Barefoot Chardonnay NV: Pale yellow-straw color; peach, apple nose; peach, green apple, squeeze of citrus on the palate;
there is acidity, balance, smoothness, some oak—but thankfully far from the expected excess often found in low-cost chards. Clean, off-dry, smooth, very easy drinker. Barefoot is a blow-away success today. It started as Barefoot Bynum in Davis Bynum’s garage in 1965, then kicked everything up a notch when Bonnie Harvey and Michael Houlihan took over in 1986, dropping Bynum’s name but keeping the laid-back Barefoot image. Jen Wall joined the team in 1995 as winemaker, stepping up the pace even more, expanding the company’s product line from four wines to today’s more than 30. E.&J. Gallo gobbled up the enterprise in 2005, and the largest family-owned wine business in the world—working with the existing Barefoot team—has taken Barefoot to the second-most powerful wine brand in the country. The marriage of Barefoot management/winemaker and Gallo is one made in wine heaven. Gallo knows how to deliver what masses of people want at superb prices and has the marketing and business infrastructure to boost to really big. Barefoot knows how to deliver consistency in flavor and taste. Barefoot Chardonnay is by no means complex or surprising—that is the attraction. People know exactly what they are going to get: a trustworthy, easy drinker for a Lincoln and change that clearly has chardonnay at its base and is not messed up with trowels of oaky makeup or Paula Dean-inspired butter bombs. Tasty, dependable, a store receipt and a couple of sips tell you why Barefoot is one of the best-selling brands in the world. $6-7 Jen Wall is the second picture below.