AZIENDA AGRICOLA ELISABETTA FORADORI
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’
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
Granato is 100% Teroldego. As with all Foradori wines: certified-biodynamic farming; hand harvest; fermentation with indigenous yeasts; minimal sulfur use (not until racking and bottling). Like all of the estate’s reds, the fruit for Granato comes from the Campo Rotaliano plateau, a broad, flat, sunny, well-drained expanse of limestone-and-granite-rich vineyards tucked up at high altitude in the shadow of the Dolomites. That said, several things stand out about Granato. It was Foradori’s first riserva-level Teroldego, first bottled by Elisabetta in 1986 and continuously since then. It comes from the original estate vines, all still pergola-trained, the oldest going back to 1938 and the youngest to 1956 (a parcel totalling 4 hectares). And lastly, it is the most traditional of the special Teroldego bottlings, not amphora-aged like Morei or Sgarzon, but rather in large oak foudres for 15 months; notably, it began as a somewhat internationally-styled wine, aged in French barrique, including some new, but the last vintage to be touched by barrique was 2008. Granato means “garnet” in Italian and is also a reference to the pomegranate or melograno, that fruit having Mediterranean origins like the first grape vines brought to Italy millenia ago; Elisabetta prizes its self-contained beauty, charm and balance, characteristics she associates with her Granato bottling.