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Elisabetta Foradori is the undisputed champion of Teroldego, an ancient black grape variety native to her home region of Trentino, as well as of biodynamic farming and natural winemaking. It began for her officially in 1985, when at the tender age of 19 she was obligated to take over her father’s estate in the Campo Rotaliano zone of Trentino, high up in the foothills of the Dolomites. At the time, Teroldego was an also-ran variety whose high-yielding grapes were either sold in bulk to co-ops or were being uprooted in favor of more internationally marketable varieties. But fresh out of enology school and full of fire, Elisabetta doubled down on Teroldego. Gradually, she started replanting the old pergola-trained vines (grown this way for easier ripening and higher yields) with massale cuttings taken from Foradori's best vines, this time trained on wires guyot-style; converted the farming to organic; did rigorous pruning; and updated the cellar.
While her wines became a hit among critics in the 1990's, Elisabetta was unsatisfied and started trying out biodynamic techniques, with the idea of introducing more energy and dimension to her wines. As her work in the vineyards evolved, the wines too began to change, from big and concentrated to a more textured and elegant style. In 2009, after having tasted the amphora-aged wines of COS in Sicily, she began experimenting with clay tinajas made to order in southern Spain. Today, Foradori's farming is entirely biodynamic, and the top wines--her white Nosiola and her single-site Teroldegos--are aged in amphorae with long skin contact. The results have been a revelation: wines of a purity, concentration and elegance atypical of this co-op-driven region. And the non-amphora-aged, earlier-drinking, multi-site Teroldego is the standardbearer for the grape in this region.
The certified-biodynamic estate today comprises 28 hectare (75% Teroldego, 15% Manzoni Bianco, 5%, 5% Pinot Grigio) and produces about 160,000 bottles annually. The vineyards are high in altitude, surrounded by mountains but generally on flatter sites, which receive a lot of sunlight and drain well. The Teroldego, as well as Pinot Grigio, is grown on the expansive Campo Rotaliano plain--essentially the "grand cru" site of Trentino--on gravelly, sandy alluvial soils; the Nosiola and Manzoni come from the hills above Trento and their clay-limestone soils about a half-hour away. Elisabetta is now assisted full-time in the vineyard, cellar and market by her sons Theo and Emilio.