On the cheap: Barefoot Bubbly

Barefoot Bubbly NV California Extra Dry Champagne 750mlHas the stress of buying sparkling wine for New Year’s Eve set in? Are you in your bare feet checking Facebook — and making your shopping list and checking it twice? Here’s just a suggestion that if $10 is your ceiling for a celebration wine you can always opt for Barefoot brand. Check your friends’ kitchen counter and fridge. It’s there.

You like sweet? The Barefoot Bubbly Moscato is killer. You like dry or somewhere in between? Here are my suggestions. (Price $9-$10)

Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee, $10: This is the brand’s most dry wine — check the back label and examine the sweetness scale. It’s a sparkling fruit cocktail of apricot, lime, green apple and minerality that finishes dry but not austere. This wine, similar to a Brut, is the best pick with food.

Barefoot Bubbly Extra Dry, $10: Consider this one semi-sweet, leaning to dry. I like it a lot — a zesty, fruit-forward, palate-cleansing fruit concoction of tangerine, orange and yellow apple. Don’t be fooled by the term “Extra Dry.” Actually it’s just the opposite — it has some sweetness but is not cloying. Consider it an aperitif — a wine to pour before a meal or to hand to guests as they arrive.

Did you know? Barefoot was introduced by Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey in 1985 and they like to say they had no idea what they were doing. They have written a book, “The Barefoot Spirit,” due out in May 2013 but available now as an ebook. They promote it as “the story of a little winery that broke all the rules … and left its footprints all over the industry.” They sold Barefoot to Gallo in 2005 and today it is one of the top-selling brands in the U.S.