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Gallo Hearty Burgundy

When I was a kid in the seventies and early 1980s my parents drank "jug wine" in gallon sized green glass bottles; they might have as much as two glasses a night, usually with dinner, but sometimes, one before dinner as well. They alternated between red and white; I remember the white was often Gallo Rheingarten, and the red was sometimes Gallo Hearty Burgundy. I got all nostalgic the other day when I noticed that Gallo was not only making consumer table wine varietals, but they'd brought back Gallo Hearty Burgundy.

Of course,"Hearty Burgundy," like "White Zinfandel," is a label that says more about consumer marketing than it does about the wine in question. Gallo's Hearty Burgundy is a red wine blend; exactly

what that blend is made of, and if it's ever changed, is apparently a company trade secret, but all of the wine is from California, and none of it is French. Technically, then it is not Burgundy. I found an old 1976 St. Peterersburg Times newspaper article questioning if the quotations in a Gallo Hearty Burgundy advertisement were genuine; various wine and food notables were quoted saying complimentary things about the quality of Gallo's Hearty Burgundy, and yes, they turned out to be genuine. Gallo apparently retired Hearty Burgundy in the 1980s. But then, in 2006, Gallo released eight new wines as part of its new Twin Valley label; one of those was a red blend called Hearty Burgundy. I note a post from food and wine bloggers Joe and Ann Pollack states that the press materials describe Hearty Burgundy as a blend of California sourced "Zinfandel, Syrah, Sangiovese, Pinot Noir, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon"

And yes, we bought a bottle. A rather large one—though it's no longer in the "jug" sorts of bottles, it's a cylindrical green glass 1.5 liter bottle. We didn't really have very great expectations when we bought it, or later, when we uncorked it. We let it sit for a half hour or so before trying it; the first impression was that it was pleasantly fruity, without being cloying, and honestly, it was mostly making us think of Cabernet Sauvignon. We tried it again an hour or so later, and the time had made a noticeable difference; it was now providing hints of Shiraz or . . . well, I can't honestly say, but it was clear that there was more than Cabernet Sauvignon. It was a double size bottle, so we made no effort to finish it. When we tried a glass late in the next day, the wine was noticeably improved, both more rounded and hinting rather sharply at Zinfandel. I realize it's heresy in some quarters to mention "decanting" in the context of table wine, but I suspect that might make a real difference in this case. We liked it well enough that yes, we'd buy it again, decanted or not.