Attention wine elitists: Not everything has to be serious.
This includes wine.
Yes, it does. No, really, it does.
You see, it’s a bit like the movie Snakes on a Plane. With a title like that, you know exactly what you’re in for. Snakes. On a plane. Eating people. Good guys will beat the snakes, bad guys will get a nasty dose of their own medicine, and Samuel L. Jackson will be a total badass (and will deliver memorable, profanity-laden pithy dialog). Have fun, and leave your brain at the door for an hour and a half.
Some wines are the same way, minus the profanity (and the poisonous, people-eating snakes).
With some wines, you should be able to take a break from thinking too hard, and just sit back, kick your shoes off, and enjoy them. Not talk about them, taste them, or examine them. Just drink them.
Barefoot Bubbly is one of those wines.
Founded by CA winemaker Davis Bynum in the `60s as a small-production adjunct to his pricier wines, then revived in the `80s by Michael Houlihan and partner Bonnie Harvey, Barefoot Wines is now a Gallo property since 2005, with annual production of something like a gazillion cases.
Barefoot is a big, big producer. So it may strike you as a bit strange that they would reach out to bloggers to get thoughts on their new on-line presence. But that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Barefoot reached out to me to get my thoughts on a new website – Barefoot Republic – that includes a brand blog and elements of social networking (videos, profiles, reviews, etc.). They also sent me a few samples of Barefoot wine, one of which I’ll be waxing Dude-like on in a few moments.
It’s both interesting and frightening that a brand as big as Barefoot is (albeit a bit later than many smaller wineries) including bloggers and social networking in their game plan. Interesting in that they’re arguably big enough to not have to care (yet) about the influence of bloggers; frightening in that Barefoot’s entry into this space probably is death knell of social netorking platforms giving smaller wine brands an edge on-line. The fact that the effectiveness of brand recommendations (for wine or anything else) is moving from away from one-way advertising to social-netwoking is a topic for another post (or, in fact, several). The site is beautifully done, by the way (if a bit slow in terms of responsiveness).
So… back to the wine…
I’d heard that Barefoot’s sparklers were a good buy, but I’d never had opportunity to try them before. I popped open a sample of their Brut Cuvee Bubbly. I didn’t have high hopes for this wine, since it’s labeled as “California Champagne” – a legal designation in the U.S., but arguably one that unfairly plays off the reputation – and far superior quality – of France’s birthplace of fine sparklers.
Anyway, Barefoot’s Bubbly is made using the Charmat method, which is the same method of sparkling production used for Prosecco. Like Prosecco, the Barefoot is a refreshing quaffer. The first thing I thought about this wine was that I’ve had plenty of Prosecco that cost more that wasn’t a good as this sucker.
The Barefoot is not a complex wine – it has refreshing acidity, fresh apple aromas, and that’s about it. But at under $10 a bottle. it doesn’t have to be.
With a name like Barefoot Bubbly, you should know what you’re in for. Simple. Tasty. Ready to have fun for an hour and a half (or more).
No snakes, though.