"It’s an inoffensive, sluggable, dead-on, ‘party red’ wine.”
-The Sweet Partner in Crime
A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to try some wines from The Naked Grape – a natural nomenclatural attraction for the column, of course.
The Naked Grape expanded from their original four varietals – Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon – to include four others: Moscato, Malbec (sourced from Argentina), a “Harvest Red” blend and a “Summer White” blend. The occasion for Christine and Shay at Hunter Public Relations to shoot me a package was to announce the release of the 3-liter box version of their Pinot Noir.
The pinot noir was one of the wines that I tried the first time I sampled The Naked Grape, and I was a little cool on it. I wrote, “It’s light bodied and acidic, and there’s a considerable amount of fruit when you first take a sip. However, the flavor slammed its brakes on the back of my tongue. This wine had one of the shortest finishes I’ve ever had. There were cherry flavors along with a “bite” that reminded me a little of a Beaujolais. Uncomplicated certainly was an applicable moniker.”
I can say, honestly, that it has improved. It’s not going to blow you away as a pinot noir. It’s still very straightforward and fruity – largely cherry and blueberry – but they’ve obviously made some modifications to help those fruit flavors linger all the way through a fairly soft finish with just a smidge of tannin. It’s a $20 box pinot noir – I wasn’t expecting big, complex flavors.
What I didn’t expect was just how dangerously drinkable it turned out to be. It’s relatively low in alcohol and easy to knock back – easy enough, in fact, that we powered through the box more quickly than almost any box wine I can remember. (Under normal circumstances, that is.) The SPinC’s quote heading this article sums it up. It’s a perfect wine to have around if you need something that almost anyone can unthinkingly drink on. A crowd pleaser.
The Naked Grape has a partnership with a recycling company named Terracycle that handles numerous “waste streams” of “non-recyclable or hard-to-recycle items” – such as M&M wrappers, handbags, shoes, cigarette waste, iPods, pens, Solo cups…and Naked Grape wine boxes.
The way it works: you go to http://www.terracycle.com and fill out a registration. Once you finish your box, you can break it down and box it, print a UPS shipping label from the website, and ship the items to Terracycle for free.
For every Naked Grape box you send back, Terracycle donates two cents to a charitable organization called Clothes4Souls. I sent a message to Terracycle asking if they accept and recycle other brands of wine boxes like Bota Box or Black Box and, alas, they do not.
Even so, the idea is quite nice in theory – especially if you live in an area where comprehensive curbside recycling isn’t available. Can’t hurt to look into it.