I have broached this subject before but a recent purchase rekindled my interest.
Cleanskin is a term used for bottled wine that does not carry a label or any other identifying marks.
They have been sold in Australia for a long time now but are generally more prevalent during times when there is excess wine in the Australian domestic wine market.
We have however recently had New Zealand cleanskins on our bottle shop shelves due to the over production of Sauvignon Blanc in that country.
Wineries sell cleanskins to get rid of unwanted stock while at the same time avoiding the negative consequences of discounting their existing brands.
This form of disposal often has very little to do with the quality of the wine and wine drinkers can benefit greatly by buying them.
Having said that, there is always an element of risk when purchasing cleanskins from a quality point of view.
During our trip around South Australia last year I had left my name at various wineries to be advised when specials came up.
One of those was the well known Pikes in the Clare Valley who are famous for their Riesling.
They contacted me to say they had on special many of their wines at 30% off with free delivery. For each dozen purchased, the customer had access to a dozen 2010 Clare Valley Riesling cleanskins.
I paid $18.40 a bottle for their labeled Traditional Riesling and $6.50 for the cleanskin.
The co driver and I did a comparative tasting the other night.
We both agreed they were probably the same wines or near enough to it.
We really could not tell the difference.
And there is also an 'in between' marketing ploy. Wineries have been known to produce a completely new label for a particular wine and sell it at a greatly reduced price compared to the established brand.
We think we have some of those in our wine rack too; no names, no pack drill.