Only the Essential
2010 Foradori Teroldego Sgarzon
Purity, Detail, Originality
"Elisabetta Foradori continues to set a very high bar in Trentino and the rest of Italy, for that matter. " -Antonio Galloni
The fact that Elisabetta Foradori has been able to take the obscure grape Teroldego grown in the obscure Trentino region and make it one of Italy's iconic wines is a serious accomplishment.
Teroldego is a fascinating grape combining seemingly disparate elements of density with alpine freshness, berry fruit and florality with savory notes of leaves, underbrush, tar and sandalwood.
Last year, Eric Asimov paid tribute to the grape highlighting Foradori's work, which can be found here.
While there was no denying Foradori's wines in the past, recently her wines have reached a new level of purity of expression that I've found particularly captivating.
This is especially true of her single-vineyard bottling, Sgarzon in 2010. Sgarzon is a cooler site with sand and gravel soils. Foradori has long known that this vineyard produced distinctive wines. In fact, a few years ago I attended an old Teroldego tasting (one of the more obscure tastings that I've taken part in) and the two best wines that night were both Foradori's Sgarzon.
Foradori's career chronicles perseverance, constant striving, rethinking how things are done, and most recently, an effort to strip away everything that's not essential.
The history here is fascinating and relevant enough to merit covering briefly. Elisabetta Foradori's father passed away when she was just past her teenage years and she was suddenly left in charge of the family domaine. At the time, industrial winemaking dominated. Foradori worked tirelessly to replant vines that produced quality and not quantity and pursue making great wines first.
In the process, which included converting to biodynamics, Foradori found herself increasingly pursuing a style of wine that was more immediate in how it presented the uniqueness of the Teroldego grape and where it's grown.
This led her not only to back off her use of oak, but also to pursue the use of amphoras for some of her wines, like Sgarzon, to explore a less obstructed representation of terroir. Sgarzon spends 8 months macerating in amphora and then, another two months in old barrels.
So, what's Sgarzon like? If Foillard made Teroldego, I imagine it would be something like this. (Foradori happens to be an admirer of Beaujolais, so this is probably not an accident.) The texture here is pretty amazing. Teroldego's tannins are present, for sure, but in a way that's suave, silky and long. There's clarity here, too, that's impressive. Layers of flowers, dark cherries, black berries, spice and dark minerality are presented subtly and with precise detail.
I find Foradori's evolution fascinating for a number of reasons: First, it's very nice to see a famous winemaker continuing to rethink how things are done. It's also heartening to see some of the more extreme and marginal elements, like using amphora, in wine begin to cause established producers to consider different ways of carrying out their craft.
This is all to say that Foradori's Sgarzon is a success. The wine is food friendly, easy to drink and fascinating. Tracking the wine over the three years should be a unique thrill.
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Crush Wine & Spirits