Barefoot wines are a Californian wine company that took its beginnings in home brewing in 1965. Barefoot aims to make one of the most palatable and quality wines within the mid-tier range of wines available from your grocery store, claiming that ‘wine tastes better in a tee than a tux’.
It seems they mean that wine should be accessible to all and is better simplified, as often wine culture can be considered snobbish and highbrow when in fact wine has historically been the drink of the people.
Barefoot has 6 varieties of red
Merlot, Malbec, Jammy Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Shiraz Cabernet.
As well as 6 varieties of white wine: Chilean Sauvingnon Blanc, Buttery Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and Moscato. The product we are interested in today is the Italian classic Pinot Grigio.
They also have a range of sparkling wines called the Barefoot Bubbly collection.
Pinot Grigrio in general is a popular wine among sommeliers and casual drinkers alike, famed for its light notes and crisp acidity that makes it perfect for summer, and all-year round pairings.
Pinot Grigio originates in Italy and is produced in the Lombardy region with the Pinot gris vine. Barefoot makes their wines in California where it was founded, but the Californian weather provides the perfect substitute for Lombardy’s climate
On the sweeter side of white wine, Barefoot markets their Pinot Grigio as having a tart green apple taste which has been finished with floral and citrus notes which offer a burst of sharpness on a sweltering summer’s day.
Poultry, pasta, pizza and fish are the obvious food pairings with this wine, but it also goes great with spicy food to cut through the heat. Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio comes in at around 13% ABV, which is pretty common for the market and follows the regular expectation of Italian table wine.
Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio usually costs you around $7-$8 depending on where you shop, which is a pretty mid-market price that suits the wine’s quality.
What you actually get from Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio is good, but wouldn’t blow the head of a restaurant grade sommelier, nor would it offend the beginner wine drinker.
With sufficient acidity to make the wine perfect for the summer, this wine’s acidic palette is desirable to all. Some find that lemon, lime and apple can make for quite a rough and strong finish of acidity that can be undesirable for some.
The common perfume from the Pinot gris grape is present near the end, but in general the wine hits the phrase ‘palletable’ straight on the head.
As Barefoot doesn’t put a vintage on their wines it’s hard to tell how fresh, or preferably vintage, the grapes are that you taste in the specific bottle you buy.
For instance, the recent bottles of Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio boast a Gold Medal from the 2007 Monterey International Wine Competition.
This is great for Barefoot’s marketing, and it’s clear that they did win the competition, however the grapes you are tasting are very unlikely to have actually come from the same vine from the 2007 collection which originally won the award.
However, Barefoot does a good job of marketing their wine well, and offers a nice table wine that introduces Italian grapes to the American audience. Barefoot is not trying to make a wine that is going to be served in the Michelin-star restaurants.
Rather, Barefoot is trying to create a wine that is appealing to the masses and is the choice of family dinners and trips to the beach, rather than the sommelier’s choice.
Ultimately this is what wine is about, a cheap home grown product that is made special by the love and care put into it, rather than certification and the qualification of others.
In the realm of grocery store wine, Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio is of decent quality and does stand above others within its price range. If I were to choose a Pinot Grigio within this price range this is one I would choose.
Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio can also be a great starting point for rookies in the wine game, while it certainly won’t win points with a sommelier. Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio could be a great choice for a dinner party where you are serving fish.
These mid-market wines can be really accessible to those who aren’t so well versed in wine tasting and grape recognition.
If you are having a dinner party where you don’t want to come across as a snob, or don’t want to waste your best wine on unassuming guests, then this is a good wine to opt for.
Obviously, Barefoot’s Pinot Girigio will never stand up to an $18 bottle of wine, but that isn’t what Barefoot’s plan was. Barefoot’s Pinot Grigio offers a palatable and simple Pinot Grigio for the newcomers into the wine world.
It’s a great wine to compare to the more high-end wines and show your friends how to taste and compare the quality of grapes as well as vintage.
Don’t lose too much sleep over this Pinot Grigio as Barefoot obviously has a specific market and clientele that they are marketing this wine too, and its quality follows suit.
However, I actually have respect for what Barefoot are doing, in terms of marketing a mid-market wine that can be enjoyed universally. It certainly harks back to older traditions of Italian table wine, that wine is for everyone to enjoy and can be made across the world. Checkout Vermentino for another great white Italian wine.
These mid-market wines will only get more people excited about speaking to their local wine seller about what the next step up should be.