NAKED WINERY BLOG
Winter in the Pacific Northwest is all about staying dry. If you live here, you know what we mean. If you don’t, well...let’s just say the rumors are true.
But this isn’t just a season for raincoats and Muck boots. The inclement weather also calls for dry wines: wines with almost no residual sugar, that are elevated in both alcohol content and acidity. These wines warm you from the inside out and pair well with the heavier meals we crave, especially on days when we’ve braved a chilly chairlift or simply watched rainfall from our windows.
In honor of Naked’s Dry January (😉), we pulled together a few of our favorite dry wines and heart-warming recipes. Enjoy!
Off The Record Carménère x Pumpkin Curry
Photo Credit: The Minimalist Baker
Carménère pairs well with spicy food and catching up with old friends. Originally a Club Naked exclusive wine, we’re now opening this bottle up to the general public so all can enjoy the secrets of the “lost grape of Europe.”
Carménère is a good all-around pairing wine, but it pairs especially well with curry. Not only does curry pack a spicy punch (especially when we “forget” to de-seed the jalapeño hehe), it’s the ultimate midweek meal. Go ahead and improvise, throw in just about any veggie or meat you may already have in your refrigerators and voila! Your Wednesday night dinner plans just got a little more extra.
Below is a loose recipe to follow, especially if you have an extra can of pumpkin purée left over from the fall to make your curry extra smooth and creamy. Feel free to take this recipe and run wild!
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 tablespoons minced ginger
- 1-2 bell peppers, chopped
- 1 medium sized sweet potato
- 1 can of chickpeas (roasted)
- Jalapeños for spice
- Spices: salt, pepper, turmeric, curry powder
- 2 cans of coconut milk
- 1 can pumpkin purée (you don’t have to use the whole thing)
- Veggie broth (optional)
- Red or yellow curry paste, to taste
- Rice (optional)
- Naan (optional)
- Fresh Cilantro
Serves: 4-6, with plenty of leftovers
- Start by cooking your rice, as that can take 40-60 minutes if you don’t have a rice cooker. (A basic rice ratio is 2 cups water to 1 cup rice, but follow the instructions on the packaging and/or rice cooker.)
- Preheat the oven to 400°. With the oven preheating and rice on its way, open up a bottle of Off The Record and let the wine breathe as you prepare the roasted chickpeas. Drain the chickpeas, dry them with a clean dish towel, then toss them in olive oil, salt and any other spice. Place on a cookie sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the curry.
- In a wide and deep skillet, sauté onions, garlic, ginger and sweet potatoes seasoned with salt, pepper, turmeric and curry powder over medium heat. Add in the bell peppers and any other veggie or meat you’ve got.
- Once the fixings are mostly cooked, add the coconut milk and curry paste, adding as much as needed to turn the milk to a nice red (or yellow) color. Then add the pumpkin purée. You probably won’t need the whole can. Thin with veggie broth if desired. Bring curry to a boil, add kale or any other soft greens, and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. The Carménère should be opened up enough by now.
- Top with fresh cilantro and serve with rice and/or naan and recapping family holiday drama with your friends.
Oh! Orgasmic Tannat & Pasta Alla Vodka
Photo Credit: Half Baked Harvest
We gotta give credit to the G.O.A.T. Tiegan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest for this one-pot vodka sauce recipe. The heavy cream in this sauce mellows out the astringency in high-tannin wines, And while this dish is shockingly easy to make, it has a “wow” factor so we’re pairing it with one of our favorite high-tannin wines: Oh! Tannat.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (optional for spice)
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1/4 cup vodka
- 3/4 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought (optional)
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream or canned coconut milk
- 1 pound short cut pasta
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
- 1/4 cup fresh basil roughly chopped
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. When the oil shimmers, add the shallot, garlic, and oregano. Cook until the shallots begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes, cook 4-5 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the vodka, cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the pesto and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.
- Now that the hardest part is over, open up a bottle of Oh! Nebbiolo and let breathe. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, remove 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
- To make the vodka sauce, add the pasta, 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, and the butter, tossing until the butter has melted. Add the parmesan and basil. If needed, thin the sauce with additional pasta cooking water.
- Divide the pasta among plates and top with basil and cheese alongside your Oh!
Here to Stay Chardonnay x Pot Pie
Photo Credit: The Beach House Kitchen
You know what you may be thinking: white wine...in the winter? Isn’t that just a summer thing? Yes and no! While we love a bright and stealy chardonnay (like Foreplay) during warmer months, oaky chardonnays like Here to Stay have the character and acidity needed to stand up to heavier foods.
Buttery oaked chardonnays also pair particularly well with the toasty-nature of puff pastry, which is hands down the best part of a soul-warming pot pie. This recipe calls for Here to Stay both as an ingredient and a pairing. Bon appetit!
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red pepper
- 1 cup frozen pieces
- 4 cups cooked shredded chicken (or substitute with potatoes)
- Season: salt, black pepper, fresh thyme
- ¼ cup all-purpose flower
- ¼ cup Here to Stay Chardonnay
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken stock and/or veggie broth
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- 1 large egg, whisked with a little water
- 1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
- In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add onions, carrots, garlic, peppers and thyme for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the peas.
- In a large saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and add flour. Whisk continuously for one minute. Add in white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes until evaporated. Gradually add cream and stock. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer until thickened.
- Add the vegetables, chicken, and/or potatoes and remove from heat. Spoon into 6 oven-safe bowls.
- Roll out the pull pastry to ¼ inch thickness. Cut so that each bowl can be covered with a sheet of puff pastry. Cut small slits in the middle of the puff pastry and then brush the tops with an egg.
- Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown.
- Serve with the remaining Here to Stay Chardonnay.
Maybe your 2021 resolution is to learn more about your go-to happy hour bevie, or maybe you’re just along for the ride. Either way, we’re here to help pull back the curtain on some techie wine concepts, but hopefully in a way that you’ll actually understand. Since it’s January, the month responsible adults kick off the year by breaking up with booze, we're going dry too. Dry wine that is! We’re talkin’ about dry wines all month long. More specifically, what they are and what they aren’t.
Defining Dry Wine
Technically speaking, dryness is the term winemakers and sommeliers use to refer to the residual sugar content in a finished wine. (geek speak = RS) Wines with less than 1% RS are considered “dry.”
But...dryness is confusing.
Wine dryness can get confusing because there are a lot of factors that impact our perception of wine. For example, two wines with the exact same RS can taste wildly different for a few different reasons. Food scientists and winos have actually studied why some wines taste drier than others and have come to the conclusion that alcohol, tannin, and acidity are key components to why a wine tastes ‘dry’.
Ever taken a sip of wine and felt like the spit has been sucked out of your mouth? That’s actually “astringency” at work — and it’s caused by tannins found in grape skins and seeds. While wines with a ton of tannins can seem harsh and astringent on their own, they are bomb with the right foods. (geek speak = they're also what help red wine age gracefully. )
Acidity (geek speak = pH) can also play tricks on our perception of a wine's dryness. Because sour cancels out sweet, a wine that has more acid will always taste drier than wines with less acidity.
Alcohol Content (geek speak = ABV)
Additionally, high alcohol content can also make a wine taste sweeter than it actually is. In fact, if you had two wines with identical RS amounts, but one had slightly more alcohol, the wine with a higher ABV would taste sweeter even though it doesn’t have any extra sugar.
Isn’t science fun - when you can drink it?!
So what does all of this mean for what to drink with dinner? When considering what wine to open with your meal, keep in mind that sweetness, saltiness, and fat balance the acidity and tannin of dry wines. We’re talkin’ big bold reds and oven-roasted meals, or crisp dry whites that compliment all your favorite cheese.
Either way, we hope you’ll pop some bottles and raise a glass (or two) to a very Naked ‘Dry’ January and to resolutions you look forward to keeping — because nobody likes a quitter.
Cheers to a New Year!
In honor of our newest club wine Off the Record Carmènere we sat down (virtually) and got real with our Club Naked team members Maija and Grace.
In true Zoom fashion, these lovely ladies threw on their best sweatpants and did their make-up for the first time in months to answer all of our burning Real Talk questions.
We started with a couple of ice breakers to check-in and catch up before we got down to the business of really spilling the tea. Enjoy!
What do you miss the most about our old normal? And what are you kind of unexpectedly enjoying about our new normal?
Grace: I really miss getting to hang out with Club members at all of the events that we usually do. Because that was a really big part of my day to day life, pre-COVID and now I’m not really able to do those things. So, I really used to enjoy getting to hang out and getting to know members on this whole new level. But we just did the Rogue River Rafting trip with Club Naked and that was a wonderful opportunity to get to know those people on the river so much better. However, I am enjoying that I currently live out in the middle of the woods. So I can take a quick hike at lunch and enjoy all of the wildlife, like a huge buck that was hanging out in my front yard this morning. It’s kind of fabulous. Although the reality that I am going to be shoveling a lot of snow this year is just starting to sink in.
Maija: I’ll definitely second Grace on missing Club events. Not being able to share fun things with members and have that time getting to connect with them is a bummer. The Rogue trip was so much fun! We went from doing nothing for the last 5 months to doing a four day trip with people. It was like a little teaser and I’m excited for when we are able to start events back up again. I miss the camaraderie in the office too, just seeing other people and the day to day interaction with other people that just aren’t able to happen right now. I’m also a little bit of a hermit anyway, so I feel like COVID has given me the opportunity to get into my own routine and live in my own little bubble and I kinda like it. I like the flexibility of my schedule now that I’m working from home.
Is a hotdog a sandwich: The great dilemma of our time?
Grace: It’s a taco. Because of the way you hold it, it’s not a sandwich. Like, pizza is an open-faced sandwich, but if you fold your slice in half it’s also a taco.
Maija: A hotdog is just one piece of bread, so it’s not a sandwich. I agree with Grace, it’s definitely a taco. I think it has a lot to do with how you hold it.
If there were a song that would play when you walked into any room what would it be?
Grace: That’s a hard one, because no matter what you chose it would probably eventually ruin that song for you because you would hear it every time you opened a door. Like, Ugh this song again!
Maija: Probably any song by Lizzo, because no matter what it is most people are gonna be stoked and will wanna dance with you. Although I have noticed a trend where people send me songs about wine, so maybe one of those would be more appropriate.
If you were arrested with no explanation, what would your friends and family assume you had done?
Grace: Attached googly eyes to a building… defacing public property? Like graffiti or something.
Maija: They’d probably assume that I stole a dog.
What did you think was cool when you were younger that is not cool now?
Grace: Those butterfly barrettes. I used to put them all over my head, like a crown of butterflies.
Maija: Candy cigarettes.
If you could come back in another life as any animal, what would you want to be and why?
Grace: I would love to come back as my dog. She is 14 and has had such a great life. She’s truly spoiled every day.
Maija: When I was growing up I really wanted to be a horse and then my dad told me I couldn’t be a horse. So, I decided I wanted to be a dolphin instead. A dolphin would be cool.
What is the last random act of kindness you performed?
Grace: I don’t go into public very often these days, but I’m pretty good at complimenting people. Even if I don’t know them. I like to pay compliments forward.
Maija: This one makes me feel like I should do more nice things for people. I did just send a bottle of champagne to one of my friends, who I miss a lot.
What fact amazes you every time you think about it?
Grace: I was listening to a podcast and one thing that I can’t wrap my head around still, is that all the people who are alive today only represent about 7% of the total number of humans who have ever lived over the course of human history.
Maija: I’m pretty fascinated by dogs' noses and their scent abilities. I just read recently that dogs can smell a teaspoon of sugar in a million gallons of water. Which totally blows my mind.
If you could ask your pet three questions, what would you ask them?
Grace: I would wanna know how I could make her more comfortable. Why does she act like she’s being abused when I leave her at my parent's house when I go out of town? Because I know they are spoiling her rotten, so like why is she acting like that? Do you dream as vividly as humans do?
Maija: I would wanna know are you really that excited to see me or do you just know that I’m gonna feed you? What do you want to be when you grow up? What are you gonna do with that squirrel if you catch it?
What are your favorite holiday season traditions?
Grace: Instead of doing Christmas dinner, we choose a different ethnic food and then everyone brings a dish from the country we chose. We also do a big white elephant with different themes. I think this year it will be books. So everyone brings your favorite books to exchange.
Maija: I really like cutting down my own Christmas tree. Like going into the woods and finding our tree and bringing it home to decorate. I think it’s really fun. We also like to try and watch a holiday movie every day during the month of December.
What is the best prank you’ve ever pulled?
Grace: In college three of my guy friends lived in a house across campus, and my roommate and I broke into their house. We stole all of their underwear and hung them up like prayer flags in the front of their house. They were super confused when they got home. Then they stole all of our underwear and we didn’t even notice.
Maija: My roommates in college used to have prank wars with the guys upstairs and the best one they actually did to us. They duct-taped the outside of our front door shut and then filled the space in between with packing peanuts. So when my roommate went to open the door to go to class, all of the packing peanuts just flooded into the house and then she had to kick down the duct tape to get out. It was really funny.
The upside to the madness that is 2020? Now you’ve got all the time in the world to dive into that list of books you’ve been meaning to pick up since, well forever. Escape your quarantine doldrums and be transported to faraway people and places with our list of summer must-reads and the wines you should be drinking with them. Ready to be whisked away? I know we are!
Big Summer: A Novel
by Jennifer Weiner
Pair with Beach Please Chardonnay
If you’re looking for a juicy crime with a heavy dose of “Instagram vs. Reality”, pair Jennifer Weiner’s newest novel with a vibrant Beach Please, Chardonnay.
The synopsis: From the author of Mrs. Everything comes this beach-ready peek into female friendship, romance, and some stunning beachside mansions. Daphne has finally escaped the toxic clutches of Drue Cavanaugh and come into her own as a plus-sized influencer when Drue begs her to be in her wedding on Cape Cod. Daphne agrees, but soon finds herself involved in a scandal nobody expected.
The wine: Enjoy summer-y aromas of tropical fruit and citrus on the nose with vibrant flavors of ripe peach and lush pear. This wine goes down easier than the first chapter of your new favorite book.
All My Mother's Lovers
by Ilana Masad
Pair with Fling Gewurztraminer
While it’s not socially responsible to have random flings this summer (#cooties), you can still drink one! We like to consider “All My Mother’s Lovers” a “grown-up” version of Mamma Mia, but less ABBA and, yes, more drama.
The synopsis: After Maggie's mom dies unexpectedly, she returns home to help with arrangements, and discovers five letters her mom left behind, all addressed to strange men. She sets off to find them and along the way, learns more about her parents' love life than she bargained for. Come for the tear-jerking family scenes, stay for the twist all the way at the end.
The wine: Enjoy exotic fruit flavors and tropical floral scents that make this wine both luxurious and refreshing. This Fling is long-lasting and the finish is oh so sweet. Plop a handful of frozen fruit in your glass for an extra chill summer treat. (We like to add pineapple chunks to ours).
Such a Fun Age
by Kiley Reid
Pair with Complicated Viognier
You’ve read the articles, signed the petitions and followed the Instagram organizers. Now sink your teeth into Kiley Reid’s best-selling novel that unearths and untangles the complexity of race relations in America. We know, navigating social change can feel complicated. Wine (and good books) help.
The synopsis: In the midst of a family crisis one late evening, white blogger Alix Chamberlain calls her Black babysitter, Emira, asking her to take toddler Briar to the local market for distraction. There, the security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, and Alix's efforts to right the situation turn out to be good intentions selfishly mismanaged.
The wine: Enjoy aromas of overripe honeydew and orange blossom that mingle effortlessly with an array of bright fruit flavors. There’s a lot to take in, but this Viognier pulls through with a lasting finish that hangs on glass after glass and page after page.
by Sally Rooney
Pair with Foreplay Chardonnay
This book is the slow-burn (sometimes awkward) coming of age love story that every millennial dreams of. It is both incredibly sexy and poignantly written, set against the European backdrop we are longing to visit. Chill the Foreplay and check out the Hulu original series based on the book. Connell Waldron is making us thirsty (and for more than wine).
The synopsis: Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other. Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.
The wine: Enjoy rich aromas of golden delicious apples and flavors of meyer lemon and creamy custard that saturate your palate. Careful now, a little Foreplay goes a long way.
by Lauren Beukes
Pair with Apres Rosé
Would a world run by women really be a better place? This post-pandemic (yes, that again) story suggests it just might not be. This book is part thriller, part science fiction, and all amazing.
The synopsis: Twelve-year-old Miles is one of the last boys alive, and his mother, Cole, will protect him at all costs. On the run after a horrific act of violence-and pursued by Cole's own ruthless sister, Billie -- all Cole wants is to raise her kid somewhere he won't be preyed on as a reproductive resource or a sex object or a stand-in son. Someplace like home.
Apres Rosé: Enjoy notes of exotic lychee fruit, strawberry Jolly Rancher candy, and that moment when good gets even better. Because After is just the beginning.
Little Fires Everywhere
by Celeste NG
Pair with Wild & Free Pinot Gris
This book is the 90’s throwback thriller 2020 has been waiting for. With a twist at every turn, you’re gonna need a glass of wine to pair with this page-turner.
The synopsis: A riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic artist and her daughter who upend their lives. Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood--and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.
The wine: Let loose and enjoy aromas of juicy pear, dried pineapple, and unexpected twists and turns. Get swept up in the moment and lean into the indulgence of this everyday sipper. Things aren’t always as they seem. (yes, even for a Pinot Gris)
by Cameron Esposito
Pair with Gay Rosé
This entertaining and candid memoir of finding one’s identity will resonate with readers doing the same. Esposito is hilarious, especially when it comes to finding humor in tough moments. I guess what doesn’t kill you, makes for really good comedic material.
The synopsis: Cameron Esposito wanted to be a priest and ended up a standup comic. She would like to tell the whole, freaking queer as hell story. Her story. Not the sidebar to a straight person's rebirth-she doesn't give a makeover or plan a wedding or get a couple back together. This isn't a queer tragedy. She doesn't die at the end of this book, having finally decided to kiss the girl. It's the sexy, honest, bumpy and triumphant dyke's tale her younger, theology major self needed to read. Because there was a long time when she thought she wouldn't make it. Not as a comic, but as a human.
Gay Rosé: Light and fruity with just a hint of sweetness, this refreshing rosé is a real summer kween with notes of ripe kiwi, juicy strawberry, a touch of lime, and a finish as bright as a rhinestone. Just say “Yas” to another glass!
Summer 2020 is a little...different. Your travel plans are likely canceled — but that doesn't mean you can't bring the vacay to your very own home. Let's take these mid-summer lemons and turn them into lemonade with essential backyard upgrades that can put the FUN back in your summer.
And no, we're not just talking wine. It's super important to keep your cool during the hot summer months — whether that looks like setting up a baby pool, lounging near a sprinkler or just having your
pool boy partner spray you down with a garden hose every few minutes is totally up to you.
Find shade, don't throw it — even if it's just a tiny umbrella for your drink or your most ridiculous pair of glasses. We just put sun sails like these up at our Hood River Tasting Room and are not camplaining.
3. Summer Reading
Just because you're not going to be able to make it to the beach doesn't mean you should ditch your summer reading. We recommend finding your local bookstore and escaping into the pages (without the hassle of airport security). This bottle of Wild & Free can also help!
Whether you're hanging from the trees in the world’s greatest hammock, lounging on the deck in a classic Adirondack chair or chillaxin’ to the max in a blowup lounger you’re gonna need a comfy place to sit for the foreseeable season.
5. Christmas Lights
Let's face it, Christmas lights are a total vibe. Throw these cheap thrills up just about anywhere and watch your space be transformed into the European courtyard of your Pinterest travel board's dreams.
Nothing says summer like that first perfectly charred wiener. You didn’t hear it from us. Whether you’re splurging on a wood-fired Solo Stove or opting for the convenience of propane, a backyard fire element 100% a must-have to complete the magic of your warm-weather staycation.
7. Yard games
You can still be social while social distancing. They say Summer 2020 is the season of badminton...but if you need a game you can play with a glass of wine in your hand, we are big fans of cornhole for this exact reason.
Those UV rays are no joke and nothing is less fun than a third-degree sunburn. We recommend a high SPF 30 or higher that is water/sweatproof. So you can spend more time in that baby pool and less time re-applying.
9. Bug Off
There’s nothing worse than sitting down to an alfresco meal only to discover that you are the main course. Put up a giant “do not enter” sign for those pesky critters with some strategically placed citronella candles or a yellow jacket trap near your picnic table.
Let’s not forget the most important ingredients for staycation success...wine! Lucky for you our sparkling, whites, and roses are ALL on sale with home wine delivery right to your door. There’s never been a better time to stock up for all your summer favs. Go ahead—stuff your fridge.