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Wine of the Week: Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco

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This bottle's appropriately rustic label design fits with the old-world-Italian feel that Nino Franco's PR people (who sent me the sample) and the winery are going for - which makes sense, since the winery was founded almost 100 years ago.

Prosecco is produced in the Veneto region of Italy - which is also famous for Asiago cheese and the nearly floating capital of Venice. This Prosecco, retailing at $18 a bottle, has with a light, fluttery touch. Made through a process called the "charmat method," in which the wine undergoes a second fermentation in a steel tank rather than in the bottle (bottle fermentation is used in the traditional Champagne method), this Prosecco is meant to be consumed young.

According to the fact sheet accompanying the sample, Prosecco should be "enjoyed more so than it should be studied or pondered," and I couldn't agree more. But all enjoyment aside, I did have a review to crank out, so I did ponder it a bit.

The aroma of fruit was very strong. So fruity, in fact, that at the time (it was NYE post-midnight, just so you know), I could only compare it to the smell of Fruity Pebbles cereal. Luckily, the Prosecco didn't taste like the cereal, but was fresh, herbal and mineral-tinged, with a finish of vanilla. The only gripe I had was the over-carbonation, and that could have been remedied had I allowed some of the bubbles to erupt into the air above the glass instead of taking a swig immediately after pouring. Bubbles, after all, are the sparkle in the sparkling wine, so I don't know what I was expecting.

I didn't get the feeling of sitting in a vineyard overlooking a beautiful bucolic scene of the Italian countryside after taking a sip, but then again, it was New Year's Eve. What I did get was a good, crisp and fruity bottle of Prosecco and a nice, bubbly buzz to start the New Year off.

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