All you ever wanted to know about Teroldego


The entry to the castle of old Mezzolombardo
A recent question about the wine that got me in to a wine; a 1973 Donati Teroldego for those interested, reminded me that I had yet to type up my notes from a Teroldego tasting I organized earlier this year. It was primarily a Foradori Granato vertical, though with several other goodies included.

Teroldego is really a grape defined by a tiny region and as such it has a rather precise and well-documented history. It seems to me that the time is right to try and introduce Teroldego to a broader market here in the USA. Unfortunately not many producers are available, and most of the wines tasted during my dinner are not available, but, with your help, maybe we can change that.

I am fortunate to have been introduced to Teroldego early on in my life. It’s a grape that holds a dear place in my heart, and one that was fundamental in defining my palate. I still love a good bottle of Teroldego, and even a mediocre one now and again. Some might call me sentimental after all.

Trentino is in the northeast of Italy

Teroldego has a long, fascinating, documented history. The oldest known reference to Teroldego, as both a wine and a specific location, dates from the late 1400’s. A contract from January 1480 records a sale that includes two Brentas (a measure of wine equaling 50 liters) of Teroldego. From a document dated 1500 we have learned that there was a piece of land known as Teroldeghe in the outskirts of Mezzolombardo in the Italian province of Trentino, still ground zero for Teroldego production.

Just watching the name, as recorded in documents, evolving over time is an amazing thing, more so when one considers that it begins and ends as Teroldego!
  • Teroldego – 1480
  • Teroldeghe - 1500
  • Vini Teroldeghi – 1673
  • Taroldega – 1811
  • Taroldegh – 1812
  • Teroldica – 1830
  • Teroldico – 1850
  • Teroldegha and Tiroldico – 1876
  • Teroldigo – 1900
  • Teroldega – 1905
  • Teroldego – 1936
  • Terodico – throughout the 1950’s
  • Teroldego – In my memory, which only goes back to the mid 1970’s
There have been many theories as to the origin of the name, that have ranged from the fantastic, (Tiroler + oro = The gold of the Tirol) to the more reasonable, (that it takes it’s name from the tirelle trellising system once used). In reality the story may be much less glamorous, Teroldego may be simply a proprietary name used for a vineyard some 500 plus years ago. In and of itself, that seems to me to be a pretty good story.

The Piana Rotaliana is a broad flood plain north of the city of Trento

This is part one of a three part series

Part One: The History of Teroldego

Part Two: The Geology of the Piana Rotaliana

Part Three: The Genealogy of Teroldego (Coming Soon)

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Liam0972
    229787 3

    I absolutlely love Teroldego. I was just introduced to it this summer and immediately fell in love! It is an amazing wine. I wish it was more readily available in the U.S. I was able to get my hands on one bottle of 2004 from Luna in Napa, Ca., but as I understand it, the vines are no longer available in order for Luna to make the wine. Hopefully, Teroldego will become more popular in the States!! Keeping my fingers crossed!!!!

    Nov 09, 2009 at 4:03 PM

  • Snooth User: Eric Guido
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    92549 198,229

    Great to see that you're getting to this. I was lucky to be at that tasting and enjoyed it immensely. Can't wait to see some more details on these bottles.

    Nov 09, 2009 at 10:36 PM

  • Snooth User: molissuh
    298958 12

    We have 2007 Montevina Teroldego in current release at http://www.terradorowinery.com only $14 a bottle and super yummy! Teroldego fans unite!

    Nov 12, 2009 at 4:51 PM

  • Through the 1960's at least the local name for Teroldego was Sangue di Drago - Dragon's blood - after a local legand about a knight who killed a fierce dragon. There is no mention of whether he married the princess but the drops of blood from the dragon spilled into the Rotiliano plain and from those drops came the first sprouts of Teroldego. You mentioned the Donati 1973: Marco Donati is now the 5th generation of the family to manage the estate on the edge of the Rotiliano plain and make the wines. His grandfather told this tale and still had people asking for Sangue di Drago during the all time he managed the family vineyards.

    Dec 13, 2009 at 11:01 PM

  • Snooth User: rjs022356
    368630 1

    We were just introduced to the Montevina Teroldego at a convention in Colorado Springs, CO. Have since located it at ONE store only in the state of Colorado - Daveco - at $8.99 per bottle. A STEAL!!

    Jan 29, 2010 at 11:56 PM

  • Snooth User: Urban Legend Cellars
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    506798 57

    We can't compete with Terro D' Oro on price but our 2008 Teroldego (Silver 2010 California State Fair) is available from the Winery in Oakland. http://www.ulcellars.com/08teroldeg...

    Jun 20, 2010 at 12:25 PM

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