Eight commercial Italian vini novelli (red wines prepared by carbonic maceration and supposed to be consumed within three months from their wine-making) were evaluated for their total antioxidant activity. The wines had an average total phenol content (1605.4 +/- 337.4 mg/L gallic acid equivalents) lower than that of wines prepared by traditional maceration and consumable after aging (2057.3 +/-524.0 mg/L gallic acid equivalents). The average flavanol content (424.7 +/- 121.3 mg/L catechin equivalents) and the total antioxidant activity (16.8 +/- 3.8 mmol/L Trolox equivalents) of vini novelli were higher than the corresponding values (382.7 +/- 174.5 mg/L catechin equivalents and 12.3 +/-3.3 mmol/L Trolox equivalents) found for aged wines. Three couples of experimental wines were prepared from the same grapes by traditional or carbonic maceration. These wines showed a different phenolic pattern, anthocyanins being more abundant in vini novelli. However, the average total antioxidant activities of the wines were similar, suggesting that aging (and not the wine-making technique) is the main factor influencing the antioxidant activity of red wines.
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