100% Manzoni Bianco, an early-20th-century crossing of Riesling and Pinot Bianco. Foradori organically farms and hand-harvests 3 hectares on clay-limestone soils in the Fontanasanta hills above Trento. Aged 8 months in acacia barrel, concrete and clay. The results are yellow apple, white peach, apricot mountain herbs and a stony minerality. The palate is brisk and crisp with lots of length. Delicate and pure, a real joy to sip and linger over.
The Fontanasanta estate in the hills to the east of Trento is a farm which is isolated by forest and watered by the Río Salugo. Its soils are a red earth with white rock: a calcareous clay.
‘Taut, textured pear and nut on the palate. Detailed with some grapiness and lovely fruit purity.’ Jamie Goode 91/100
AZIENDA AGRICOLA ELISABETTA FORADORI, Mezzolombardo
Certified organic by ICEA and Biodynamic by Demeter
Elisabetta Foradori’s grandfather bought (the then bankrupt) estate, based in Mezzolombardo, in 1929, a mere ten years after Italy’s annexation of the province from the defunct Austro-Hungarian empire meant that the traditional markets for the local wines had disappeared.
At first, the wine was sold to local co-operatives, but Elisabetta’s father began bottle and sell their own production. His life was cut tragically short by cancer when Elisabetta was just eleven years old. Nine years later, she had graduated in viticulture and oenology and had taken over the reigns of the estate, albeit more out of a sense of duty than passion. She worked closely with Professor Rainer Zierock, who encouraged her to focus on the local Teroldego Rotaliano rather than the fashionable international varieties. Teroldego from the Rotaliano plain had been singled out for its quality since at least the 14th century, but the prevailing philosophy, post-WW2, was to squeeze maximum yields through clonal selection and an industrial approach to production. She decided to dedicate her work to renewing the genetic diversity of Teroldego and planted as many cuttings as she could.
“A whole variety had to be rebuilt, viticultural practices had to be brought back to quality levels, the soil had to be enriched with life, the plants brought to an equilibrium… I myself have changed with the variety, and I find myself to be a different person, watching and listening to the land and to nature in a different way.” (in an email to The New York Times’ Eric Asimov).
Elisabetta went on to marry Rainer Zierock and they had three children, separating just five years later. He has had a profound impact on her life, both personal and professional. His philosophy “The agrarian culture that respects the soil and its fertility generates a place and a fruit which reflect the harmony between man and nature” is printed on the backs of the bottles.
Teroldego plunges its roots deep into the limestone, granitic and porphyritic rocks of the Campo Rotaliano, a small plain embedded between steep rock faces in Trentino (Northern Italy). It is the intense expression of its land, of its people, of the Dolomites.
“Foradori has selected 15 Teroldego biotypes that she uses for replanting. They are the qualitative “backbone” of her wines. Ensuring a vineyard’s utmost diversity is the best possible guarantee of obtaining great qualitative results. This is the idea behind all of the work that follows in the vineyard, aimed at reaching the variety’s perfect balance thus allowing it to express itself in full and exalt its whole potential and uniqueness.” Les Caves de Pyrene
By 2002, Foradori had garnered international recognition for her work and visionary approach. However, always changing and evolving, she decided to convert the estate to biodynamic viticulture. Seeing the change in the quality and drinkability of her wines, she applied for and received organic and biodynamic certification in 2009. The vineyards cover 28 hectares - 75% of Teroldego, 15% of Manzoni Bianco, 5% of Nosiola and 5% of Pinot Grigio