After a thoroughly dire and drenching October, we rather feared the worst for November which is – statistically – the wettest month of the year.
But aside from a couple of apologetic little showers as October grudgingly relinquished its soggy hold, the weather’s been absolutely glorious, with day after day of clear blue skies and temperatures around 20C/68F.
Our November guests, who’d decided on Villasfor2 after the usual online search for an Italy villa for couples, were dazzled and delighted – and not just by the sun, for while it’s true that an Abruzzo autumn is nothing if not unpredictable, November rewards your visit with the arrival of the year’s new olive oil, wine and sweet chestnuts.
All over Italy, the year’s Vino Novello is released on November 6. Which craftily gives it a fortnight’s head start over Beaujolais Nouveau. Despite the dire predictions triggered by rain during the grape harvest, the new Montepulciano we’ve tried from our regular favourite everyday cantinas Tollo and Miglianico is delicious. Packed with fruit; soft and gentle.
For a change, we also tried a Primitivo Novello from Puglia, which was heady stuff. And at €4.39, not cheap either. Sadly, taking a leaf out of the Bumper Book of French Greed by noting the prices asked for new Beaujolais, some Abruzzo producers are attempting to cash-in on Vino Novello’s popularity. One, who shall be nameless – oh..OK…Zaccagnini – is charging a whopping €7+ a bottle !
Is it any good ? I haven’t a clue and I’m not paying to find out either, as there are plenty of other less-pricey choices. Vino Novello isn’t made in vast quantities – less than 1% of Italy’s annual output – so it’s hardly exported and is there to be quaffed and enjoyed as a fleeting pleasure. Gone, generally, by the new year.
And what to nibble alongside ? Roast chestnuts. The biggest, sweetest, fattest ones are known as marrone – turned into marrons glaces in France – and they have an incredible affinity with the sweet fruitiness of Vino Novello.
And the oil. The last addition to this wonderful autumn bounty. Picked, pressed and ready. Not a big crop this year – but really excellent quality. A dark gold colour, shot with green. Good unfiltered oil; country bread and a little salt are one of the very finest things to eat and you’ll find a bottle of this same oil, from the olive groves bordering Villasfor2, always waiting for you in your villa.
What better reason to change that web search from an Italy villa for couples to an Abruzzo villa for couples ? November could be a foodie’s best month for an Abruzzo holiday !