stylistic differentiation and also show their specific regional qualities.

Cooler climate, spicy, zingy, crunchy reds offered relief in the sea of over-extracted wines. They may not have rated as high as the bigger bolder warmer-climate wines, in general, but they did show regionality – big plus! And, with the Sauvignon Blanc flight there was a distinct lack of the hallmark passionfruit flavours, with more tending to the greener, tinned pea, asparagus flavour spectrum. This is most probably as a result of vintage variation, but, the Savvy wines that leant towards passionfruit, really shone through.

Now to the actual results!

In the Riesling class we scored the top two wines! Rabbit & Spaghetti Clare Riesling taking top honours with its baby sister, Cellar Works coming in a close second. Both wines showing great intensity.

Pinot G class – we had the 2nd top wine, the Tapi Marlborough Pinot Gris and the Grounded Cru wine a close 3rd. All Naked wines meeting or exceeding the retail benchmarks. Tim Adams Pinot Gris led the group – but it was extremely close.

Sauvignon Blanc Semillon/Semillon Sauvignon Blanc class – Hearts & Bones and Left Hook Round 1 were equal top wines! Fantastic result. Again, all wines met or exceeded the retail benchmarks

Sauvignon Blanc class – Rod Easthope Sauvignon Blanc came a close 2nd to market leader Oyster Bay with our Hearts & Bones 3rd. We had an issue with the Small & Small savvy but will investigate to see if it was a bad bottle.

Other white class – This was a fantastic result, we had the top overall wine, Rabbit & Spaghetti FBW (Field Blend White), but then we also had the top Vermentino with A&R; the top Chenin Blanc in the Blindside, the BVO Moscato took out the top Moscato and then the Chateau Coco was the top Fiano. Quite amazing results really.

Chardonnay classHearts & Bones Angeli was the top overall wine! Very noticeable split in wines with and without oak (that is, obvious oak) and pretty much matched by, and in sync with price point.

Other red class – again, we had the top Tempranillo with the Rabbit & Spaghetti, then the 2nd top wine with the Brian Fletcher Margaret River Temp! We then had the top Rose with the Cellar Works (Sangiovese) Rose. Great result. Quality overall in this category was a big step up on previous years. In the Rose class the wines with intensity of fruit flavour did better than those that were lacking. Importantly, the colour did not dictate how the wine would taste – something for our Marketers to get behind and communicate!

Pinot Noir class – Rod Easthope Martinborough Pinot was the 2nd wine in the class, very close to the slightly richer (more oaky) competitor – the very good Roaring Meg from Central Otago, NZ.

Shiraz blends class – We didn’t have any of the top wines, but the Brewery Hill and Grounded Cru were very close to the top 3 and certainly impressed with their great value for money. The fresher, crunchier wines seemed to show better than the more extracted versions. The winner of the bracket was the popular Cat Amongst The Pigeons showing lovely fruit and it certainly punches above its weight.

Shiraz class – We had the top wine, Fuzzy & May Reserve and the 2nd wine of the class My Other Self Reserve. Both showed regionality and balance, besting some of the more higher priced ‘stars’.

Merlot class – The Westbound Truffle Block Merlot took out this class, a big brute of a wine, while the 2nd placed wine was the Made By Mobbs Below 600 Central Ranges Merlot – much leaner and crunchier in style but still showing great balance.

Cabernet Blends class – yet another great class for us, with the Chateau Coco taking the top prize and the Liz Richardson a close 2nd! The Liz Richardson providing amazing value for money.

Cabernet class – Another class whereby we took out both the first and second positions! Sam Plunkett The Victorian Cabernet taking top spot and the Hearts & Bones Angeli second. Both quite big wines. The two cooler climate wines Made by Mobbs Orange and Sunday Pyrenees, didn’t rate as high, but did show distinctive regionality! Offering those that don’t want the big overly extracted styles.

Sparkling class –  The Cape Bernier 2013 Methode took out the top spot, a very classy wine indeed. We then, initially, had a cork issue with Jen’s fizz, but on opening a second bottle it allayed our concerns and showed why it is a year on year Angel favourite.

Overall a CRACKING result for Naked Wines and their winemakers. We’ll work with the winemakers to leverage the wins and to improve on the placegetters.


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