2018 Montinore Estate, Teroldego, Willamette Valley, Oregon.
The 2018 Montinore Estate Teroldego is a dark, almost inky, red wine with loads of spice and mineral charm, along with a firm nature and a taut tannic core, it shows remarkable depth and tension, making for a very impactful wine, completely unexpected from the Willamette Valley. The Montinore Estate Teroldego vines were planted in the Willamette Valley’s Tualatin Hills area using cuttings from Italy’s leading Teroldego grower, Elizabetta Foradori (see below), a favorite of mine, who wines are the world’s best versions of this unique Dolomite grape. Like Foradori’s efforts, Montinore uses all organic and biodynamic methods to farm their grapes and their Teroldego is a quality effort that delivers a medium to full bodied palate of blackberry, plum, cherry and currant fruits along with dried herbs, cut tobacco leaf, a touch of meatiness and hints of incense and walnut wood. This briery wine needs food, much the same as its cusins in Alto Adige, to cut into its tannin and its fine natural acidity, only then does it allow its beautiful side and true complexity to reveal itself, which it does very nicely, this is impressive stuff. I would guess, a gentle extraction and cool maceration was used with de-stemed berries and a lengthy elevage in French oak was employed with maybe a touch of new wood, though I admire the purity and transparency shown in this 2018 vintage. Winemakers Stephen Webber and Chris Brack, mostly known for the winery’s highly regarded Pinots, have done a fabulous job here with their Teroldego and as a Foradori fan, I must say this very exciting, especially since I hadn’t known the grape had been introduced to Oregon!

The mysterious deeply colored Teroldego grape, as I’ve noted before in my writings, is an ancient varietal that seems to ideally suited to the picturesque landscape of Italy’s Dolomite region and is almost unknown outside of its native Alto Adige, though now found in Oregon, and was first mentioned in documents back in the 1300s, and like Lagrein, which Montinore Estate also has, and is again found almost entirely in this remote mountainous part of Italy’s Sud Tirol. In an effort to get the best of the Teroldego grape in its native land Elisabetta Foradori, the region’s most famous winemaker using the varietal, has created plantings that include fifteen diverse clones that provides Foradori with better genetic selections and has given 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 Noir, though also maybe linked to old grapes from the far East, it is most likely it was a natural crossing of grapes, with some European wild vines and vines that came from as far away as Georgia and or as close as Croatia. When done right this grape can be truly profound and this Montinore Estate version is a fantastic effort and shows big potential, I am grateful for being shown this wine, which I had no idea existed, and I will be following their Dolomite inspired reds, and all of Montinore’s efforts closely in the coming years! Montinore Estate, who’s roots go way back with the vineyards first harvest coming in 1986, is owned by Rudy Marchesi, who first came here in 1998, converted to organic farming and led Montinore towards biodynamic certification which happened by Demeter in 2008 and the reputation, of this winery, has grown dramatically.
($50 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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