The first twist in this story is that it's actually pretty good. And why not? 8 million bottles sold per year, they must be doing something right.
There's another twist for the oenophile: Ecco Domani is as much the product of one Italian winemaker's vision as it is of Gallo.
Fabrizio Gatto is the only winemaker Ecco Domani has had in its 20-year history. Not only that, he's also the consulting winemaker for La Marca, the top-selling Prosecco in the U.S.
Most wine writers don't consider a winemaker who makes millions of cases of pretty good wine as interesting as those who make 250 cases of eclectic wine. Me, I jumped at the chance to meet Gatto for lunch.
Italians are the most parochial people in the world about food; usually I meet Italian winemakers in Italian restaurants. But this time we met in a little Korean restaurant -- the Gallo PR guy's choice -- and we learned Gatto had never had tofu. "What's this white substance in my noodles?" he asked, even though he had specifically ordered noodles with tofu so he could try it.