Vino Novello, Italian for ‘young wine’, is a light, fruity, red wine produced throughout Italy. Novello is similar to its French cousin Beaujolais Nouveau in taste, body and color, but is produced using multiple grape varieties with a more liberal fermentation process. Novello is officially released for sale November 6. Vino Novello is lightweight with low alcohol content (usually not more than 11 or 12%) and with sweet and fruity aromas.
The wine is made to be drunk young, Novello does not have tannins. In some places in Italy, tradition says the last day to consume Novello is “I Giorni della Merla”, the days of the blackbird, said to be the coldest day of the year (29th-31st January), but the wine can be drunk right through the spring if one chooses.
Vino Novello is made from a different process than normal red wines, called Carbonic Maceration. Although many experts criticize the process, Carbonic maceration is a technique of wine making by accelerating the fermentation process, developed in France in the ’30s. The grapes are placed in large barrels or vats. They are then closed off and the oxygen is eliminated by pumping in CO2. The natural yeast migrate from the skin of the grapes into the pulp looking for water and oxygen and the fermentation takes place. The fermentation process for producing Novello is about 20 days. The whole bunches are placed within a designated 50 to 70 hl tubs, in which after producing a vacuum of air is blown CO2 at 30 degrees Celsius for 7–14 days. The clusters that are located on the bottom of the tanks are crushed by the mass of grapes and release the juice. Yeasts indigenous to the pulp from the peel migrate in search of oxygen and water, triggering a process of intracellular fermentation. At the end of the cycle, the ‘red wine’ is slightly crushed and further fermented for 3-4 days. The minimum alcohol content is 11%, the deadline for bottling is 31 December of the same vintage year.