Barefoot, the $6 grocery store brand owned by E&J Gallo, is tremendously controversial among wine writers. They refuse to believe that any wine that sells that well at that price can be any good. That it is “mass produced” doesn’t help their disposition, either.
Or, as so many of my colleagues have vowed (and especially the famous ones), “You aren’t going to catch me reviewing those wines.”
Which is not the way the Wine Curmudgeon does things, is it? After the jump, my annual Barefoot review, featuring the sauvignon blanc and pinot noir (with links to four of my Barefoot posts at the bottom of this one).
Barefoot, regardless of the quality of the wine, does one thing that makes me crazy. Many of the wines have label stickers proclaiming success in wine competitions, even though the competitions may be several years old. That’s akin to a 2012 car boasting about an award it won in 2010. It’s not the same car, and it’s certainly not the same wine. It’s a disservice to consumers to tell them the wine they’re buying is the same one that won an award.
There’s nothing especially wrong with the pinot, and you get your $6 worth. It’s just that nothing really stands out. There’s some fake oak on the finish that imparts a chocolate-like taste, and it’s fruity (red fruit?) in the way that California pinot noirs like Mark West are fruity. It’s not as full bodied as the Mark West, but it also costs one-third less. In this, you can tell the difference in the quality of the grapes.
The sauvignon blanc ($6, purchased) was surprisingly disappointing (despite a sticker that said it won a medal in 2010). There are literally dozens of cheap, competent sauvignon blancs, and it’s not difficult to make cheap, competent sauvignon blanc. But the Barefoot, for some reason, tasted more like pinot grigio. Look for a touch of tropical fruit in the middle; other than that, though, it was disjointed, acidic and very thin.