A colleague recently suggested that I find a wine that you can buy when you're in a place where...there just isn't that much wine. Like a liquor store that's more about...liquor. Or even maybe a gas station that sells wine.
Luckily, there is no truly bad wine out there anymore. Certain wines may not float your boat as well as others, but you can usually feel pretty comfortable with most wines being fruity, flavorful, and aromatic. So when it comes to the tough question posed by my colleague, you can focus on brand.
And why not make that brand Gallo? Probably the best-known name in California wine, Gallo has a very broad portfolio. Yes, it still makes Hearty Burgundy. But there are plenty of other wines that you can find, just about everywhere. One of these is the Gallo Family Vineyards brand.
Gallo produces a Chardonnay with this label that I've always liked. It's boilerplate California Chardonnay: fruity, fairly rich, with a dollop of oak and a splash of creaminess. It also sells for about $12-13. Not the cheapest. But it tastes, to my palate, more expensive than it is.
So if you find yourself somewhere where there isn't much wine, look for it. You won't be disappointed.
And if you can't find it? Well, Hearty Burgundy is actually quite decent.