For the winos that are familiar with the semi-obscure Teroldego grape, they may have it associated in their juice-soaked memories with a second name – “Rotaliano” – or they might not. So here’s the story…
Teroldego (pronounced teh-ROLL-deh-go, by the way) is a red grape variety that is native to, and pretty much exclusively grown in the marchlands between Italy and Austria in the shadow of the Dolomite mountain range. This is a grape variety that, in the wake of all the research into the health benefits of wine, has been written about in wine and pop-medical columns alike as the grape with highest amount of anthocyanins of any known wine grape, which are the compounds that comprise most of the colorants in red wine, but more importantly, these are also the elements that have been found to have powerful anti-carcinogenic as well as heart-healthy properties.
Traditionally, until the press got hold of this research, Teroldego was a decidedly local variety produced almost exclusively on a high altitude plain called – yes – Rotaliano. But, this unique Alpine terroir is not very big at all, and it didn’t take long for this little patch of earth to max out its production capacities in the wake of all of the positive press that it got. At first, as might be expected, prices for the D.O.C. Teroldego Rotaliano rose – often sharply – and then the supplies began to dry up altogether…Enter the Vigneti delle Dolomiti I.G.T. (et al.).
Because the I.G.T. (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) designation always allows for higher yields of fruit across the same number of square hectares in comparison to D.O.C. and D.O.C.G. appellations, as well as the fact that in most cases, and in this case to be sure, that I.G.T.s typically encompass larger geographical swaths of land than the Teroldego Rotaliano D.O.C. ever could, less restrictive zones like Vigneti delle Dolomiti were poised to take up the slack. And despite the supposed simpler nature of I.G.T. wines, there are only a few Rotaliano-sourced wines that can best this one. Plain and simple.
Dinner to match this very sexy red began with a thick orzo, vegetable, and prosciutto soup, followed by thin beef steaks dry marinated with sage, rosemary, and parsley, dusted with flour and then pan-fried with a side dish of red cabbage with onions braised in red wine to go along with them.
Azienda Agricola Moser Teroldego Vigneti delle Dolomiti I.G.T. 2011
Deep, bright magenta/garnet color. Elegant nose of black cherry and black currant fruit, with clear notes of ground cloves, dried rose petals, toasted nuts, cocoa powder, woody herbs, and vanilla bean. The wine enters the mouth with a smooth, polished, and velvety texture revealing a medium-full weight, soft tannins and a characteristic spunky acidity that contrasts with sweet, supple, and rich flavors of blackberry, plum butter, tomato paste, and nori seaweed. Clean and softly bitter/tart finish.