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Wine Review: Barefoot works to lighten dull wine industry

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Generally speaking, the wine industry is a pretty dull place. About the only change in the industry is the weather’s effect on the final product, a phenomenon we refer to as the vintage year.

The only other earth-shattering event that is new in the last 300 years is the renaming of the Croatian grape variety plavac mali to zinfandel — and that’s pretty ho-hum.

There is, however, one producer that has continuously broken the ho-hum mold: Barefoot Cellars. While Barefoot has not changed any grape varieties, they have done a yeoman’s job on blending and packaging.

Their latest innovation is the 250-millimeter can. The new cans are perfect for outdoor activities; they’re easy to carry, lightweight and come with a pull-tab. More important is the cans are filled with some of the most interesting and novel wines to hit the market in a long time.

The wines in these cans are all sweet, sparkling and fruit flavored, carrying the spritzer name. Will somebody please wake up the wine geek who just passed out? These wines are not the deep classical wines that we all know about and probably cannot afford, but they are the ideal wine cooler for any summer, spring or fall outdoor activity. Barefoot spritzers have a suggested retail price of $9 per 250 mL four-pack, giving about 250 mL more wine than a standard bottle.

I must add a side comment here. The grapes used for these wines are not low-cost “cheap filler” varieties, but are in every case the exotic and/or more costly varieties.

Barefoot Red Sangria Spritzer
The summertime wine favorite is presented here as only Barefoot can, with a bit of carbonation to add even more refreshment. The wine is fruity on its own, as it’s a blend of zinfandel and barbera, but it has been made even more interesting with the addition of orange, lemon and lime fruit flavors.

Barefoot Moscato Spritzer
Moscato is already a powerful aroma. Here, the Barefoot vintners have added two other aromatic varieties to the blend: symphony and riesling, a variety known for possessing a lively floral aroma. The wine is blessed with hints of peach, honey and tea. This one’s for all you sweet wine lovers.

Barefoot Summer Red Spritzer
Take a pinot noir wine, add to it that aromatic duo of symphony and riesling, and you have a knockout summertime refresher. The wine abounds with the aromas of raspberry and pineapple that join in the flavor with more raspberry and fresh summer peach. As an uncompromising lover of pinot noir wine, I give this incarnation my blessing.

Barefoot Crisp White Spritzer
Here again, a better grape, chenin blanc, usually presented as a dry white variety, has been melded with moscato and riesling to produce a beverage that is sweet, but not terribly sweet. The wine abounds with the flavor and aroma of apple and pear, along with a hint of citrus in the background.

Barefoot Rose Spritzer
The classic ingredient in most rose wines, grenache, is again combined with riesling and symphony to produce a wine that is both classical and modern at the same time. The wine openly displays the aromas of pomegranate and raspberries — in almost obscene amounts. The flavor, a feature that is often downplayed by most rose wines, is strong and prominent. This spritzer presents pomegranate, peach, honey and a big floral finish. This is a new, fun twist on a rose wine.

Wine columnist Bennet Bodenstein can be reached at frojhe1@att.net.

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