Blind tasting puts Barefoot wine strides ahead in curry contest

BAREFOOT Wine, the budget brand from American giant E&J Gallo has recently scooped no fewer than five 5-star awards – including three trophies – in a blind tasting. One of which was the best wine to drink with a lamb rogan josh.

I’m not a wine snob; but Barefoot isn’t normally high on my buying list. I like to shy away from the Big Brand Motorways and detour round the winemaking A Roads, sneaking off down country lanes. But Barefoot has padded quietly into my world.

Barefoot was launched in California more than 25 years ago and since then has received the most awards in the US, where it is the Number One selling wine brand. It was introduced into the UK in 2007 and immediately became involved in a multitude of community activities.

Just this month, Ben Fogle was at Ainsdale Beach as Barefoot Ambassador for its beach rescue project, which aims to keep Britain’s beaches “barefoot friendly”.

Barefoot has teamed up with charity Surfers Against Sewage and last year 1100 volunteers Barefoot Shiraz wine and curryremoved 2.5 tonnes of litter from the UK’s coastline. So every credit to Barefoot. But what about the wine?

Some weeks ago I doffed my cap to Barefoot’s Moscato with its delicious “bundles of peach and orange blossom”. The Moscato has won two WFWW awards as a match to both apple crumble and strawberries and cream. Judges described it as “summer in a bottle”. Which is good, as it means at least someone has seen summer this year.

Then there’s the rogan josh and the award goes to … Barefoot Shiraz. Judges described the wine as “big and unctuous” with “dark dried fruit adding a complex, almost sweet, layer”.

I made myself a lamb curry; and poured a glug of the shiraz (RRP £6.99 various outlets). The first aroma I had was of a creamy, latte coffee; so there were strong hints of mocha. It was followed by in-your-face blackberry jam. To taste, vanilla and blackberries combined, like a rich pudding, with an edge of spiciness.

One of the WFWW judges, Master of Wine Peter Richards, said: “In the wine lover’s mind there is a default setting ‘big equals bad’ which is why its always good to challenge your preconceptions once in a while.”

I have to agree.

Also in my glass

… I can never resist a bottle of sparkly on offer. I bought Francois Dubois Champagne NV (Tesco, reduced to £14.99 from £31.99 in some stores while stocks last) which won a silver award in the 2010 International Wine Challenge, where judges described it as having “nice evolution and good balance”.

Made from the classic Champagne grapes of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier, it had a toasty brioche aroma and dried apples refreshingly fizzed on the tongue. Not bad with £17 knocked off the RRP – but once it’s gone, it’s gone.

  • Learn about wine at the newly-launched Liverpool Wine School, based at Vinea on Albert Dock
  • It is an approved programme provider of qualifications under the auspices of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, with courses taking place either in the evening or studied intensively over a few days.
  • Yours truly has signed up for a course and I’ll tell you about it in a few weeks’ time. Meantime, you can find out more by emailing info@liverpoolwineschool.co.uk, phone 0151 707 8962 or click on their website at www.liverpoolwineschool.co.uk

First published in the Liverpool Post on August 30  2012