A little-known small family-owned winery in California (you probably haven’t even heard of them) E&J Gallo has confirmed they’ve added Tuscany’s Brancaia label to their portfolio. The label was formally part of the Hess Collection
The Brancaia portfolio includes Brancaia Tre, a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; Brancaia Chianti Classico; Brancaia Ilatraia, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Petite Verdot; and Brancaia Il Blu, a blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wines range in price from around $40 up through $85 a bottle.
Brancaia production is less than than 10,000 cases in the U.S. per year and has earned 23 90+ scores from Wine Spectator over the years, including scores of 96 for both the 2003 and 2007 vintages of Ilatraia, as well as the 2004 Toscana Il Blu.
A wise move, I feel.
Gallo already have Ecco Domani, Maso Canali, Da Vinci and Bella Sera, but with those wines certainly being more “entry-level” in nature, there’s no doubt that the Brancaia acquisition will help to strengthen the credibility of their Italian portfolio.
It may come as a surprise to most people to learn that I’m actually quite a fan of Gallo, but maybe it’s for the wrong reasons…
Gallo makes good wine, and there should be no doubt about it. They own and operate so many different labels all over the world, that for the most part I think most people don’t even know they’re drinking Gallo wine 99% of the time!
People have come to associate Gallo with jug wines, but I will tell you that in my former life (as a restaurant manager) I put together quite a few blind tastings / wine dinners featuring Gallo wines, but only told the guests the names of the wines, and not that they were necessarily Gallo. The nice thing is that I’ll always have the bewildered expression on their faces (once they found out all the wines were Gallo) to look back on! That awkward moment when you discover the wine you just fell in love with is a Gallo brand…