The collected wine-tastings & wine-ramblings of one who prefers to describe wines with metaphors, not percentages

Mistral Sauvignon Blanc, Naked Wines

A bottle of Mistral Sauvignon Blanc in the foreground, with colourful abstract art on the label. In the background (out of focus) a glass of white wine.

Naked Wines underwhelmed me with this one.

But then (hot damn!) they went right in and fucking whelmed me something proper.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s talk about the underwhelm, first.

So. Mistral Sauvignon Blanc. A disappointing wine. I mean, it’s not bad. It’s just, well, rather uninspiring.

A bit empty, a bit nothingy.

Rather like Old Parn running the 400m, it starts off energetically enough (though already people are whispering that it’s worryingly thin and pale) — but then it has a really poor finish.

You’ll be snuffling and flaring your nostrils like something out of The Witches in an attempt to get much out of this wine: aromatically, it’s very closed down for so zingy a grape variety. And what aromas you do get out of it are typical, a tad uninteresting. Except (alas) for a faint waft of nappy. I’m sorry. Really, I am. But there it is.

Verdict

Increasingly, I’m coming to think that there’s a small problem with Naked Wines’ model: the ‘full price’ figure seems rather inflated. You see, I’d be chagrined if I’d spent £7.50 on this wine. In fact, I had it for a reduced rate (part of a taster case). But because I have £7.50 as an RRP in my head, I’m psychologically primed for a £7.50-quality wine. Even if I’ve actually paid a good deal less than that (hell, this is a £5 wine if you’re a member — in which light it suddenly seems a heck of a lot less disappointing).

Alas, £7.50 is still the yardstick I’m measuring it up against. And it falls short.

Don’t take this as an attack on those fine Naked fellows. I remain intrigued and impressed by their business model — and I enjoyed the first two bottles of theirs I reviewed (whilst still harbouring the slight impression of over-optimistic ‘full’ prices, I might add). While this specimen is definitely less good than those other two, it’s still by no means terrible; just unexciting, middle-of-the-road.

So I suppose I’m just saying that, psychologically, their pricing model isn’t quite hitting the right note for me.

Then again, I’ll tell you what is hitting the right note: the fact that, a few hours after I’d casually tweeted a message about my disappointment with this wine, one of the Naked guys was contacting me to offer me my money back on it*.

That, in case you are wondering, is fucking uberwhelming.

Rating ★ (1 star) — but ★★★★★ for customer service
ABV 12.5%
Price £7.50 from Naked Wines (£5 if you’re a member)
* Fo’ yo’ info, I didn’t take him up on his offer. It may’ve been disappointing, but it wasn’t bad.

5 Comments to Mistral Sauvignon Blanc, Naked Wines

  1. March 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Well, this business model isn’t unique to Naked; it applies to Laithwaites and its various branded wine clubs too. They all suggest what a wine is supposedly worth, and then knock a couple of quid off. But as you point out, who SAYS that’s what it’s worth? You can’t get these wines anywhere else in order to obtain a market value!

  2. March 18, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Good on you for not taking the refund. I agree that they have exceptional service. No company gets every bottle right, and I truly believe that a real discount is very rare nowadays; in fact, rare as rocking horse sh!t

  3. March 21, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I cracked open the Mistral Chardonnay last night – again from Naked Wines. Its Ok, fine, drinkable and like their SB, not terribly exciting. Came in a mixed case so not sure of bottle price…

    I must admit that some of thr wines Naked Wines started with were rather underwhelming I thought; quality has increased superbly over the last few months. As for value though…

  4. Tom's Gravatar Tom
    March 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, all, for your comments. This whole area of value is definitely a tricksy one — and a wine is clearly worth what the market is willing to pay for it. Full stop. But still, it’s practically impossible not to equate price with quality.

    On a slightly different note, I find it interesting that even the unexciting wines on Naked’s site have many reviews expressing great enthusiasm. Wondering if this is because (a) the bar is set low, (b) the act of being prompted to review something tends to encourage most people to be positive, or (c) some other explanation.

  5. September 13, 2011 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    You could not trust discounted prices on wines because most of these are forms of marketing. Wines are worth buying for but still it would be more practical to choose those that have low prices yet with great values. Naked wines have many developments, hence they are among those good-quality wines.

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