Barefoot Bubbly

This flight features a brand that specializes in under $10 sparkling.  Currently the more widely available Brut and Extra Dry are on special at Beverages & more! for $6.99. These wines undergo their secondary fermentation in tank and the labels note this with the designation ‘charmat method’.

Barefoot Bubbly, California Champagne, Sparkling, Brut Cuvee nv There is lots of pear in the nose. The pears follow-on in the mouth with a bit of creaminess. The residual sugar and the relatively soft acidity create a slightly thick and smooth feel on the tongue. Chardonnay makes up 80% of the wine, the RS is 1.3% and the alcohol is 12%.

Barefoot Bubbly, California Champagne, Pinot Grigio, Sparkling nv Sweet floral notes come through in the nose while the mouth is candy-like and astringent. Let’s give this the benefit of the doubt in case there is a sub-threshold amount of TCA in the picture here. Besides the Pinot Grigio there is Malvasia, Muscat and Symphony in the mix. Muscat and Symphony are particularly aromatic and would be the primary source of the floral notes we detected. The RS is 1.7% and the alcohol is 12.6%.

Barefoot Bubbly, California Champagne, Chardonnay, Sparkling nv Green apple is quite prominent in the nose. In the mouth, there is creaminess and a touch of bitterness. The current cuvee is 80% Chardonnay, the RS is 2.0% and the alcohol is 11.9%.

Barefoot Bubbly, California Champagne, Extra Dry, Sparkling nv This bottle in the line-up is soft and more overtly sweet with notes of citrus. The grapes are 80% Chardonnay, the RS is 2.6% and the alcohol is 11.8%.

Barefoot Bubbly, California Champagne, White Zinfandel, Sparkling nv The aroma is all candy and strawberries, creating the expectation of a sweet wine. In the mouth there is a repeat performance of the strawberries along with a sense of bubble gum. There is a crispness to the palate that balances the sweetness of this wine. Of the line-up, this wine has the lowest pH at 3.15. Besides the White Zinfandel, there is Symphony and Malvasia in the final blend. The RS is 4.2% and the alcohol is just 10.6%.

I realize that the snobs will think me a Cretan for my embrace of this wine, yet I would argue that it has a place in the repetoire. Let’s say you have a hankering for sweet bubbly, but tonight you want one not as full-on sweet as Moscato d’Asti. This wine would fit the bill, landing on a middle ground.

All in all the two stars of this flight are the bookends. While they are not chock full of acidity nor densely concentrated, they aren’t meant to be. They fill a workhorse role at their price point and I can’t underscore enough how many awful sparkling wines exist below $10.

The Brut Cuvee would satisfy many on a budget who prefer to drink bubbly with a soft feel and a sense of sweetness in the backround. In essence, this wine is perfect for the consumer who talks dry but secretly or unconsciously lusts for a bit of sweetness.

At the other end of the spectrum the Sparkling White Zin delights with its freshness and sweetness. It reminds us of the useful role that tanks can play during the secondary ferment, creating aromatic, fruit-forward bubbly.

Winemaker Jen Wall. All of the wines are P&B in Modesto by Gallo. Barefoot

About Ray

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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