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Page 2, Great Everyday Wines at Great Prices

Prosecco is the delicate, crisp, refreshing, charming, fruity, sophisticated yet casual sparkling wine that Italians sip (occasionally) in the morning, (more regularly in) the afternoon and evening. Traditional in Italy, Prosecco has of late become trendy in the US. Mionetto, one of Italy’s largest Prosecco producers, has a sparkling wine for every purpose.

The mid-priced line includes a frizzante, or lightly sparkling, Prosecco ($14), recommended with appetizers, and a spumante, or fully sparkling one ($15), especially good with shellfish and other seafood. Both are made using grapes from the Valdobbiadine DOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin) region and are extra dry (i.e., slightly sweet), which is how the Italians prefer their Proseccos. There’s also a Prosecco Brut Spumante ($11), which is drier and meant to appeal to American tastes. It pairs well with antipastos.

Mionetto’s IL line of sparkling wines comes in four versions. The basic one — the only true Prosecco because it’s made with Prosecco grapes — is a fine aperitif and good with light cuisine. It’s perfect in Bellinis, the signature drink of Venice, and other cocktails. The Rosé, made primarily from Raboso grapes, pairs well with shellfish and other seafood. The Moscato works as well with spicy Indian and Thai food as it does with dessert. The new Il Rosso, made primarily from Marzemino grapes, is splendid with chocolate. At just $11 a bottle or $7 for a half-bottle, they’re quite affordable.

Mionetto’s bubblies are wonderful party wines and wonderful house sparklers. They’re lighter in body than Champagne and lower in alcohol. And terribly easy to sip all day long.

Bottom line:
Delightful Proseccos and sparkling wines that deserve to be better known in the US. (,

There are many good-value wineries in Chile, but Concha y Toro stands out. Founded in 1883 by Marquis Don Melchor de Concha y Toro, luck initially paid a part in the winery’s success. One of Don Melchor’s first moves was to replant his vineyards with French vinifera vines just before many vineyards around the world were decimated by the plant louse phylloxera. Today it’s not luck but good management that makes Concha y Toro a Chilean powerhouse. Because it’s Chile’s largest producer, it can use economies of scale that others can’t. If you add excellent winemakers, state-of-the-art facilities, topnotch vineyard sites and more than 120 years experience in the region, you’ve got a great formula for good-value, first-class wines.

Concha y Toro offers six ranges of wines. Three fall in the $15-and-under category. The basic selections include the Fronteras, at $6 a bottle, and Xploradors, at $8. The Casilleros del Diablo are $9. Marqués de Casa Conchas, single-vineyard, estate-bottled wines, have a suggested retail price of $16 but can often be found for less. While the Marqués wines are a little more complex, aged longer and made with slightly better grapes, all these tiers offer eminently worthwhile wines at eminently affordable prices. Varietals to look for include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère, a Bordeaux red grape variety that today is rare outside Chile.

Bottom line: A treasure trove for value-wine lovers. (

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©2005 Sharon Kapnick for SeniorWomenWeb
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