Napa Valley's Robert Mondavi Winery and the Frescobaldi family, one of the top producers in the Tuscany region of Italy, are set to release two more joint venture wines--a Pinot Grigio and a Sangiovese bottled under the Danzante label.
The Mondavis and Frescobaldis already make two other Sangiovese-based blends: the high-profile Luce (pronounced "loo-chay"), made from grapes grown at Frescobaldi's Castel Giocondo estate in the village of Montalcino in Tuscany, and Lucente, which comes from various vineyard sources in Tuscany. Neither comes cheap. The '95 Luce (93 points) is $63, while the '95 Lucente (85) is $26.
In contrast, Danzante (which means "dancing" in Italian) is made from grapes grown outside Tuscany, purchased from independent sources. The Pinot Grigio comes from the Venezia region, while the Sangiovese is from the Marche region. There's also a big difference in price: The Danzante wines will cost about $10 a bottle, according to Mondavi spokeswoman Nancy Light. She explained that Danzante is targeted to compete with other similarly priced and popular wines, such as Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio and Gallo's Ecco Domani line of wines.
Danzante will be sold in the United States beginning in April. About 40,000 cases each of the '98 Pinot Grigio and the '97 Sangiovese will be released, according to Light. Total production is expected to grow to 200,000 cases in 10 years. As with Luce and Lucente, winemaking will be overseen by Tim Mondavi and Lamberto Frescobaldi.
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