Once popular Novello holiday wine close to extinction in the Castelli region of Italy: restaurants no longer ask for it.
The fashion for the Novello wines, which traditionally opened the winter sales season in wineries in November, is over. In the last fifteen years, the production of bottles in the Castelli Romani region and Lazio has fallen by 90%.
The novello, which was generally marketed from the first days of this month, is a sparkling product, young, full of aroma and made with the technique of carbonic maceration and without aging. It has a fruity flavor and low alcohol content.
The product was consumed from now until Christmas, and was ideal with chestnuts, meat and autumn menus. Years ago there was a real boom in Novello wine, inspired by trends in foreign imports. Many producers now seem to have deluded themselves that they had found a substantial source of income immediately after the harvest season, leading up to the holidays.
But now the crisis has practically killed the sector. The region, in order to market this type of wine, especially popular amongst young people, had founded the Institute of Novello Wine, which now has no reason to exist due to the decrease in production.
Castelli Romani is the DOC title for wines from the hills just southeast of Rome, and one of Italy’s largest wine production areas. “In the Castelli region,” says Luigi Caporicci, president of Cantine Gotto D'Oro di Marino “the production of novello wine barely reaches 70,000 bottles. In its golden days , 800,000 bottles were produced. To maintain the tradition we have put on the market a good quality product that we sell only to our customers". Mauro Volpetti, owner of a winery in Ariccia in the Colli Albani area, however, is convinced that "the Novello wine is finished because of erroneous advertising that considered this product unstructured and of secondary value".
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Wine expert Arianna Colaiocco from the Cantina Sociale di Cerveteri explains: "Once again this year, very small quantities of excellent novello wine were produced. The crisis of agriculture is general. The wineries are almost all suffering, beyond the individual products. We would need incentives from the Lazio Region to support a sector that is suffering for various reasons and not least for the closure of many restaurants".
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According to Mauro Volpetti, we must also consider that "the novello is required for only 2 months. Many restaurateurs do not want to take risks and buy few quantities of this wine". Usually the novello is sold in wine shops. There is also a market in large organized distribution, where the lion's share is made by the labels of northern Italy and France. Restaurants are ordering no more batches of novello, especially now.
The cost of a medium quality novello varies from 3.5 euros to 6 euros per bottle.