Advantages Good quality for the price.
Disadvantages Only four glasses in a bottle.
Just for a change I'm drinking and Ciaoing at the same time. What am I drinking you may ask ? Well the clue is in the title, but it's not any old Chardonnay, oh no, it's Ernest & Julio Gallo's Chardonnay. So as I'm drinking it I thought why not do a review as well, you see, we men can do two things at once.WHITE WINE
Wine making dates back to Egyptian times around 6,000 years ago in 4000 BC. Wine has been a central part of most civilizations from the Romans through to the present day. The only time wine making has been under any threat was in the late 19th century when the phylloxera virus ( a disease which attacks vine roots ) almost wiped out all Europe's vines. The industry overcame this hurdle and as we all know continues to thrive.White wines are made from white grapes and come in many different varieties, styles, tastes and prices. Even two wines made from the same grapes, in the same country and in the same year can vary dramatically. This can be because of differences in local soil conditions, climate and the skill of the winemaker. This particular wine is made from Chardonnay grapes grown in California, I'll now tell you a little about these grapes.
CHARDONNAY GRAPESChardonnay is the classic white wine grape which is grown all around the world and is the most widely planted grape variety globally. It originates in the Cote d'Or area of Burgundy in France. Chardonnay is also widely planted in the Champagne region, where it is one of the three grape varieties used to make Champagne ( the others Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are actually red grapes funnily enough ).
Chardonnay is often blended with other 'lesser' white grape varieties to produce many of the white wines we find on supermarket shelves today such as Colombard Chardonnay's and Semillon Chardonnay's. However, the wine I'm currently drinking is "A Chardonnay, a whole Chardonnay and nothing but a Chardonnay" as you might say in front of a judge.THE WINERY
Ernest & Julio Gallo (EJG as I will call them) founded their wine company in 1933 with stock and equipment 'borrowed' from suppliers who they promised to repay with the money made out of selling their first batch of wine.Julio passed away in 1993, but Ernest, despite being in his 90's, still has a say in the winery's running. It's now two members of the third generation of the Gallo family, Matt the chief grower, and Gina, the principal winemaker who drive the business.The EJG winery is in Modesto which is approximately 80 miles east of San Francisco. They have vineyards all over California from the coastal regions to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Most, however, are situated in the Central Valley, in areas such as the Sonoma Valley and Sierra Valley (where the grapes for this wine are grown). EJG are now the largest wine producer in the world.
WHERE CAN I GET IT AND WHAT'S IT COST ?As with most Gallo wines EJG Chardonnay is widely available in all the major supermarkets and several off licences. You can expect to pay between £4.62 to £5.09 for a 75cl bottle. Some good news though, it's on offer in Tesco at the moment for the bargain price of, wait for it, £3.99. It's a shame the £4.00 worth of Clubcard points due by 10th March haven't arrived yet, as they'd have just covered it nicely.
It's also available on line at;www.co-op2u.com £4.99 per bottle.
WHAT'S IT LIKE ?EJG Chardonnay comes in a pale olive green coloured glass bottle. Unlike most EJG bottles, which have a 'coathanger' shaped neck and shoulders, this one tapers gently up through the neck of the bottle to the top, in a similar way to Hock or Leibfraumilch bottles. Also, for you wine purists out there, it has a natural cork closure.
The label is white with a orangey brown band at the bottom containing the word 'Chardonnay'. The top of the label has a gold and brown image of a ploughed field, with the makers name and year of production detailed underneath. Most significantly the label informs you that EJG Chardonnay is a hefty 13.5% ABV (Alcohol By Volume). This is typical of many Californian wines which are usually a percent or two stronger than their European counterparts.WHAT'S IT LIKE TO DRINK THOUGH ?
On pouring the wine has a very very pale green colour to it, a bit like a glass of lime cordial which has been ever so slightly over diluted.The aroma is one of sliced apple (Granny Smith if I was to have a guess at the exact smell) with a faint whiff of lemon thrown in. This is best sniffed by only putting a little bit in the glass initially (this is difficult because I know we all want to fill the glass and start slurping immediately ) and swirling it around a bit to release the aroma.
The initial taste is quite tart, with lemon being the overriding flavour. The sweetness ot apple then kicks in and my wife then claims to get a bit of peach too, although I've never detected it having stalled at the lemon and apple stage. This wine then gives a slight burn as it goes down your throat, but nothing excessive, in fact a warming feeling is probably a more apt description.To finish EJG Chardonnay leaves a creamy, buttery aftertaste in your mouth almost a bit like vanilla, which lingers for quite some time, particularly on the roof of the mouth. This creaminess stems from the fact that the wine has been oaked, which is quite a common practice with Chardonnay's. In Europe this entails storing the wine in oak barrels to allow the oak to impart its flavour into the wine. In California however, oak chips are used instead with the wine being stored in stainless steel vats and the chips added. The filtering process then removes any physical evidence of the oak chips. Many wine purists prefer un-oaked Chardonnays, but I believe that oaking adds another dimension to the flavour.
Whilst not everyone might like this wine it's easy drinking qualities combined with the variety of flavours contained within one mouthful make it a winner in my book.BEST SERVED
The label recommends 11-12 C, however I prefer it a little colder. About two hours in the fridge usually does the trick or half an hour in the freezer if you're in a hurry. It's usually plan B in this house.WHAT'S IT GO WITH ?
Poultry, creamy pasta dishes or cheese are the suggestions found on the back of the label. Personally I enjoy this one on its own, but at the moment some Cheshire cheese and crackers are going down just a treat alongside my glass of wine.STORAGE
It's an on going joke in this house that our wine rack would make a lousy goalkeeper, as it can't seem to hold on to a bottle of wine, just as a bad goalkeeper can't hold onto the ball. For those of you with a little bit more self control, EJG Chardonnay should keep comfortably for around 12-15 months. However, I honestly think it would be easier to suck a Fruit Pastille without chewing than keep this wine for that long.AND FINALLY
All I can say is that the proof of this wine is in the drinking, go on try it.
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