As many of you might know I am half Italian, with family that comes from the province of Trentino in northern Italy. It’s where the seeds for my love for wine were originally planted, and there are plenty of fabulous wines produced there. Though little of it finds it’s way to our shores. That is slowly changing but the truth is there is only so much ground that we can make up.
Consider that the overwhelming majority of table wine produced in Trentino comes from a pair of large, albeit quite good companies and that the production of Trento DOC, the local Metodo Classico Spumante that we rarely see, contributes to pushing the production to nearly 65% white wine.
You’d think we’ve had seen all that Trentino has to offer.
Of course the truth is more complicated. This is a region of astoundingly high quality wines that get gobbled up by the domestic market, to a certain extent, as well as visitors from the north, who have historically driven down through the Brenner Pass on their way to summer destinations in the Dolomiti mountains and on the glorious shores of Lake Garda. The trunks of those cars tend to sit decidedly lower as the visitors return to points north. If not for them we might see more of these delicious wines here with greater frequency.
What follows is a bit of an indulgence, wines from just three producer focused primarily on the local starring red, Teroldego. But please forgive me this indulgence as Teroldego is my epiphany grape, and these three producer are doing some terrific stuff with the variety and are worthy of your attention, even if finding the wines is a constant struggle.
Teroldego is a terrific grape, and one that is being planted with some intensity in California, and from what I understand Australia as well. It produces darkly colored wines that are relatively light on tannin, with juicy acids supporting dark and tart fruit flavors with hints of game and herb. While the color of Teroldego tends to be quite dark, its character in the mouth is one of transparency. That is it reveals its terroir quite clearly and nowhere is there better terroir for Teroldego than within the Piano Rotaliano region that it calls home.
This narrow flood plain, bounded on both sides by imposing cliffs and the foothills of the Alps, has a loose alluvial soil layered over meters of glacial debris and river stones. All of that rocky matter imparts a fine minerality, and firm, crisp tannins to the wines that are grown here. They really are unique and while Teroldego may not be as age worthy or complex as some of the most appreciated wines of the world, they are delightfully engaging, easy to pair with food, and offer the wine lover a chance to experience something new while staying very much within the classic red wine paradigm.
For more information on Teroldego please check out: Teroldego