Wine and wood go hand in hand, but Simply Naked’s experiment takes the oak out of the equation. All of these wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel. For some of these wines, like Pinot Grigio, that’s normal. Chardonnay: OK. But Merlot and Cabernet? Interesting experiments.
Here’s how the wines — all budget bottlings from a melange of California fruit — stack up.
2010 Simply Naked Unoaked Pinot Grigio California – Lively and fresh, as Pinot Grigio really has to be. Lemon (or lemongrass) notes, surprisingly fruit-forward, lightly honeyed body, and short finish. As good as any bottle of Santa Margherita. B+
2010 Simply Naked Unoaked Chardonnay California – Honey and lemon notes here, with a moderately big body. A little big funky on the finish, with almonds, nougat, and other odd characters not typical of your average Chardonnay. B
2010 Simply Naked Unoaked Merlot California – Wow, not at all what I wanted. This is a young, astringent, and ultra-sweet wine that, rather than letting the fruit shine, plays down its natural strengths. Sharp and unflattering. D
2010 Simply Naked Unoaked Cabernet Sauvignon California – About the same, quality-wise. Musty and biting, with funky plum/prune-jam, vegemite, and yeast notes. No. D-