Posted by: tomciocco | April 13, 2011


Despite the oxymoronic sound of the title of this post, the deep, dark grape variety Teroldego (teh-ROLL-deh-go) is from just such an odd sounding place. In what must be one of the smaller appellations in all of Italy (an odd note on this later) the Piano Rotaliano (The Rotaliano Plain) is a literally Kansas-flat little patch of pebbly earth surrounded by snowcapped Alpine peaks and ridges. With just a little bit of viticultural mind experimentation we arrive quickly to the (correct) conclusion that this unique topograpical arrangement creates a unique terroir. The northerly latitude (for Italy) and high altitudes make for chilly to downright cold nights during much of the growing season, but the distance from the sea and the very same altitudes also promote very hot days, and the plain allows the vines to take the most sun throughout the day (less shadow).  

And it should come as no surprise that from this little natural cloister should also spring a vine to match, and Teroldego is that vine. Though it has leaked out to a few spots here and there in Italy, and even abroad, the vast majority of the Teroldego bottled still and always has come from this blessed nook.

So here’s the thing that threw me about this wine’s identity: “Teroldego Rotaliano” is an appellation which is and always has been a D.O.C. (Denominazione d’Origine Controllata), but on the label this wine is declared to be a  D.O.P. (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta) which is the top classification for FOOD products, not wine – never seen this before, full stop. But, rules and norms change all the time, so I’d guess this is a wine made from fruit from outside the traditional zone and/or with higher permissable yields – but then why not call it an I.G.T.? Maybe it’s just a misprint? I did some poking around and didn’t turn up anything…Anybody know?

In any event, I served this typically dense, fruity, and spicy wine with Bresaola alla Montanara (Beef  “prosciutto” marinated in olive, lemon juice, thyme and marjoram on buttered black bead) and baked crespelle (crepes) filled with Brenta cheese, porcini, and leeks with a besciamella bath.









Lechthaler Teroldego Rotaliano DOP 2009

Very intense and dark blackish purple color. Direct nose of plum, spice, blackberry, briar, black currant, pine resin, and wood smoke. The palate is middle-weight, but smooth, round, and fairly chewy, with juicy black cherry fruit, cracked seeds, tomato paste, and a touch of root beer. Finishes with warm and soft but high-toned tannins. Cute (faux burnt edge) label too…


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