Autumn Traditions

Ciao, novembre!

Autumn in Italia means chestnuts and vino novello. Vino novello, Italian for ‘young wine’, is a light, fruity, red wine produced throughout Italy. It’s a collective term for a series of new autumn wines released onto the Italian market every year in early November. Novello is similar to its French cousin Beaujolais nouveau in taste, body and color, but is produced using several grape varieties with a more liberal fermentation process. It is a wine that is meant to be enjoyed within a couple months (before the following spring) and I believe vendors are supposed to sell their batch of Novello within the first 6 weeks or so of production. Tradition says the first novello should be opened to celebrate San Martino on the 11 November, the day when the farmers typically close their work cycle for the year.

How It’s Made

Italian producers tend to use a range of grape varieties such as Merlot, Sangiovese, Cabernet, Corvina, and Nero d’Avola.

The price of a bottle of Novello typically ranges from 3 to 8 euros…

The technique for producing Novello was invented by French researchers in the 1930’s. They had wanted to find a way of conserving grapes at very low temperatures. By putting the fruit in contact with carbon dioxide they found that the enforced fermentation process rendered the grapes gassy and fizzy. This produced a novel wine, rich in color and with a fresh flavour and intense fruity perfume.

Today, the process is known as carbonic maceration and the uncrushed grapes are placed in sealed vats which are subsequently filled with the carbon dioxide.

In Italy, Vino Novello was only really commercialized from 1975 by Marchesi Antinori.

Novello’s are ideally drunk with light first courses, white meats or fresh cheeses, but also pizza, salumi and, above all, roasted chestnuts. We enjoyed this tradition with a marvelous autumn-inspired feast at Mariella’s restaurant- La Taverna dei Sapori- accompanied with wine tastings. We absolutely adore her and her cooking!

Our dinner menu included:

🍁 Autumn flan with portici mushrooms, ricotta, and pumpkin cream

🍁 Mixed croutons, cold cuts, cheeses, & jams

🍁 Mariella’s chestnut soup with toast!

🍁 Pork shank with reduction sauce & potatoes

🍁 Pepe’s special: roasted chestnuts!

🍁 Chestnut & chocolate cake



Lindsay View All →

Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!

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