Vino Novello. The autumnal wine
Italians love wine, that’s common knowledge. What’s a little less known is their seasonal affair with il novello, or “young wine”. That’s a special type of wine that’s only sold between November 6th and the last day of the year, with some analogies with the much better known Beaujolais nouveau from France. It is light in alcohol content (no more than 11%), very fruity due to the lack of tannins and pretty light – so much that with a pun on the ‘novello’ word (literally: ‘new’, but also ‘young’) it is also said to be a wine for kids.
Novello wine uses the same production technique of its French counterpart, invented in the 1930s. The uncrushed grapes are set in a special vat saturated with carbon dioxide that speeds up fermentation: this makes the wine fizzy and colorful. Differently from Beaujolais, however, novello can be made with about sixty different types of grapes, only seven of which are grown outside of Italy. The major varieties are twelve, but it is easy to imagine the range of flavors novello can gain, and why enthusiasts race each other to find and collect the best variations of the year.