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One Brilliant Bottle

organic/biodynamic/natural wines in Vinland

Foradori Granato

Italy (Trentino)


The name of the wine, as the motif on the label suggests, derives from the Italian word for pomegranate. Or the Italian word for the colour garnet. Perhaps both.

But let’s start with the winemaker rather than the wine. Of Elisabetta Foradori it’s been said “few female winemakers enjoy greater respect in the world.” In 1984, at just 19 years of age, following the premature death of her father, she took over the family vineyards in the Trentino region of Northern Italy, accepting the challenge with both intensity and passion. “I can see,” she says, “that was what I was created to do.”

And also with great foresight. Within a few years, supported by her mother Gabriella, Elisabetta revived interest in the traditional, but obscure varietal ‘teroldego’, and brought it once again to prominence.  It followed precise selection of the best clones and careful, experimental cultivation, with the academic support of the viticulture department of the University of Milan. Witness the fact that Foradori wines now show up on the wine lists of numerous fine restaurants across Italy, that Granato is a regular on the list of winners of the most prestigious of Italy’s wine awards, the Tre Bicchieri. Her two red wines (the other, a larger production wine, called simply Foradori) are the best expressions of teroldego produced.

The 22 hectares of Foradori lie in the shadow of the Dolomite Mountains, on the Campo Rotaliano plain, and escape the intense heat of other parts of Italy. Since 2003 the estate has been cultivated biodynamically. There are 16 different vineyards and Foradori takes different approaches with each. Granato is the product of the best of these vineyards. Fermentation takes place the traditional way, in large open oak barrels, working with the wines from each vineyard separately until blending is undertaken. Aging is in small, oak barriques, lasting 15+ months.

Ten years ago Foradori saw the construction of a new wine cellar. Here the teroldego-filled barriques lie in pyramid formation on gravel from the nearby River Noce. The space, its entrance marked by smooth stones piled against the walls, is at once functional and purposely artistic. The lighting adds both mystery and harmony. It seems an ideal setting for the transformation of the ancient varietal into something very much appreciated in a wine world too often seeking a universal style and taste.

Foradori Granato 2006

Dark and deep, layers of  black fruit, overtones of herb-rich soils, a touch of smoke. Refined juiciness, slightly bitter, but good-natured and balanced. Medium-bodied, drinking very well now, but a wine that should only gain in complexity with cellaring. Teroldego has something of a syrah-like quality, but more subtle, more reminiscent of wild scrubland. Entirely memorable. $$



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