This morning, as I was waking up to NPR, I heard that winemaker Ernest Gallo died yesterday at age 97. In college I became pretty familiar with the Gallo name (Boone's Farm anyone?), and knew that it was created in order to bring inexpensive California wine to a growing market. What I didn't know was that the original Gallo recipe was borrowed from pre-Prohibition pamphlets found in the basement of the Modesto public library. With the recipe under their hat, the brothers (the J stands for Julio who passed away in 1993) rented a rundown building and hoodwinked everyone in their family to make wine for 50 cents a gallon - the going rate at the time was $1.
To celebrate their lifelong legacy, pick up your favorite bottle of E&J and raise a toast in remembrance. The one pictured is their Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a full rich wine with tones of black cherries, spices and currants (it's also light-years away from Boone's Farm).