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Foradori, Fontanasanta Nosiola 2018
Trentino Alto Adige
Nosiola is fermented in terra cotta amphorae and is a wonderfully intriguing and quirky white. Aromatic and structured with touches of tannin from skin contact. This brims with pithy orchard fruit and white flowers alongside flinty mineral character.
Manzoni Bianco thrives on the clayey-calcareous hills above Trento, where its grapes ripen in late September. Born from a cross of Riesling and Pinot Bianco, this variety expresses the character of the Fontanasanta soil conditions. Only 20,000 bottles are produced from this 3 hectare site. Fermentation on the skins takes place in cement tanks followed by 12 months ageing in acacia casks.
Since she took over her family's winery at the age of 19, Elisabetta Foradori has made a life's work of elevating the Teroldego grape to heights once unimaginable. An ancient variety native to the alpine Trentino region and related to Pinot Noir, Lagrein and Syrah among others, Teroldego thrives in the high, sunny foothills and plateaus below the Dolomite peaks in the far north of Italy. But for most of its modern existence, it was grown and made in bulk. Co-ops purchased the fruit and turned it into light, thin, two-dimensional wine for local consumption. There was little appeal to it beyond the region, and growers started ripping out the Teroldego vines in the 1980's and replacing it with more international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet.
Elisabetta's family had purchased the estate in 1934; her father bottled Foradori's first vintage in 1960. When he passed unexpectedly in 1976, her mother kept the winery going until her daughter could graduate with her oenology degree. Fresh out of school, Elisabetta jumped into her first harvest in 1984, fully committed to not only preserving her family business but also to pushing it and Teroldego forward to fulfill what she believed to be their great potential for quality over quantity.
She began harvesting by hand, pruning rigorously and converting the farming to organic. The upgrade in the vineyard work allowed Elisabetta to make a more concentrated and complex wine, more ready for a world stage while still true to its dark, savoury, alpine roots. The much-improved standard Teroldego bottling was joined by a riserva, Granato, in the 1986 vintage. While this more polished and serious Teroldego began winning critical and consumer favor in the 1990's, Elisabetta felt that there was energy missing in the wines and dug deep into the writings of Rudolf Steiner, the father of biodynamics.
In 2002, she began experimenting with his biodynamic techniques, carrying it through all the way to full certification in 2009. The combination of top-notch farming and less manipulative vinification created a more vibrant, energetic, elegant style of Teroldego which resonated with Elisabetta. She undertook experimentation with aging some wines in clay, starting with Nosiola, a local, nearly-extinct and usually-uninteresting white variety, which was put it into handmade, unlined Spanish clay tinajas (amphorae) with its skins for months.
The Foradori estate today comprises 28 hectares of vines (75% Teroldego, 15% Manzoni Bianco, 5% Nosiola, 5% Pinot Grigio) and produces around 160,000 bottles in a normal vintage. The vineyards are high in altitude, surrounded by mountains but generally on flat sites which receive a lot of sunlight and drain well.
Elisabetta's gradual transformation of the family farming and winemaking over the last 30 years has elicited wines of extraordinary purity, energy and elegance and firmly established Foradori as a standard-bearer for native varieties and a natural approach to winegrowing and winemaking throughout the wine world. The winery is now a family affair: Elisabetta has been joined full-time in the vineyard, cellar and market by her sons Theo and Emilio Zierock. (Profile: David Bowler Wines)
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