Nouveau from Italy

One of the things oft-repeated by pushers of Bardolino is how similar to Pinot Noir it is. I personally did not find the comparison terribly justified–neither in young or significantly-aged versions–as Corvina just doesn’t hit too many pinot-esque notes for me. But burgeoning wine regions seeking to make their mark in world marketing will always compare, so let them pigeon-hole as they see fit. There are similarities I *suppose*, and most wine-consumers trying an unknown variety will relish psychological leading, I prefer to let it stand on its own. But–and where I’m heading with this on today: Third Thursday–it is a fun bit of marketing that they took another swipe at Burgundy, and produced a nouveau–or in their case: NOVELLO. I don’t know how long they have been doing this, but they sent me some and–being that Beaujolais Nouveau is in fairly short supply in the US this year–I’m drinking one tonight.

My feelings on Bojo-Novo are well-documented, but rather than remind you of all that, let’s talk about THIS wine, because it’s pretty exciting. Perfectly transparent pink-ruby in the glass, a rosy glow of lightness I haven’t seen in a wine before. Pungent carbonic green-stemmy nose of dark strawberry, green banana and blueberry. A decidedly soapy nuance was strong on first swirls, but blows off with plentiful air.

You can’t wait to taste it, as there are no place-marks. Sweet, juicy entry, GOBS of rich berry in a thick elixir tinged with fermentational edge. The fruit goes bitter and black over the middle, where stemminess picks up the fight. Charming sweet lollipop never takes a breath throughout, as compelling in the finish as the initial attack. Shockingly concentrated and completely ‘un-weird’, it is NOT Gamay–and not even pretending to be. There ARE comparisons visible, but I won’t stretch your imagination with such foolhardiness. This is a ridiculously good wine and I wish EVERYBODY could try it. Especially those allergic to Beaujolais Nouveau!

As an aside, I think brilliant marketing is at play in how they have done their labels. The front labels are all the same, proclaiming “BARDOLINO NOVELLO” prominently, with the winery a byline below. I really like this concept, and how it markets this tiny, seasonal, niche market.

2021 COSTADORO ‘Novello’ Corvina/Rondinella/Molinara 80/10/10 Bardolino Classico DOC Italy 12.3

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