Thursday, February 4, 2010

Let's Get Naked...

Every June in Des Moines, Iowa, there is a one weekend event we call "Wine Fest Des Moines." I try to attend every year because the ticket prices are nominal (in comparison to similar events in bigger cities) and there are some outstanding and interesting wines that are showcased. Of all the years I have attended, 2008 stood out for me. It was the year that I was introduced to so many new wineries. I remember walking up to one particular winery booth and noticing some very interesting titles on their wine bottles.

The word "innuendo" came to mind as I read the names of these wines, "Escort Pinot Gris," "Foreplay Chardonnay," "Missionary Cabernet Sauvignon" and the killer "Penetration Cabernet Sauvignon." It was enough to make even a budding "Cellarmistress" blush!

Seeing that it's Valentine's Day soon, I thought a little naughtiness would be in order so I'd like to introduce you to this sexy winery I encountered...

Naked Winery is a small, family-owned winery located in Hood River, Oregon, which is east of Portland where the Columbia River divides Oregon and Washington. They specialize in wines from both states. Their wines run the gamut when it comes to the various varietals they use and their fun, infectious banter and slogans keep fans coming (pardon the pun) for more! They even joke that their grapes are "orgasmically" grown, their wines are made by naked nymphs and will not disclose the name of their winemaker. Cute. In a nutshell, they call themselves the "World's Sexiest Winery." I decided I need to delve further into this phenomenon and find out more for myself. Short of visiting Oregon, I didn't have good access to many of their wines at the retail level here, so I contacted the winery and they were gracious enough to send me a box of samples and a cute t-shirt with their slogan on it. I also received a note stating they would be attending the Wine Bloggers' Conference in Walla Walla this Summer so I am really looking forward to meeting them!

Can a winery, in spite of all this sexiness and joking around, come up with a winning formula--great wines at a great price? Is it just a gimmick to entice wine drinkers? I believe the answer is yes to the winning formula and no to the gimmick. I would like to share some notes because I truly enjoyed every single wine I sampled and each wine could sell itself without any added "tricks." But who's to say we can't have some fun with the "tricks!"

2008 "Tease" Riesling-Hails from Oregon and a nice, dry Riesling to boot. I really enjoyed the stone fruit of honey-rich apricots followed by a citrus kick and really nice acidity. Perfect with my sushi. (You'll hear me talk about sushi a lot. It's my new favorite food...) Thumbs up! $18.00.

2007 "Naked" Pinot Gris--This one originates in Rogue Valley of Oregon. It was absolutely wonderful. Just an easy drinking, fruit-forward, crisp Pinot Gris. You don't have to put much thought into it. Just enjoy it. Pears. It's all about pears...

2005 Columbia Valley Merlot--This one doesn't really have a sexy nickname, though it should...I'm thinking they should re-name it "The Seductress" because that is exactly what she is...Luscious dark berries, a ton of spice, smooth and velvety...I could go on and on...Yow-za... You will be enticed, seduced and satisfied with this beautiful Merlot. She is voluptuous and "Va-Va-Va-Voom!" $22.00.

2004 Columbia Valley "Penetration" Cabernet Sauvignon--Yes, folks you're hearing it from my "Virgin" (heh!) lips, the name of this wine had me blushing all over the festival...It is HUGE! The "Big Daddy" of their Cabernet Sauvignons. It is FULL of dark berries, meaty and earth-shaking! Bring it on!! $30.00.

With these and so many more enticing wines,who wouldn't want to further explore the possibilities? They're on to something so if you happen to be in the Hood River, Oregon area, please visit their tasting room and experience it for yourselves! And if not, please visit their website, for more enticing wines and sexy fun! Who needs to sing about "Bringing Sexy Back"? As far as the Naked Winery is concerned, it has been in Oregon this entire time! Happy early Valentine's Day! Be good to your loved ones and MAKE IT "NAKED"!!!


  1. Great review. Who could resist a little penetration on Valentines Day. These guys are on my list of stops on my next drive to Portland. Whoo hoo. Can't wait to get naked.

    Josh @nectarwine

  2. Thanks for the great review. Will consider the name change, but we already have a seductive chardonnay. Naked Merlot was our very first red so it has keep the company name for sentimental reasons. Looking forward to seeing you in Walla Wall!

  3. There is a European vinifera vineyard and winery in Markham, VA, which began in the 1980s, named for a nearby hilltop called Naked Mountain. Currently this page has a nice view of leafless vines in the Virginia winter snow at approximately 1400' elevation.
    Tasters' travel-log with photos of the environs in 2007:
    Some of its labels mention some sort of falcon, but nothing as valentinish as the Oregon outfit with a similar name.

  4. John,

    Thanks for the insight on Naked Mountain Winery. Very interesting, Will have to look them up! Cheers!