I bought the Groupon for it’s plain intrinsic value. I mean, how bad could a case of wine be for $60? Okay, I admit I’m a bit of a wine snob, I love my $50+ Napa Cabernets as much as my wife does but we can’t drink them every night now can we? In the supermarket, I’m always searching for decent $10-15 wine that I can enjoy with every dinner. I’m not going to get the greatest wines anywhere at that price point, but I’m hoping for bargains and surprises along the way.
Before I bought the Groupon, I combed through the http://nakedwines.com website searching for potential issues or loopholes that I couldn’t get out of. For one, I saw that I did NOT need to become an “angel” to get the Groupon deal. From what I understood, I could go in, select my wines, apply the Groupon and checkout without ANY further obligation.
So, even though they had a new angel case with a sample of their wines, I browsed through their wines looking for the styles that I like. I created a wine “profile” that would recommend to me certain styles of wines based on my preferences. I found 12 bottles and placed them in my cart. I checked out and did only that. I did not opt into their Angel program until after I received my first case of wine.
When the wines arrived, I too, noticed that many were screw caps. Being once an investor in a synthetic cork company, I knew the issues with real corks and the high percentage of spoilage (cork taint) that occurs. The industry would just love to run out and change many of their wines to screw caps, but they didn’t for two reasons…
1) The uncorking of a bottle of wine is a tradition. It’s all about anticipation while the sommelier, with the white linen draped over his forearm, displaying the esteemed bottle of wine for your and your guests approval … the cutting of the foil … the angle of which the bottle is held as he (or she) gently presses the point of the corkscrew into the center of the cork … the turning and twisting … and then finally the pull … as the cork “pops” from the bottle’s firm and longing grip. It’s a presentation, an event (albeit small), a ceremony that holds tradition for many, many years. Screw caps don’t have that ceremony. They aren’t much different than opening a bottle of Diet Coke. The winemakers know that ceremony is an integral part of enjoying a nice wine and screw caps aren’t yet accepted by the American public at large.
2) There is some concern about aging fine wines under a screw cap. Some believe that any amount of oxygen will hurt the wine and others believe that just that little hint of oxygen over the many years helps the wine to fulfill it’s destiny as a balanced symphony of fermented grape juice.
If you do some research you will see that many countries and wineries have embraced the screw cap. New Zealand, for example, produces world-class Sauvignon Blancs. Every NZ SB that I have ever opened had a screw cap and these are not crap wines. Of course, this is just my opinion and I wouldn’t mind arguing this and much more on this subject all day long.
Enough about corks and screw caps. Back to http://nakedwines.com … I received my first case, and in less than three weeks tasted every bottle. Many of them I reviewed and posted on the http://nakedwines.com forum. It was fun to interact with others and their reviews comparing notes along the way. As I rated the wines, the recommendations became more focused for my specific tastes. I once asked a professed wine critic “What is the best wine?” His response was, “The best wine is whichever one YOU like.” That has stuck with me throughout the years as an important point in my role as a wine snob.
I looked at the http://nakedwines.com program some more and decided to become an angel and to order another case of $8 wine. Roughly the average angel price. They took $40 from my credit card and I immediately applied that $40 to another case of 12 bottles. My total paid with tax was about $110 with free shipping. Okay, that’s more like $9 a bottle, but from my prior case, they were worth it for a couple of reasons. It’s not a wine club where the WINEMAKER decides what to ship you. Nakedwines.com gives you the opportunity to choose your styles of wine andeven wines from a variety of wineries and countries. It’s delivered to your door speedily and free of charge. They have a 100% guarantee on all their wines. Try that next time you return a bottle of wine at your local store.
I’ve since ordered over 100 bottles of http://nakedwines.com wines. Some are screw top, some are with cork, some are okay, but most are worth the price you pay and decent wines. Through the http://nakedwines.com program, you do come across some really good wines, but a good deal of them are made for quaffing (drinking now and lots of it!). For me, that was what I was looking for. I already have a cellar full of $40+ bottles of red aging for that special day, but for now… I want something to drink tonight!