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I was, at first, reluctant to buy a Gallo wine. After all, I can still remember Orson Welles hawking Gallo's jug wines in those old 1970s commercials, droning on about how they "sell no wine before its time." But the truth is that Gallo has done a great job over the past decade or so in salvaging their reputation. They actually own several other wineries (such as Rancho Zabaco) that put out excellent product, and they've started to put out some pretty good wine under their own name. Plus, this was only about $10.

This is a nice wine. A healthy, dark red, it is showing a little brickish fading, but it still seemed vibrant. The straightforward aroma was dominated by spice, primarily black pepper but also something perhaps approaching cloves. It offered nice, full bodied flavors of spicy cherry and smoke, topped off with just a splash of tannin. The finish could have been longer, but it was pleasant enough. The wine perhaps could have stood a bit more from the acid angle for better balance, but that's just my personal take.

One caveat: this wine has an alcohol content of 14.5%, the highest I've ever had in a table wine. You must chill it somewhat prior to drinking (not a lot) to keep the alcohol from overwhelming your taste experience.

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