“L’estate di San Martino dura tre giorni e un pochino,” the saying goes “St. Martin’s summer lasts three days, and maybe a few more.”
San Martino is traditionally held on the 11th November, and is usually celebrated with two significant harvests; the grapes, producing ‘vino novello’ (new wine of the season) and ‘castagne’ (chestnuts).
Novellos are fermented using whole grapes, it’s brought on by allowing the grapes to begin fermentation directly inside the individual grape berry.
The benefits of the process are that only a tiny percentage of sugar is converted into alcohol. This lack of tannins means that Novello has a short shelf life.
Most Italian wine aficionados are split on how seriously to take Novellos, but other people buy the bottles as part of a seasonal rite.
Wherever you find yourself on November 11th, I hope you are in good company, sipping a glass of good new wine, enjoying the last sun waiting for winter.
Vino Novello e castagne - New wine and chestnuts.