Reviewed: Barefoot wines - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

Retailing between £5.50 and £7, Barefoot’s range of twenty wines made to be 'enjoyed by everyone from first-time wine consumers to hard-core aficionados' are easily available, slightly sweet and consistent - there's no unfortunate change of flavour everytime a new batch of wine is made after each year's harvest. In that way they are like our other favourite food and drink brands whose flavours remain reliably the same (think PG Tips tea or Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce).

Sales of Barefoot wines may have increased by a whopping 32% in the last year (British grocery sector January 2020 to January 2021) but it still fails to make the top three UK wine brands (Hardys, Echo Falls and Blossom Hill). But the launch of  Barefoot Jammy Red in 2020 has boosted both brand recognition (56% of UK consumers) and sales (£3.7 million) despite being a rival to [yellow tail] Jammy Red Roo selling at a similar £7.

Add to that Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay coming on stream in November 2020 and two new wine seltzers in cans (wine made fizzy plus added bicarbonate of soda to give a 'hard' kick but only 4% alcohol) and Barefoot wines are now worthy of a brand copying exercise (Aldi's Beachfront wine range selling at a lower £4.99 is remarkably similar in flavour and looks).

So what will you get with a brand that is usually on special offer in at least two UK supermarkets? Wines made with single grape varieties (the big sellers being Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz) all sourced from 'selected vineyards' (unnamed) in California's Central Valley and all labelled without a year of manufacture – or ‘non-vintage’ to use official wine jargon.

This doesn’t mean the wine is any worse for that, in fact in some ways it’s better because non-vintage, or non-year, wines are blends of wines from several non-specified years. This means the usual variation between grape growing seasons in different years - leading to variations in grape ripeness and ultimately to variations in wine flavours - is blended out leading to a product that tastes recognisably the same every time you buy it.

There’s a lot going for the Barefoot range but why should you buy it when there’s so many other similar wines out there all selling at its offer price of £5.50 a bottle?

Aldi’s core wine range offers many reliably tasty blended wines priced between £4.49 and £5.99 a bottle (their non-vintage French Sauvignon Blanc at £4.49 is a great example) as is Marks and Spencer This Is £5 range (see Review: M&S This Is £5 range) and the Waitrose brightly labelled £4.99 wines. But these wines are supermarket-specific where as the Barefoot range can be found in almost all supermarkets. Making it very easy to hone in on if that’s what you want.

 

Barefoot stockists

All major UK supermarkets and smaller stores including SPAR, Budgens and Nisa.

 

Barefoot flavours

 

White wines

Pinot Grigio

Peach and grapefruit flavours. Light and easy drinking.

Read the full review

 

Sauvignon Blanc

Aromas of pineapple upside down pudding with flavours of apple, pear and lemon. Simple, clean and refreshing.

 

Chilean Sauvignon Blanc

An interesting non-Californian addition to the range but unfortunately not currently available in the UK.

 

Chardonnay

Attractive white rose aromas, along with some pear and peach, are lost in the over oaked flavour.

Read the full review

 

Buttery Chardonnay 

Added in 2020 this is all about buttery oak flavours. Chardonnay with a small addition of Verdelho grapes helps add complexity.

Barefoot's blog explains in detail the diference between their Chardonnay and Buttery Chardonnay.

 

Moscato

Best wine in the range but watch out as it’s a sweet dessert wine. Serve chilled with cheesecakes or cheese and biscuits to reveal its buttery apricot flavours with a lemon zing. One of the best sweet wines around and at £5.50 a bottle great value.

 

Rose wines

White Zinfandel 

Despite the label this is in fact a rosé. Slightly sweet strawberry and fresh pineapple flavours with a perfumed aroma – rather like a blend of German Gerwurztraminer and French Viognier. Drink slightly cooled with Chinese foods or cold meats.

 

Pink Moscato

A sweeter version of the white Moscato - which is already rather sweet.

 

Pink Pinot Grigio

Like the white Pinot Grigio but with added raspberry flavours.

 

Red wines

Merlot

Creamy blackberry and cocoa – rather like a jam-filled chocolate cake.

Read the full review

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Creamy blackberry, blackcurrant and liquorice.

 

Shiraz

Smooth blackberry, blackcurrant and damson with a creamy pear edge plus the classic Shiraz spiciness.

 

Shiraz Cabernet

A blend of the two grape varieties so you get twice the flavour.

 

Malbec

A grape variety that is better known growing in Argentina than California. Hearty flavours of blackberry and liquorice.

 

Jammy Red 

New to the range in 2020 this is a blend of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and the low-tannin Teroldego which also grows in Italy. The name indicates its sweet flavour and Barefoot recommends you try it slightly chilled during the summer.

 

Sparkling

Bubbly Pink Moscato

Listed at Tesco and Asda but currently not available.

 

Wine in cans

Two 250ml cans are now part of the take-out picnic range - White Zinfandel and Pinot Grigio.

 

Wine seltzers

Two 250ml flavours in cans were added in 2020 - Pineapple and Passionfruit (read the 2* review) plus Strawberry and Guava (the 1* review can be read here).

 

There are 20 Barefoot wines available in the UK. But go to the main USA Barefoot website and you'll see there is a whole load of other wines and wine formats - including Barefoot in 3-litre wineboxes.

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About WineUncorked and its editor, Paula Goddard Read more