How bad is actually a standard Chardonnay from Gallo?

Gallo are not noted for particularly good wines – at least not under their own brand name, because they also have interests in some other brands that are not called “Gallo”. “Wine for Coca Cola drinkers” is a judgment I’ve heard. Sounds quite nose-in-the-air style European doesn’t it, and don’t we feel the oenological transatlantic tension mounting…? 🙂 Some also think that it was very unfair that Mondovino portrayed Mondavi as something of the “horror from the US”, when Gallo would be much more deserving of such a treatment…

Since Gallo, or cheap Californian wine in general, is not really something I taste very often, I took the opportunity to put a 18,75 cl mini-bottle into my shopping basket when I saw one at the supermarket chain Match.

Gallo Family Vineyards Chardonnay 2009

California, tasted from 18,75 cl bottle costing € 2,15 at Match. (Full bottles around € 6.)

Fruity nose of pear, yellow apple and some vanilla. Medium bodied taste with some alcoholic bite in the attack, which then builds to be adequately describable as “booze-y”, and with a strong bitterness in the aftertaste. I guess there is some fruit on the palate as well, consisting of yellow apple sprayed with synthetic vanilla flavouring. 70-72 p?

Given its price, I have nothing to object to the nose, which is actually less sweet vanilla or fudge flavoured that expected (this blogger is not in the least prejudiced against cheap Californian Chardonnay as you can see… 🙂 ), and it could with out doubt had worked for a wine scored 80+. But the palate is lacking harmony and is quite disjointed. I almost get an impression of a presence of industrial spirits mixed with splinters of wood, as if the wine had been diluted with some kind of ersatz concoction to make supplies last longer. I don’t think that the bottle size is to blame, because there are no oxidative notes in the nose. This wine is definitely not a good value for money. At typical Belgian retail prices and typical supermarket selections, I expect to score a supermarket € 5 Muscadet at 80+, which means that such a wine (typically the cheapest of the “classical” French white wines) would kick some serious Gallo Chardonnay a**. Admittedly, the Gallo wine has more concentration that the typical “table wines” that can be purchased for around 2 euro at for example Carrefour (and in that case we often talk about supermarket bottlings of the cheapest imaginable leftover wines from winemaking cooperatives), but concentration is hardly a virtue when that which is concentrated isn’t any good at all.

So, the answer to the question in the headline is: pretty goddamn awful!

Best use: pour into the sink. Actually, it is embarassing that such a bad wine is shipped across half the globe. Considering the scarcity of oil, he need to conserve energy and all that, it would be better if this type of wines instead could be poured out directly at the source.

The Swedish version of this post can be found here.

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