Facebook PixelFirst Impressions: The Fine Wine Club from Naked Wines | My Subscription Addiction
My Subscription Addiction
My Subscription Addiction
Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.

First Impressions: The Fine Wine Club from Naked Wines

Paige Bennett
ByPaige BennettMay 15, 2024 | 0 comments

First Impressions is a series that (re)introduces and reviews new brands to My Subscription Addiction, drawing from readers' requests for an insider's first look. Interested in seeing more reviews from this brand, or have another box in mind that you'd like to see reviewed? Let us know in the comments.

While I don’t mind grabbing a beer with friends or enjoying a nice cocktail at a restaurant, my real beverage of choice is wine. I love to unwind with a book and a glass of red, and I’m always up for sipping a crisp white and indulging in a delicious charcuterie board with friends.

Because of my love for wine, I prefer to keep my wet bar stocked with plenty of bottles, both old favorites and new-to-me wines, to enjoy and share. 

When I saw an opportunity to review wines from Naked Wines for MSA, I jumped at the chance. Fancy wines by independent makers? Sign me up!

Here’s how my first experience as a Fine Wine Club subscriber with Naked Wines went.

What Is Naked Wines?

Naked Wines is a direct-to-consumer wine company that connects its customers directly to independent winemakers from around the world. 

While you can shop for individual wines by the bottle on Naked Wines, the company also offers two unique subscriptions: the Wine Genie (12 bottles per quarter) or the Fine Wine Club (6 bottles per quarter), with prices that vary based on what wines you receive.

The Wine Genie Club features wines at special, discounted prices of $10.99 to $19.99 per bottle. You start by taking a quiz about your wine preferences, and they put together a box based on your results. After tasting each wine, you can rate them and then future shipments are tweaked to your taste. This is fabulous for people who people who do not yet have the vocabulary to describe what they like about a wine, but know if they like it or not.

The Fine Wine Club offers unique and rare wines, with each subscription costing no more than $250. 

Naked Wines also offers a crowdfunding option, known as Angels, where you invest $40 a month that benefits the winemakers, and that money goes toward your next order, including for subscription orders.

For this First Impressions piece, I tested the Fine Wine Club, which offers six specialty bottles per shipment.

ACTIVE DEAL: Score a $100 voucher through this MSA affiliate link!

(Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About Your Reviewers

I am by no means a professional when it comes to wine, but my partner Matt and I have gained a reputation for having pretty great wine recommendations (and wine gifts!) among our friends and family. This is in part thanks to our location — we live in Southern California, and we take frequent trips, about once every month or two, to the wine-growing areas around Santa Barbara. We belong to a few local wine clubs. About once a year, we also make it up to the Napa area. 

This is a hobby for us. But despite our frequent wine-tasting trips, we are only really familiar with California wines, so I was excited to try Naked Wines to explore new recommendations from around the world. 

What’s Inside the Box?

cardboard box with Naked Wines logo

My six wines came in a fairly large box clearly identified with the Naked Wines logo on the outside. I signed for the package (adult signature is required, of course) and eagerly opened the box. The wines are snugly and securely packaged in a thick, cardboard-like crate material. I liked that these were packed without plastics, so I could recycle all of the packaging.

Aside from the six bottles of wine, the box also included a packing slip and an envelope full of promotional offers from Naked Wine partners, including Hello Fresh, Wild Pastures, Portland Leather, and Fresh! Meal Plan.

I was hoping for some cards or a pamphlet that included more details about the winemakers, but unfortunately that wasn’t included. Luckily, you can access that information easily on the Naked Wines website.

screenshot of wine information about Stepp pinot gris from Naked Wines website

The Products

While the unboxing wasn’t the most exciting experience, the high-quality wines from indie winemakers offered plenty to be giddy about. From a crisp, refreshing pinot gris to a rare, bold red, here are the products we received and sipped in this shipment.

Stepp Pinot Gris 2021

glass of white wine next to Stepp pinot gris bottle

We’ve had a surprisingly long bout of cooler weather in Los Angeles so far this year, but these wines arrived right in time for a beautiful week, where every day was sunny and 75 degrees. It was the perfect setting for what is basically summer in a glass, the pinot gris from Stepp.

This wine was so lovely, with a crisp, lemony flavor that settled into a more buttery taste. It reminded me of a lemon pastry, without being too sweet. Plus, it has a screw cap (or a “Stelvin” closure, if you want to be fancy), so it’s easy to pack for a picnic or trip without worrying about remembering the corkscrew. This was the first wine I tried, and I already knew it would be one I would buy again. It’s easy to drink, and I can’t wait to have it with some fresh seafood.

Sparkling Pénélope California Brut NV 2021

glass of bubbly white wine next to bottle of Sparkling Pénélope California Brut NV 2021

The first thing I noticed about this Brut is the beautiful golden color. I don’t drink sparkling wines too often, so I can’t compare this very well to anything else I’ve tried. But to me, it was very light and crisp, with an explosion of the tiniest bubbles in every sip. I also loved the aroma, which had a strong pear scent.

While Brut is typically very dry, I detected a nice balance of sweetness in this one. It’s very subtle, so I think this sparkling wine is the perfect contender for pairing with freshly squeezed orange juice for some impressive mimosas. This Brut is a great budget option for gifting or entertaining, but because I don’t drink bubbly very often, I don’t know that I’d order it for myself again. 

DRG Daryl Groom Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2021

glass of red wine next to bottle of DRG Daryl Groom Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2021

Matt and I both enjoy a lot of pinot noirs from the Russian River Valley of Northern California, so we couldn’t wait to sip on this one and see how it compared to some of our favorites. Considering it was out of stock by the time I started writing this review, it looked promising as a popular choice with other Naked Wines customers.

Pinot noir is a lighter red, and this one seems particularly light and simple, without the strong tannins and rich, even spicy notes that some reds can have. Instead, it has juicy plum notes that are very mellow. I sipped this as-is, but I think it’s a great candidate for enjoying chilled. Truthfully, there are other Russian River Valley pinots I prefer to this one, but that’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable. It’s just that I think I’ll stick to my favorites rather than repurchasing this particular bottle.

Dave Harvey Upriver Washington Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2022

person holding glass of Dave Harvey Upriver Washington Cabernet Merlot Malbec 2022

First, this one gets major points from me for its label, which is very cute with the fish illustrations and blue and gold tones. But while the label makes me think of summertime, this is a bolder red blend that I think would be amazing to sip while reading a book on a cool, rainy night in the fall.

This rich red blend, with 55% malbec, 40% merlot, and 5% cabernet sauvignon, has a good balance of fruit and spice. I tasted notes of berries, tart cherries, cinnamon, and black pepper, with maybe a hint of tobacco. Despite all the heavier tasting notes, it didn’t coat my mouth or feel heavy in texture. I do think it’s still a little too much for summer, but I’d love to get a bottle of this to drink in the cooler months, especially because it’s such a good price for such a rich red.

Cristian Vallejo Chile Barrel Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

glass of red wine next to bottle of Cristian Vallejo Chile Barrel Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

This is a pretty classic-tasting cabernet sauvignon. I admired the deep red color of the wine, and it had tasting notes of cherries, black currants, leather, and hints of spice, like cinnamon and black pepper. There’s also a slight smokiness, so it makes sense that Naked Wines recommends pairing this wine with barbecue. I also thought this wine was very dry and oaky.

This one tasted nice out of the bottle, but it is also great after letting it breathe. Waiting a little longer helped mellow out some of the smoke and spice, making the jammy fruit flavors come forward. I’d be interested in grabbing another bottle of this, especially to go with a hearty dinner like steak and potatoes or a mushroom pasta.

Franc Dusak Pagani Ranch Vineyard Sonoma Valley Alicante Bouschet 2021

person holding glass of glass of red wine next to bottle of Franc Dusak Pagani Ranch Vineyard Sonoma Valley Alicante Bouschet 2021

This rare wine, a bouschet, was what Matt and I were both looking forward to trying most. Bouschet isn’t as common as say, a pinot noir or a Brut, and it’s not a type I’ve tried before. However, I love jammy and smoky notes and bold reds, and that’s what the Naked Wines profile suggested to expect from this particular wine.

I got simmered fruit on the nose from this one, and the flavor? Really lovely. It balanced sweet, dark fruits like cherries and plums with earthy, leathery notes and a subtle black pepper finish. While I did drink this on my apartment balcony in 77-degree weather, this wine is just begging to be enjoyed in the late fall or winter. It’s very warming, but the tannins and acidity aren’t overwhelming.

My Verdict

After enjoying my first box, I found some real winners, although most of them are better suited for cooler weather. The Stepp Pinot Gris is a perfect match for summer in LA, and I really enjoyed the lemon and butter notes of this wine. For the reds, the Franc Dusak Pagani Ranch Vineyard Sonoma Valley Alicante Bouschet was my favorite of the bunch, but I also enjoyed the Cristian Vallejo Chile Barrel Selection Cabernet Sauvignon and the Dave Harvey Upriver Washington Cabernet Merlot Malbec.

I liked that I could try some wines from regions near me alongside some regions and varietals that I’m less familiar with. I was open to trying all types of different wines, and this box really delivered a nice variety.

The prices were also very reasonable. There are discounts for the Angel members, but even without that subscription, the bottles I received range from $19.99 to $40.99, which is less than what I usually spend per bottle of nice wine.

While I won’t be ditching my local wine clubs any time soon, I thought Naked Wines was a fun and convenient way to support independent makers around the world while also finding some gems to add to my wine collection.

Was This Box Worth It?

The Cost: 

  • Under $250 per quarter for the Fine Wine Club (which is what we tested)
  • $40 per month to become an Angel, with that money going toward the cost of your next order
  • $10.99 to $19.99 per bottle for 12 bottles per quarter for the Wine Genie subscription

ACTIVE DEAL: Score a $100 voucher through this MSA affiliate link!

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, sort of. If you sign up for a subscription through Naked Wines, you may get these wines if you have similar wine preferences to me. The subscription works by recommending wines based on your preferences you determine via a quick sign-up quiz, so boxes may look different from one wine-lover to the next. Of course, if you’re intrigued by any of the wines we’ve tested here, you can also order them through Naked Wines any time.

ACTIVE DEAL: Score a $100 voucher through this MSA affiliate link!

Starting at $40.00
Subscribe Now

"Welcome to a better way to buy wine. Nakedwines.com is a customer-funded wine business. Our Angels (customers) invest $40 a month into their nakedwines.com piggy bank, which we use to invest in talented, independent winemakers. In return for exclusive wines at insider prices (up to 60% off retai... read more.

Paige Bennett
Paige Bennett
Based in Los Angeles, Paige equally loves to explore her surroundings and cozy up at home. When it comes to subscription boxes, she's obsessed with all things food, fitness, fashion, beauty, and home goods (especially candles!). When she isn't writing for MSA, Paige also creates content for Insider, HomeAdvisor, EuroCheapo.com, Eat This, Not That!, and more.

Join the Conversation

Please do not enter your email address in the Name field or in the comment content. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *. Remember to post with kindness and respect. Comments with offensive language, cruelness to others, etc will not be approved. See our full comment policy here.