Maker: Barefoot Cellars, Modesto, California
Packaging: Bottle, natural cork
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Barefoot Cellars seems to be a big presence in supermarket wine centers these days, and we were surprised to find they had a Zin. Previously, we recall seeing only Merlot and Cab in the red category. We popped the cork on a bottle of Barefoot Zinfandel, and found it to be a perfectly acceptable wine and a great bargain for six bucks or so. Cheap zins are hard to find (compared to cheap merlots, cabs, and shirazes, for example), and some of the bargain zinfandels are barely recognizable – or drinkable. (For an example of the vagaries of low-end zins, check out the truly awful Gallo Cafe Zinfandel.)
We found the Barefoot Zinfandel offered an interesting aroma of spice tinged with vanilla and tobacco. The flavor is juicy, with powerful raspberry and cherry notes. In no way is this an overly sweet zin – its acidity balances the fruit and leads to a flavor that isn’t particularly complex but is pleasing enough. In short, there may be better twenty dollar Zins, but for a wine selling for closer to five dollars than ten, Barefoot Zinfandel is a great buy.
This wine was a double gold winner in the 2003 California Zinfandel Competition. Unfortunately, the Barefoot Zin isn’t marked with vintage, so comparisons may be difficult. Regardless, this wine is an excellent value. We checked out the Barefoot Wine website, and found that,
Jennifer Wall, Barefoot Winemaker, was hired in September of 1995. “Barefoot California wines are perfect as everyday dinner wines for wine connoisseurs of all levels of experience,” comments Wall. “The wines are affordable, varietally correct, soft and approachable and are immediately ready to drink off the shelf.”