I was excited to be introduced to Teroldego wine at Wolff Vineyards in San Luis Obispo this past weekend. The first thing I learned about this grape and wine is how to pronounce it: te ROHL deh goh. Wow! Good first lesson. Of course, I had a little more studying to do. I’m delighted to share with you what I learned.
The History of Teroldego
Teroldego is an Italian red wine grape from the northeastern region of Trentino-Alto Adige. The grape has been growing there for hundreds of years. The grape had long been grown for quantity, not quality. Fortunately for us, in the mid-1980s, a woman named Elisabetta Foradori took over her family’s estate in the Trentino region. She quickly realized that the focus on quantity over quality wasn’t doing justice to the grape and took it upon herself to make significant changes. Foradori is considered one of the best wine makers in the world, and we have her to thank for the fact that Teroldego is now very good. Her wines are considered some of the best in the world.
According to Wolff Vineyards, “This big and rich inky dark red wine is seriously lively, exhibits fruity flavors of dark berry and aromatic wood spice with a finish of structured tannins with bright acidity.”
The wine is relatively low in tanning but deep in color, with lively acidity and good levels of fruit concentration.
It is a wine that doesn’t require much aging and is usually drunk within three years of bottling.
Teroldego in California
While relatively obscure in California, Teroldego plantings have increased from just 80 acres in 2008 to 665 acres in 2016, based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 2016 California Grape Acreage Report. The majority, 486 acres, are still non-bearing. Larger wine companies such as E & J Gallo Winery, Constellation Brands, Trinchero Family Estates and Bogle Vineyards have either planted, or contracted with growers in recent years to plant Teroldego, and more acres will be planted in 2017.
I would love to hear about your experiences with Teroldego. Please share them here. Thanks.
Ms. Kaufman, nice article and great points about the evolution of Teroldego in Italy. The several hundred acres of new Teroldego planting referred to in the article are mostly located in warm areas near Sacramento such as Clarksburg County. The majority of this planting has been destined for red wine blending purposes and not single varietal bottling. The Trentino-Alto Adige area is a cool Alpine type of climate. Wolff Vineyards is located 4 miles from the ocean providing for cool coastal influence to its Teroldego grape growing. Through DNA testing, Teroldego’s parentage has been identified to include Syrah. Interestingly, Syrah is one of the very few grape varieties which produces excellent wines in both cool and warm climate. Think of Northern Rhone versus Southern Rhone taste profile and style Syrah (peppery and spicy versus fruity and jammy). Similarly with Teroldego a big difference in the taste is based on where the grapes are grown.
Great information, Jean-Pierre. Thank you so much.