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A Wine Lover's Weekly Guide To $10 Wines - An Italian Vino Novello 2009

It's that time of year. Many businesses are finally going into the black. If you live in that part of the world, winter is almost knocking at the door. And the new wines are here. Back in the 1930s France organized what was to become an extraordinarily successful marketing campaign Beaujolais Nouveau. Over the years the popularity of such wines has considerably declined, but millions of people still enjoy such wine or the accompanying festivities. This article reviews an Italian new wine coming from the Alto Adige - Trentino region of northeastern Italy. A companion article reviews a more expensive French Beaujolais Nouveau Villages.

New wine relies on a special production process, carbonic maceration, in which whole grapes ferment in a stainless steel tank in the presence of carbon dioxide. The resultant wine has no tannins, so it won't keep. Easter is pretty well the limit. By the way, with traditional production methods the Teroldego is quite tannic.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Mezzacorona Novio Vino Novello 2009 12.0% about $9.50 Because the supplier did not include any marketing materials I'll quote the back label. "Produced from Teroldego and Lagrein grapes of its own production cultivated at the foothills of the Dolomites. Ruby red color, fruity bouquet with hints of ripe berries. It pairs well with braised meats, smoked [cold] cuts, quiches. Perfect with chestnuts. Serve at 16 - 18º C (61 - 64º F)". And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was almost chewy and pleasantly sweet. The first pairing was with sweet and sour chicken wings, chicken hamburgers accompanied by a tomato, onion, lime, and cilantro salsa, and potatoes roasted in chicken fat. With the wings the wine tasted of dark cherries but it seemed raw. The potatoes made the wine seem harsh, but the black cherries were still there. When facing the dry hamburgers that were doused with the salsa, the wine was rounder and softened somewhat but still seemed harsh.

The next meal consisted of a slow-cooked beef stew with soft wheat kernels. The wine tasted unripe. There were dark cherries but this Vino Novello was short and slightly harsh. A spicy green jalapeno pepper sauce had no effect.

The final meal was a packaged eggplant rolatini including tomatoes, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese that I slathered with grated Parmesan. The wine's acidity was harsh; it did not mesh with the tomato's acidity. This Vino Novello was grapey. On the upside, there was a positive sweetness.

Prior to the traditional two cheeses I had some homemade roasted eggplant with lots of garlic. The powerful tasting eggplant simply drowned out this wine. The first cheese was a brick. Even this weak cheese proved to be stronger than this Vino Novello, which had a tinge of grapiness. The final pairing was with a Swiss cheese. Now the wine had some taste; it was grapey.

Final verdict. Can you guess? Enjoy the new wine festivities. And don't worry too much about the "wine."


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Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but frankly prefers drinking fine German or other wine, accompanied by the right foods and the right people. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. Check out his wine website http://www.theworldwidewine.com with a weekly column reviewing $10 wines and new sections writing about (theory) and tasting (practice) organic and kosher wines.