2018 Foradori, Teroldego, Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige, Italy.
Elisabetta Foradori is one of Italy’s greatest vignerons and a leading light in the world of what we call natural wine and her signature Teroldego bottlings some of the country’s most sought after and prized wines, with even this, her entry level or basic version of this unique varietal being a fabulous effort and this 2018 vintage is a classic version of this dark and intriguing grape. Elisabetta, who took over her family’s estate at a young age after the unexpected death of her father, focuses on holistic and biodynamic farming and her estate has become a total sustainable farm and regenerative with a deep respect of the land and environment which honors the land and history of the region of Trentino in the high elevation wine zone of the Italian Alps. Over her winemaking career, Foradori has explored her techniques and styles, which have evolved over the last decade and she fine tuned how she approaches her wines with the wines relying less on small barriques and new oak and employing indigenous yeast and whole cluster fermentations and using special amphora for some of the wines. The deep purple and dark crimson 2018 Foradori Teroldego Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT Rosso was spontaneously fermented from all hand harvested 100% Teroldego grapes and saw mostly de-stemmed berries with a limited amount of full bunches sourced from estate vines set ion the sandy soils and Dolomitic limestone in the Campo Rotaliano area with a small portion still farmed in the historical pergola-trained method. This bottling, the main wine of the winery, which has been produced at Foradori since 1960, was raised in a combination of cement tanks and used oak foudres for just about year, and was made to express varietal character, purity and transparency of the Teroldego without any additional sulphites being used in the winemaking process and only sees a tiny dose just before bottling to guarantee freshness and stability for shipping.
This latest release shows a subtle floral bouquet and a fine mineral element to go along with elegant layers of racy red fruits, a dusting of spices and a supple textural mouth feel on the medium bodied palate of this 2018 vintage that delivers wild plum, vine picked and brambly raspberry, tangy currant and big cherry fruit that is accented with mountain herbs, minty anise, crushed stones, a touch of earthiness and as well as a bright burst of natural acidity that keeps everything taut and fresh. This is a wine that loves food and gets significantly better when paired with matching cuisine, but provides good companionship with pasta dishes and or pizza, which I had it with this time around. The opulent and ripe tannin is present, though never aggressive, leaving an impression of silkiness and it has a lovely lingering aftertaste. The Teroldego grape is an ancient varietal that seems to be only suited to this picturesque landscape and is almost unknown outside of its native Alto Adige and was first mentioned in documents back in the 1300s, and like Lagrein, which is also found almost entirely in this remote mountainous part of Italy. In an effort to get the best of the Teroldego grape Foradori has created plantings that include fifteen diverse clones that provides Foradori with better genetic selections and more depth of flavors in this rare grape. The recent use of DNA mapping of grape varietals has shown that Teroldego has distant relationship to Syrah and Pinot, though also maybe linked to the far East, most likely it was a natural crossing of grapes with some European wild vines and vines that came from as far as Georgia and as close as Croatia. Foradori’s efforts (in clonal diversity) have reduced yields and berry size as well as having a heightened aromatic quality, all of which give her wines their beauty, concentration and complexity. It’s always a treat to drink Foradori’s Teroldego wines, especially this one that offers such a great value, though I must say her whites are easily just as compelling with her Manzoni Bianco and Nosiola Bianco both being stunning, as well as the Fuoripista, the “orange” version of Pinot Grigio. If you’ve not tried any of the Foradori wines, now is a great time to explore them, with Elisabetta’s latest Teroldego being a sublime starting point.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive