Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Teroldego - Grape? Region? Huh?

After a brief visit Down Under, it's time to return to our Wild & Wacky Wine Week. This time around I'm going for a varietal wine out of the Italian Alps.

1915.  2006 Mezzacorona Teroldego Rotaliano Riserva (Teroldego Rotaliano DOC - Italy)

I do admit that I get a kick out of running across a label in a wine shop when I have no idea if the label is talking about a grape, a region, a proprietary brand name or something else altogether. Sometimes the label provides a bit of elucidation but that wasn't the case here. I thought that this might be a blend of Rotaliano and Teroldego - two grapes that I couldn't recall having run across before. Luckily, the cell phone and Mr. Google came to the rescue.

A quick search revealed that my guess was at least partially correct - Teroldego is an Italian grape, grown primarily in north-east Italy in the Trentino region. I later learned that Teroldego Rotaliano is the one DOC or approved appellation where the grape is approved for varietal Teroldego wines.

Although Teroldego is not grown in great quantities around the world, it has been around for centuries with written references to it dating back to the 15th Century. There are apparently small plantings of the grape in California, Australia, Brazil (of all places) and I know of one Okanagan producer who has just started producing some Teroldego as well.

Mezzacorona's website states that the grape is indigenous to Trentino and that this Riserva is only made in "remarkable vintages." For a regional, cooperative producer and a little known variety, the winery babies this Riserva with controlled temperature fermentation and two years of aging with twelve months of that time being spent in French oak. Indeed, the Canadian wine site, Wine Align, says that Mezzacorona's Riserva is an ideal wine to introduce one's self to the "charms of Teroldego" (although, they did say it en français).

While looking up the grape in my much loved, Wine Grapes (Jancis Robinson et al's tome on the subject), there was some totally wine-geeky notes on Teroldego's parentage - which is all up in the air because the grape's parents are now thought to be extinct. Genetic testing, however, has linked Teroldego to Syrah with the most viable hypothesis seeing the former being an uncle or aunt to the latter. I know, that's definitely geeky (but obviously interesting if you've read this far).

As for the wine itself, Boo and I found it to be big enough to live up to grilled steak, with enough earthiness to keep him happy and a good dose of fruit for my palate. I think Wine Align got it right. It was a nice introduction to a new grape - and I get to add it as #187 to my Wine Century Club tally. I'm liking that.

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