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Aug 19, 2008 11:20 AM

Before White Zinfandel, there was...

Red Mountain Pink Chablis! I recall being in a Navy electronics school in San Diego in 1969 and you could get Red Mountain Wine (burgundy, chablis, pink chablis, etc.) for $1.49 a gallon. Seven years later I got stationed in Vallejo, CA, right at the south end of the Napa Valley and found out what wine really is.

So, what rotgut did you drink before you discovered real wine? C'mon, I won't tell a soul...

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  1. Riunite Labrusco. It's nice with ice <g>

    1. Gallo Hearty Burgundy from the jug with the little finger-loop. I was apparently just way ahead of my time ->

      1 Reply
      1. re: Frodnesor

        That was my very first wine ever! It was introduced to me by my wine-loving college boyfriend when we first started dating, as that's what was in his budget. We walked over to the grocery, he bought a jug of burgundy and a gladiolis from the floral section and we camped out on his bedroom floor studying and drinking our jug o'wine out of milk glasses. It was fantastic! The memory, obviously, not necessarily the taste of the wine...

        Edited to add: I should say I never did (and still don't) care for white zin, but the jug had just enough flavor to peak my interest in pursuing wine.

      2. Pink chablis was absolutely the worst. Guaranteed hangover.

        1. Actually, the first wine I ever had was 1937 Erbacher Marcobrunner Trockenbeerenauslese . . . rotgut came later.

          6 Replies
          1. re: zin1953

            Wouldn't you know it? Sheesh, Jason.

            In college we drank mostly beer, and the wine came after graduation. It was Mateus Rose and Lancers that got us into wine and, into the 70's, we became fans of Sutter Home White Zinfandel. Later we made a quality decision and moved up to Beringer White Zin. It wasn't til the early 80's that we moved on to 'real wine' at home, though we did splurge on better wines at restaurants before then. By '85 or so, though, we were hooked on the good stuff.

            1. re: Midlife

              Well, there WAS a time (after the '37 TBA) when there were a few bottles of Lancer's and Mateus rose, but I generally stuck with Gallo Hearty Burgundy since -- back then -- it was mostly Zinfandel and Petite Sirah . . . or Bolla Valpolicella and Soave (for $3.99 -- or was it $2.99?), you couldn't go wrong.

              1. re: zin1953

                i drank gallo hearty burgundy in college, too. what is the composition now, if you know (or is it still made?)

                also, my older sister was into blue nun for a while.

                and a friend and i got really crazy once with cold duck!

                1. re: alkapal

                  It's still made, though significantly more expensive. Gallo has raised the price point of Hearty Burgundy ABOVE that of their other jug wines, and no longer bottle it on 3.0L and 4.0L (the former one gallon) sizes. Indeed, while it's still a semi-generic, they no longer consider it a jug wine, per se. That would suggest that the composition is still primarily Zinfandel.

                  Gallo sells their "regular" (as opposed to "Hearty" or "Dry") Burgundy at the same price point as their other jug wines (e.g.: Rhine Wine, Pink Chablis, etc.)

                  Their n.v. Dry Burgundy was first introduced in screw-cap 750ml bottles ONLY, as it was composed of their 1979 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon that Gallo felt wasn't good enough to release as a $50 varietal wine.

                  In the 1960s, Gallo used to purchase one-third of ALL the grapes grown in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Counties. In the 1970s, Gallo pulled out of Napa Valley completely and put their efforts solidly into Sonoma -- with their estate wines and Gallo of Sonoma bottlings the result.

                  1. re: zin1953

                    in 1978-79, i recall that the gallo burgundy i was drinking was sold in a 750 ml size regular wine bottle. it fit in my dorm fridge door. maybe what i was drinking was the "dry burgundy" instead of "hearty" burgundy....that must be it, cause it had a screw cap, but not a jug. i bet it would still taste pretty good.

                    what is closest in the current gallo line to the flavor/varietal profile of the 1979 dry burgundy?

                  2. re: alkapal

                    it wasn't until i was well into my twenties before i even tasted good wine. . .

                    before that e&j gallo produced some stuff called ripple and some other stuff called thunderbird.

            2. I kid you not, the first wine I recall loving was the 1986 Chateau Talbot in 1994. I was 14.

              It has been downhill since.