This review covers Inglenook's California Classic Burgundy in the 1.5 liter bottle.
Recommend this product?
Let me first state that I've tried a lot of expensive, middle, and cheap wines. What I can say is that price is not indicative of what you're getting.
This wine is just fine. Like any red, it's a little hard on the palette on the first glass, but after that, to me anyway, there's not a whole lot of difference among reds. The Classic Burgundy, at $5.39 for the last several years, is a typical heavy wine. It has legs (clear drips running down the glass) as any good burgundy should. The taste is unsophisticated. If you're looking for hints of delightful mint, traces of ripe mango, aftertastes of playful berries, you should probably sip (and only sip) expensive wines. Those hints, traces, and aftertastes are for those who discriminate and may imagine that discrimination.
If you're looking for a good table wine at a good price, this wine is consistently OK. Versus the competition at this price level, you have some pretty bad wines like Livingston and Carlo Rossi. Those have consistently bad tastes throughout the drinking experience. Inglenook is just good.
I have taste-tested this wine vs. more expensive brands like Mad Housewife, Gallo, Concha y Toro, 120, Santa Rita, and even Arbor Mist. The hands-down winner every time is Arbor Mist... but that's not even a wine! It's a soft drink with a hint of alcohol! That goes to show that the supposed quality of the wine does not always sync with the (mainstream) consumer preference.
To my mind, this wine is OK. It's cheaper than the other Inglenook red "flavors" (Merlot, Cabernet) and it tastes exactly the same. I have been told that this is a good "drinking" wine... huh. If you don't plan to drink the wine you're buying, that gives me pause.
Versus white, few will like this wine. Time and again white wins out over red because white is sweet (as is Arbor Mist). I don't like sweet. I prefer savory. If you're the same, you'll like this wine as well but your friends will likely like it "cut". This is a wine - not a mixer - but still many people like it mixed with Coke or Pepsi. Ack. What can I say? Maybe I need new friends?
You can get better wines, of course, but to get something noticeably better, you need to up the price to about $15 for a 750 liter bottle (standard size and half the size of this wine). At that price level you should find "complications" like the hints, traces, etc., and beyond that price level you should be uttering ridiculous words like "playful", "intriguing", and "fragrant".
Let's be frank. If you are buying a 1.5 liter bottle, you are not buying to impress - you're buying for the alcohol content, the fact of having a decent wine to serve, the ability to serve wine at a party, etc.
You are buying something above "box wine"... and to be honest, box wine is not necessarily bad... it's the packaging. If you've traveled a bit, you'll know that many of the favorite table wines like 120 and Concha y Toro are boxed outside the US and packaged even in juice-boxes! Yet we are still so package-conscious here in the US that we think box wine is somehow bad. Hmm.
If you want to impress, go ahead and buy something more expensive. I challenge you to a blind taste test though. Most people cannot distinguish between a cheap and expensive wine.
That being said, if you're hosting a wine party, your sophisticated friends just might (mabye?) be able to tell. Have a little fun with them... serve Inglenook Classic Burgundy anonymously. See who can tell!
I have no complaints. This is an OK wine that can be "cut" if friends prefer without raising your ire and your fussy friends won't notice after a drink or two.
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Winery Name: Inglenook
Varietal: Red Blend
Designation: Classic Burgundy
State or Region: CA
County or Appellation: USA
Wine Rating Scale: A solid performer