x-fact ~ you know this wine. with the footprint on the label. check the very bottom shelf. it's been there for years.
barefoot california cabernet sauvignon
you may be wondering why there is no vintage on this wine. generally a vintage is a year in which the grapes are grown and the wine produced. near as i can figure, if a wine is grown and produced in a fairly stable region that doesn't change a lot weather wise and is pretty much produced consistently in mass quantities the same way all the time, then a vintage isn't particularly necessary.
but, possessing no "real" knowledge about wine, your guess is as good as mine.
so you've seen this wine before. used to be called barefoot cab, or barefoot chard, or barefoot zin? is it coming back to you now?
so this wine is THE FIRST wine wherein i thought the label was "cute." PLUS it was always good and always cheap. (or, a good value if you must)
so to kick off cheap wine month here on the blog, i've decided to start with the first cheap wine i loved.
okay, i know some of you might be thinking "but wait! her first cheap wine love is boone's! she said so! what about the boone's?"
see now, you would be technically correct. BUT, only technically. first of all, only some boone's can actually be called "wine." and then, only barely. they call it citrus wine or apple wine. basically a step up from a wine cooler. then there are the other boone's labels i wouldn't mess with if you paid me. and are most definitely NOT wines. not even slightly. they are malt beverages. so the the neon colored boone's with the crazy names, no thanks. gag. strawberry hill fo' sho'. maybe the apple if i'm feeling particularly appley, though the apple wasn't really my thing. BUT i'm just not a malt beverage kinda girl.
plus i'm not 19. that helps.
because while i enjoyed the boone's at the time as much as any underaged and therefore perpetually financially challenged girl does, as with many things of great importance in one's life, i did not FULLY appreciate all that is boone's until much later in life. when it was gone.
oh, it's still there. only a few dollars more, but worlds away. there is a time and place for boone's. a trip down that memory lane is a "special" journey indeed.
okay, so back to the barefoot. in fact the barefoot of today is actually closer to the price it was back in the day than boone's is! remarkably, it has grown hugely in its amount of medals and accolades and only marginally in price.
i've got to tell you, i love this wine. nostalgia and a good value, sure. but there's more. a reason to love it. it's got a nice layered flavor, it's smooth, and it's got great legs.
now, it takes a sip or two to get to the layers, the smooth, and the legs.
but hell, all good things come to those who wait, right? and what's a sip or two in the grand scheme of a great wine for under 5 bucks?
it's not a big sturdy cabernet, more jammy and punchy. syrupy, but not too sweet. it's got a nice color in the glass. in all fairness there are two slight detractions. the nose, the bouquet, the SMELL, can be a bit alcoholy at the beginning. that goes away after a bit. and i have to say, there's just a teeny teeny teeny dry streak that goes through it here and there.
what!?! dry streak? i know. i told you i don't know a thing about wine! okay, so just slightly, so much as you wouldn't know it unless you had to think about it then blog about it, there is a bit at the top back of the mouth that gets a bit dry. i don't know what that is, but it's there.
i doubt you would notice it, though. i have been drinking this wine for years off and on here and there and only today did i notice it.
the hazards of a wine critic. ha ha ha ha ha okay, the hazards of an accomplished drinker who's trying to legitimize her "hobby."
this is a great "good" wine. this is a wine for a picnic. to bring to someone's house for a bbq. this wine is just fine to bring for dinner and put right out on the table.
this is a cabernet so yadda yadda yadda with the big sauces and red meats and whatnot. BUT, it's refreshingly light as well, and wine drinking is all about what you like.
drink it with a lightly sauteed filet of tilapia topped with a bit of lemon butter parsley sauce and served over a bed of whole wheat couscous with steamed broccoli on the side as we did tonight.
or, with a two fisted mess of ribs and a platter stacked with buttery corn and a pile of fried potatoes which is what i REALLY wanted tonight.
i have carried this bottle in a backpack for a day hike to a mountain lake and back. mmm, just the reward for what turned out to be a few miles longer than planned. and i have also served it at my first and ONLY vegan/vegetarian thanksgiving. bleh. the wine was the saving grace. well, and the mushroom gravy, which was exceptionally good. the rest? well, there was wine.
(oh calm down all you veggies. this was way before i knew much about cooking and long before my then hippie palate got exposed to that which lies beyond the bland that passed for vegetarian and aack! vegan recipes readily available and being cooked in the early nineties)
the thing about serving a bottle of wine that costs less than most 6 packs of beer is that you can more than afford to be adventurous. and generous. that the "rules" about wine don't really apply.
nor should they.
look, wine is beautiful. it is proof that there is a god/dess, likely more than one, and that they ALL love me and want me to be very, very happy. and you! they want you to be happy, too!
and there is a lot of really good wine out there. value wine. fancy wine. expensive wine. and there's a lot of ideas out there about how to and why to and where and with what to drink this wine.
but you know what? pretty much in the grand scheme of life none of that matters.
life is short. too short for stuffy rules that are less about true enjoyment and more about how we look in front of others.
drink this or any other wine you want with what you want. sure, you may find this one or that one isn't the one you like with this dish or that dish.
but that's life. the tasting and the figuring it out and the carrying on with the evening. with life.
AND, this wine has siblings. there's whites, other reds, bubbly. i've tried many, but not all. but i want you to know the ones i have had have been just as good, and just as much a "value."
so i say grab the 4.50 bottle and break out the good glasses. set the table with the good tablecloth and the candlesticks you never use.
life just is what it is and it generally isn't perfect and doesn't follow any rules. so why wait for the "special occasion?"
i say enjoy your life as much as you can as soon as you can.
and for god's sake, use the good china.
especially if it's just fish and couscous and a wednesday evening at home.