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Mionetto Novello 2004

From Italy, a competitor to Beaujolais Nouveau Will the nice, easy-to-drink wine be the new in thing to know about?

By Simone Zarmati Diament

The French have the Beaujolais Nouveau, that young, uncomplicated wine, straight from the vines to the bottle, and from the bottle to the rest of the world. The tradition has begun to fade among jaded French, but Americans love to celebrate. And celebrate they do, when the wine arrives at midnight, usually to the toot of sirens from police motorcades. Does it taste good? No one really cares if it tastes like bubble gum, if it's watery or too acid, as long as they're part of the reveling.

So why should the Italians stay behind? This year, they have come up with the "Mionetto Novello 2004," a young red Beaujolais Nouveau-styled wine from Italy's foremost producer of Prosecco which arrived to the US on November 16, 2004, just in time for the holiday season.

Novello, means "new" in Italian, and the label - a chick hatching -illustrates the concept. The young, light and fruity wine with a plastic blue cork is a blend of 50% Merlot from the Veneto and 50% Corvina from Valpolicella, it is made by the same yeast-free carbonic maceration process than Beaujolais Nouveau. The result is a fresh and fruity red wine that easily complements the traditional foods of the holidays. It is meant to drink young, but ages well up to ten months.

The suggested retail price is $9.99.

"This year, the climate and weather were very favorable and brought the grapes to the correct ripeness, both for the color of the skins and the balance between sweetness and acidity," said Sergio Mionetto, Master Vintner, Mionetto Wines. "The result is a bright ruby red wine blended from Merlot and Corvina grapes that recalls the flavors of blueberries and golden apples with shades of cherries and grass, all enhanced by its freshness."

Founded in 1887 by Francesco Mionetto on the hillsides of Valdobbiadene north of Venice, the winery specializes in prosecco, the sparkling white wine. The Mionetto portfolio includes frizzante, spumante, and Cartizze proseccos, as well as Pinot Grigio, Raso Chiaro (Chardonnay and Pinot Nero grapes), and Raso Scuro (Cabernet and Teroldego grapes).

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