Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vigneti delle Dolomiti

For Easter weekend we drove up to the Dolomites, the Italian Alps.  We stayed in the Alto Adige region and on our way up we stopped at a few wineries in the Campo Rotaliano area. Here the native grape Teroldego is king, and it is one of my favorites. (Though I do say that about all the wines!) Even though it is very far north, the red grape Teroldego does very well here. The sandy plains of the Rotaliano help the grapes to fully ripen and the tarry, berry fruit to come through. Since it was a holiday weekend, we weren’t able to visit too many places, but the highlight of the day was Foradori. A family estate run by Elisabetta Foradori, they are known for making THE Teroldego, called Granato. This is their flagship wine and a bit pricey at 38 euros at the winery, but it is worth it with seductive  berry and spicy notes and a strong yet balanced structure. It can also be aged a long time. The entry-level wine, called simply Foradori, is much more affordable at only 13.50 at the winery and still has plenty of finesse.
We had no appointment but we were lucky to happen upon La Signora Foradori, la mamma di Elisabetta. She could tell we were wine lovers, so she was kind enough to show us around their beautiful winery, including the new cellar where Elisabetta is experimenting with amphora! Having practiced biodynamic techniques for awhile, she is following a few maveric producers such as Gravner by returning to the way wine was very likely first made in Ancient Gerogia. While the Georgians would have fermented whites and reds along with their skins in clay amphora buried up to their necks as a form of temperature control, at Foradori the amphora are kept in a cool room (above ground!).  While it seems unlikely she can to improve upon the Granato, I always appreciate experimentation and it will be interesting to see the results.

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