Gallo Hearty Burgundy - In With the In Crowd

heartyburgundy.jpgFans of Gallo’s Hearty Burgundy are scouring the Internet and retailers to grab every bottle of what has become one of the world’s chicest wines. Demand has continued to force prices ever higher and crossing the $50.00 a bottle threshold seems to have only increased demand.

Now the darling of the celebrity circuit, Hearty Burgundy was recently splashed across the covers of all thedomperignon.jpg tabloids as Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears downed more than a few glasses at L.A.’s most exclusive night spot. In New York the paparazzi caught rapper P Diddy’s limousine well stocked with Hearty Burgundy for a night on the town. Famed actor George Clooney recently laid in a large supply at his villa on Italy’s Lake Como.

Fans are even more excited about Gallo’s plans to introduce a new prestige cuvée of Hearty Burgundy in a bottle designed by Ralph Lauren. The price is rumored to break the $300.oo per bottle mark and will be allocated to each market based on their purchases of other Gallo products.

Ridiculous, right? Everyone knows that the worlds finest wines are from small producers and very specific vineyards. Mass produced wines like Hearty Burgundy will never be among the world’s elite and were never intended to be. This is a rule that seems to apply to every wine region in the world but one - Champagne. The great pinot noir and chardonnay wines of Burgundy are defined down to the row. Often less than a few hundred cases are produced of the greatest wines. In a testament to their marketing skills, the Grande Marques of Champagne have turned the wine world on its head by convincing consumers that their mass produced brands are their finest wines. Indeed this is just as if Gallo had convinced us that Hearty Burgundy was California’s finest wine.

Consider this, some 2,000,000 bottles of Dom Perignon are produced. That’s almost 167,000 cases and this is supposed to be an elite wine? By the way, Gallo now makes about 200,000 cases of Hearty Burgundy.

I would not ague that Hearty Burgundy and Dom Perignon are on the same quality level, but Hearty Burgundy is a better value.  The stunning part of wines like Dom Perginon and other “name” Champagne is that their quality is as good as it is considering how much wine they make. 

Fortunately there are now many outstanding grower produced and bottled Champagnes available that reflect the same passion and terroir as Burgundy’s finest domaines as reported on in my previous post, Grower Fizz.  It is only in these Champagnes from small producers that you will find the same distinctive and diverse characteristics that have made Burgundy the most interesting of wine regions. That same range of personality and terroir is expressed in this new and growing category that is transforming the Champagne region from a homogenized blend into a region full of nuance and diversity.

Let’s raise a glass of fine grower bubbly and make a toast to the marketing acumen of the big Champagne firms. Its not easy or cheap to impress Paris and Brittany. Let’s let them drink Dom, I’ll take the grower fizz please.