What happiness to find exactly the style of wine we like in a new grape variety. For me the first choice is usually red wine, light, fresh, and bright. Mountain wines, grown where it is a little cooler. Less sugar, less earth, more pebble and snap.
So with great pleasure, I stumbled upon Foradori, a wine made among the Dolomite mountains, just south of the Austrian border. Elisabetta Foradori grows the teroldego grape — an ancient relative of syrah, named for the arbors which support the vines. The teroldego appears in municipal records over the course of seven centuries. It is profoundly local. Unchecked, it can be too abundant for its own good and produces a lake of cooperative wine. Totally pleasant with sausage, funghi and polenta at a roadside lunch. But Ms. Foradori has long had a different plan, and by limiting production, she increases the intensity and flavor of the wine.
Vineyards are common throughout the Dolomites. They are planted on the floodplains beneath the limestone walls on thin soils built from gravel washed downhill. The limestone cliffs which line the valleys are heat sinks — soaking up the sun in summer and moderating the temperatures at night. The valleys, winding like fingers among the peaks, offer some shelter from the wind and weather.
The Foradori vineyard is located in the Campo Rotaliano — a wedge of land formed by the confluence of the rivers Noce and Adige. The region was swept by floods until the nineteenth century when engineers rerouted the Noce. The water does not come now, but it has left deep beds of alluvial gravel.
We drank the simplest version of Ms. Foradori’s wine. She has more complicated editions, aged in oak. For me, the unmediated expression of the teroldego grape was sufficient. The color is a deep rural purple. Lightly acidic, fragrant, ever so faintly bitter, and very direct.
A little less than $20.