Naked Wines – A good possibility

Have you heard of Naked Wines?  It is a crowd-type funding venture where one contributes or invests money to support new winemakers. Naked Wines uses the term “Angel,’” as in “Angel Investors” who support startups in their beginning stage. As the winemaker produces labels, the wines are offered at a discount to the Angels in the Naked Wine club. Currently members sign up and invest $40 a month. Angels build up their cash account and buy wines when they see a wine that catches their fancy. I think Naked Wines is a good possibility for finding wine values and bargains.

Naked wines

We tasted these six offerings from Naked Wines

Vintage Wine Taster Ray has been a member almost since the outset of Naked Wines and states:  “The wines are produced, not only in California, but in France, New Zealand, and other locations. The average cost is somewhere between $9 – $14 per bottle. It gives independent vintners a chance to produce their own wines under their own labels, many of whom work for established wineries. The wines are basically young and rarely barreled, so the whites rule, but there are some very economical, good reds and an occasional Rosé. A great feature is that the members rate each wine offered and score them as to whether or not they would purchase them again. It seems to be much better than the arbitrary point scoring. I would classify these wines as drinkable now and more for everyday drinking, not cellaring. I’ve been a member for three years and have not been disappointed in the selections and the feedback.”

The Naked Wine Company sent me six sample wines of different wine varietals to taste and judge with members of the Vintage Wine Tasters. We tasted them one at a time, chatted about each wine, and rated the wines using a five-point rating system, just as Angel members do on  These are the wines we tasted, the point ratings we awarded, and cost for each wine.

  • David Akiyoshi Sauvignon Blanc Musque Clone Lodi 2013  – 4  Points
    $15 regular, $9 Angel price
  • Camille Benitah Mont Blanc Sauvignon Blanc  Lake County 2013 – 3 Points
    $24 regular, $14 Angel price
  • David Akiyoshi Sangiovese Rose Lodi 2013 – 4 Points
    $15 regular, $9 Angel price
  • Lay of the Land Pinot Noir New Zealand 2013 – 3 Points
    $24 regular, $14 Angel price
  • NakedWine Bonny Doon Vineyards GSM – 4 Points
    $18 regular, $16 Angel price
  • Matt Parish Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2012 – 5 Points
    $35 regular, $16.49 Angel price

We all agreed that we do see great possibilities with Naked Wines for finding some terrific wine values and bargains. We all thought the Matt Perish Napa Valley Cabernet 2012 was a terrific deal for $16.49.  This wine will age and develop over several years, but is very drinkable now. The other good deal was both of the David Akiyoshi wines, the Sauvignon Blanc for $9 and the Sangiovese Rosé for $9. Although we liked the Bonny Doon GSM, we thought it was priced too high at $16 to be a good deal.

I like the concept of Naked Wines but, for someone like myself who is retired and has the time, I enjoy the physical hunt for bargain wines. I love perusing the wine shelves,then picking up a bottle of wine and reading the label.  Like the wine flash-sale sites, the biggest drawback is you do not know whether you will like the wine you purchase or not. In a store, you can buy one bottle and then go back and buy more if you like it.  Online, you are likely to purchase a six pack or case at a time.

I would like to see Naked Wines post more information in their “Note” category about each wine, meaning how it was produced, exact location of vineyards, and tasting notes from the winemaker.

I have a link here to the Naked Wines Website that you can click on to at find out about Naked Wines and become a Naked Wine member. I decided to take their offer and become a Naked Wine affiliate. I am offering this as an option for readers searching for wine bargains. If you are a member of NakedWines, please comment and tell us your take on this fast-growing wine venture.


Pape Meat in Millbrae

Pape meats

On the corner of Hillcrest and Broadway in Millbrae

What does Pape Meat in Millbrae have to do with Wine Values & Bargains? Here is the connection. Good wine demands good food. At Pape Meat you will not only find the best fish, poultry, and red meats, but the best prices around and friendly service. No, I am not getting any perks or payments from Pape Meat Company. Vintage Taster Bruce is a regular there, and I starting shopping at Pape Meat Co. a little over a year ago when they expanded their fish and poultry section.

Pape Meat is a family-owned establishment, and they have been having a go of it since 1958. The business has certainly served the test of time, with stores all around them in downtown Millbrae going in and out of business over the years. Last Thursday, Larry Pape introduced me to customer Mildred, who has been shopping at Pape for 50 years. She comes in every Thursday after having her hair done.  There are a ton of regular customers and all the butchers know them by name.  The fish is always fresh. We eat a lot of Petrale Sole and theirs always looks fresh and clean, carved that day. It is $14.99 a pound currently, and that is $3 less a pound than at a nearby market in Burlingame. You can buy poultry in various ways, whole or already marinated in a variety of sauces. We love the Margarita mix. But the big draw for Pape is their beef and, in particular, their dry-aged beef. Folks come from all over the Bay Area to buy red meat and the dry-aged steaks. They have more dry-aged beef available than anyone else in the area, including Whole Foods and Draeger’s Market.

fresh fish pape meats

Fish is always fresh and a good buy – bring out the white wines

As I mentioned above, Vintage wine taster Bruce is a regular at Pape’s. The dry-aged, bone-in rib eye is his family’s favorite. These rib eyes are dry aged a minimum of 21 days. A steak is usually a pound or slightly more.  Pape’s will tell you how to barbecue it. The grill should be hot at around 450 degrees. Pape’s recommends 6 minutes per side. This works for Bruce. The steaks are generally medium rare and nicely charred. Because they are dry aged, the steaks do not have a lot of moisture and there is less flare up – but keep the spray bottle handy. Bruce finds the dry-aged steaks to be more filling than the non dry aged, so he recommends caution when asking for a bigger cut.

dry aged Pape

About $18 a pound for the dry-aged bone-in rib eye

Pape is a throwback to another era. Pape does not have a website, it is all word-of-mouth. No Facebook or Twitter to “like” or tweet about. The only social media they benefit from are the ratings on Yelp’s Website. I checked and there are over 100 reviews of Pape Meat, and nearly all are five star.

Now here is the kicker on this whole Pape Meat deal. There had always been a grocery store in the same place with the butcher department, but the last tenant who had the grocery business left a couple of years ago. That space has been empty since.  Trader Joe’s and Safeway are a block away, but their meat cannot hold a candle to Pape’s meat. The grocery business is another story. It is tough competition for the small grocery up against the big boys. Now the very great news to our readers of Wine Values & Bargains. Pape Meat Company will have a new tenant occupying the center of the store.  It will be a wine shop; and according to the alcohol public notice sign on the window, it will be the Bacchus Consulting Group.  What a great fit!   Bruce and I think it might be a high-end wine shop, well stocked with boutique labels and wines from around the world. We will have to wait and see about that, because the wine shop will not open for several months. Stay tuned!

As far as Pape Meat Company, it is open seven days a week and is located on the corner of Hillcrest and Broadway in Millbrae, kitty-corner from Peets Coffee.  If you shop late in the afternoon or on a Sunday, be prepared for a crowd.


Three whites that delight

Ancient Peaks Sauvignon Blanc

Last week, we returned from our Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara and Paso Robles wine country. We learned many new things about the wines from both of these regions and discovered some gems, both bargain and expensive.  We also managed a … [Continue reading]

How the pros taste wine, and what the heck is Quini

quini app

This is going to make all of us amateur wine tasters feel very good. At the recent wine bloggers conference, I attended the seminar, “How the Pros Taste Wine.”  The three wine tasting pros were: Steve Heimoff, a well-respected wine writer and … [Continue reading]

Speed Wine Dating


We are just finishing up at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara wine country. One of our favorite activities is this rather bizarre activity called Live Wine Blogging. I call it "speed wine dating." Ten wineries go to a table of eight wine … [Continue reading]

Mobius Cabernet Sauvignon 2012


This will be adventurous week for us. Vintage Wine Taster Mike and Janelle and I are heading down to the 8th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference in Santa Barbara wine country. Included in the trip will be a pre-conference day and a half in Paso Robles, … [Continue reading]

Morse Mourvedre – Bargain Alert

At the Burlingame Safeway for $9.99 or $9 for a six pack

About the Morse Mourvedre Bargain Vintage Wine Taster Mike reviewed the Morse Mourvedre 2008  in Wine Values & Bargains in February. Mike rated the wine at 90 points and at that time the Safeway was selling this wine for $11. I have also tried … [Continue reading]

Petite Sirah Blind Tasting Results

petite sirah tasting

  Petite Sirah Blind Tasting: On Tuesday of this week the Vintage Wine Tasters gathered for our bimonthly blind wine tasting event. For this tasting, Vintage Wine Taster Jim sought out Petite Sirah wines in the budget category. Jim … [Continue reading]

TorCalvano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

The Gran Passione at Whole Foods

The Vintage Wine Tasters wine reviews of the week:  These are wines that can be found in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. We list the price and the source of each review. This week we tout two wines from Italy. TorCalvano  Vino Nobile di … [Continue reading]

Breggo Gewürztraminer

Breggo Gewürztraminer

This week the Vintage Wine Tasters review three wines. We begin with a dazzling California made Gewürztraminer. Breggo Gewürztraminer 2011 - Costco $14.99 A few weeks back we raved about the Breggo Pinot Gris 2012 at Costco. Equally as … [Continue reading]