If you visit Bergamo during November you will have the opportunity to taste Vino Novello, Italy’s new wine, which is bottled shortly after the vendemmia (grape harvest) and made available in the shops, bars and restaurants.
Vino Novello is similar in taste, body and colour to the French Beaujolais Nouveau, which is perhaps more widely known because it is exported to other countries.
A particularly high quality type of Vino Novello is Bardolino Novello, which is produced not far from Bergamo in the area around the resort of Bardolino on Lake Garda.
So, imagine my delight on discovering a Bardolino Novello DOC on sale in a Lidl supermarket in Britain last week.
In the same way as Beaujolais Nouveau, Bardolino Novello is produced using 100 per cent carbonic maceration, which is not the case with all varieties of Vino Novello.
According to the Bardolino wine consortium (Consorzio Tutelavino Bardolino DOC), 100 per cent carbonic maceration is used to ensure the production of an excellent wine.
Because of the cost implication of this, the production of Bardolino Novello tends to be limited to satisfy requests from the larger wine distribution chains and regular clients.
It is not as easy to find Bardolino Novello as other varieties of Vino Novello, even within Italy, so the bottle I purchased from Lidl in Nottingham last week was a rare find indeed.
Rest assured that the wine was delightful, still tasting young, fresh and fruity.
Italy’s Vino Novello is usually launched on 6 November, ten days ahead of Beaujolais Nouveau.
It is recommended that Vino Novello is drunk soon after the bottle is opened and that unopened bottles should be kept only for a few months.
However, the bottle I bought from Lidl for £3.99 was still in perfect condition, despite having travelled and not being opened until 2011. What a great start to the New Year. Salute!