Foradori Fontanasanta Manzoni Bianco 2021


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“Sweetly scented and spicy from the first tilt of the glass, the 2021 Manzoni Bianco Fontanasanta wafts up with a delicate mix of spring flowers offsetting lime and white smoke. It’s soft textured and round on the palate. It’s lifted with a perfumed blend of citrus-tinged orchard fruits. A staining of minerality resonates as the 2021 finishes with medium length and incredibly fresh. Drinking window: 2022-2028. 91 points

Could Foradori push the envelope any further? While Elisabetta Foradori’s sons Emilio and Theo and daughter Myrtha Zierock are the current faces of the winery, I met with Elisabetta this past December. Along with Foradori’s passion projects throughout the region, she remains fully involved at the domaine. Visiting this estate is always a magical experience, from the biodynamically farmed vineyards, integrated polyculture farm and massive cellar of amphoras. Foradori brought fame to Teroldego with dark, brooding internationally-styled wines, and in so doing, put Campo Rotaliano on the map. However, the domaine has been moving in the opposite direction over the last ten years, focusing on purity and uber-natural winemaking. Frankly, I couldn’t be happier with their accomplishments. Today the Granato remains a formidable entry to the international wine scene but relies entirely on the merits of its own fruit. At the same time, the single vineyard range, aged all in amphora, stretches the taster’s imagination. The opportunity to taste the “No Sulfur” versions of each wine (only sold at the cellar door) takes things to another level. Foradori explained that differences with the non-sulfur wines are more subtle over time, but they show something completely unique on release. It’s an experience that no visitor to the winery should pass up.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (05/23)

Put simply, Elisabetta Foradori is the foremost exponent of Italy’s ancient Teroldego grape and is largely the reason why we can still enjoy its fruits today. Her estate is nestled in the Dolomites’ Campo Rotaliano (above), Teroldego’s historic ‘grand cru’, a sandy-gravelly plain borne of the alluvial deposits of the Noce Stream and Adige River. This terroir benefits from the mountains to the north blocking the cold winter winds while the cool summer breezes flow up the valley from the lakes further south. The distinctive air flows here also create large diurnal temperature changes which aids the grapes’ complexity.

However, the path to here hasn’t been easy. In 1939, Elisabetta’s grandfather bought a near bankrupt estate and it has been in the hands of the Foradori family ever since. The first vintage was the 1960 but, tragically, in 1976, her father died prematurely and, as a result, her mother entrusted the running of the estate to Carlo – a local winemaker. In 1984, Elisabetta decided to take over the family estate immediately after finishing her viticultural and oenological studies.

At this time, cooperatives ruled the roost and the fashion was to plant international varieties such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. However, Elisabetta was persuaded by her then future husband, Professor Rainer Zierock, to keep to local varieties such as Teroldego, Nosiola and Manzoni Bianco. Furthermore, the local wine culture had become largely industrial with quantity ruling over quality.

Elisabetta thus began her lifetime quest to improve the quality of the Teroldego stock. When she took over, she began to replant her vineyards using mass selection. This involves choosing the best vines from the vineyard, taking cuttings from them and then propagating new vines from those cuttings. In 2000, this quest was supported by creating another generation from the seeds harvested from the fruit of her oldest vines.

Then, in 2002, on the advice of a close friend, Alsace’s renowned Marc Kreydenweiss, she commenced the conversion to biodynamics. The first few years were extremely difficult but the vineyards are now in rude health and the winemaking is considerably easier – just bring in the great fruit and let the grapes make the wine on their own!

Then, through another of her friends, Sicily’s Giusto Occhipinti, she discovered Tinajas (Spanish amphorae). She began replacing all of her barrels with amphorae and today she has more than 150 in her cellar. Clay, the amphora’s raw material, gives a completely different result to that of wood or of concrete. This is because clay is a more porous material and, therefore, it allows more oxygen in.

In 2007, a vineyard just above Trento became available and Fontanasanta was born. Here, the Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc were uprooted in order to replant the ‘more suitable’ Nosiola, Manzani Bianco and Teroldego.

Today, Elisabetta’s eldest son Emilio is currently in charge of the cellar and also takes care of the vineyard in collaboration with Alessandro, the vineyard manager.

Thus, to reach this point has been a path of constant questioning, experimentation and intuition involving biodynamics, mass selection and amphorae. All of this has supported the estate towards its goal of making wines respectful of the terroir and its local grapes.