On November 6 Italian wineries began releasing Vino Novello, or “new wine,” beating the release of Beaujolais Nouveau by a couple of weeks.
I don’t really like the stuff. I’ve always heard that people could tell how the “real” wine would taste for the year by tasting the new wines, and that was the whole purpose of the dreck. I’m glad there’s a better explanation, and it concerns the private production of wine for family use:
No matter how much wine you prepared in March by October, the wine was gone or at significantly low levels. This is just before the season when red wine is a must for all of the hearty foods. Yes, you could introduce white wine but, for most farmers, white wine is for women and children. Placing a white wine on the dinner table just would not be right. Thus, the advent of Vino Novello.
Yes, vino novello seems to be a stop-gap measure to ensure that red wine was always on the table. It only takes 20 days to make, according to David Anderson’s fine article relating the ancient and the new, New Wine – Vino Novello – What is it?
David also points out that not only was the 2007 grape harvest rather poor, due to the unusual summer weather this year, but that the truffle season is barely a season this year, with white truffle prices skyrocketing to $5,500 a pound because of lack of supply.
A double whammy year. Usually when the wine harvest is below par, the truffles are plentiful.