I am often rightfully accused of reviewing beers and liquors and cocktails that are often outside of the financial or geographical reach of many readers and drinkers. While to be sure the enthusiast class amongst us is likely of the sort to actively seek out and obtain, sometimes at cost to themselves, that which they find appealing or rare, many quite naturally often seek a simple sip of something tasty that perhaps has enough of a punch to take whatever edges there may be, off. To this I have decided that going forward, in addition to reviewing fine liquors, craft beers and unusual cocktails, that from time to time I will return to my drinking roots, procuring and reviewing honestly, more common fares such as we have before us here.
Before me now, I have the Barefoot Pinot Noir. An altogether ordinary red, this bottle retails typically between $6 and $8 depending on store, location and tax. At 13.5% ABV it is not the most aggressive wine on the market and really falls rather aptly into the respectable mid-level range in terms of its alcohol. Pouring dark, with a purple-black tone, it laces the glass decently and presents no real grit or gristle either in glass or bottle.
A winner of gold at the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine Competition, it boasts of consistent quality which is largely the hallmark of an established brewery, distillery or vineyard. Now this is naturally not my first time with the wine, as periodically I will find myself picking up a bottle to enjoy while I write (typically other works) fancying myself a bit like a literary Tyrion Lannister in that I drink and I know things. In my case, I drink and I write things, but all the same, Barefoot is to me one of the standard go-to economy wines that I find I can enjoy honestly and without much in the way of overt criticism.
Not overwhelmingly sweet in its own right, complementary notes of cherry, spice and even a bit of raspberry all linger about in the finish, while a smooth oaky vanilla profile seems largely to dominate the beginning. In reality I suppose this is what one might call a table wine, being itself a few steps above the large glass barrels of Sutter Home common in many houses, while also being a few steps below more dynamic varieties such as Apothic’s Inferno, which itself is aged in whiskey barrels. An easy going, middle of the road, straight ahead red, it is the sort that one could easily and happily pair with all manner of meals, with salmon or trout almondine (a personal favorite) coming to mind.
Remembering as I sip, the old convention mandating to hold the glass by the stem, I am then reminded a conversation with a friend wherein I was told that at upscale parties thrown by the wealthy this convention is often abandoned with knowledge that staff will handle the cleaning of the glasses and that no one really cares. For my part, drinking a seven dollar bottle of wine while preparing to catch up on The Walking Dead, I am immediately reminded that wine is not, nor has traditionally been the sip of aristocrats alone. And for my part, this EveryJoe doesn’t mind just casually gobbing some down before the ambient glow of his computer screen.
So to Barefoot, to the traditional love affairs between writers and wine and of course, to you I say as always…
While the brand may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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