The magic of the wines coming from Elisabetta Foradori's estate among the Dolomite Mountains in Trentino has been well documented here before. Today's new release turns us to her most singular and dynamic wines of all, the skin-fermented whites.Manzoni Bianco and Pinot Grigio are grown on two very different parcels, both carrying a distinct sense of place along with that layered depth and kaleidoscope range of flavors that's so synonymous with Foradori.
Elisabetta's journey to being one of the most respected natural wine producers in the world came with challenges. Her family purchased this Trentino estate in 1934, her father bottling his first vintage in 1960. His untimely passing in 1976 meant that her mother had to manage the winery until Elisabetta finished her enology degree, then being thrust into the 1984 harvest and taking control of production thereafter.
The philosophical trek for Elisabetta was a winding one that began with the immediate removal of high yielding pergola-trained vines. She wisely chose massale cuttings from the estates oldest vines and trained them much lower in the guyot method. Her approach brought a new concentration to the wines that garnered awards in the 90's, but she felt their was an energy and vitality missing.
Upon familiarizing herself with Rudolf Steiner's teachings she slowly adopted biodynamic principles and eliminated laboratory yeasts. Sulphur additions were lowered, riper stems began to be included in ferments, and a more gentle extraction protocol was used. She also began visiting Giusto Occhipinti at COS, learning about the use of clay amphora for aging.
Foradori's Manzoni Bianco has been her benchmark white wine, encompassing 15% of plantings, while the Pinot Grigio from 5% is a brand new addition to the estate's lineup.
Manzoni Bianco Fontanasanta is a cross between Riesling and Pinot Bianco, developed by Dr. Manzoni in the 20th century. It comes from the clay and limestone Fontanasanta hills above Trento. It's macerated for one week on its skins in cement tank and then pressed off into Acacia barrels for 12 months aging. It has a faint orange hue and opens slowly with time in glass, revealing intense floral notes dominated by chamomile, dried fruits, and a creamy texture. It's unique, thought-provoking, and demands full attention.
Pinot Grigio Fuoripista translates to "off -road" signifying Elisabetta's approach ofmacerating on the skins for 8 months in clay amphorae. The source is the limestone and granite Campo Rotaliano plain, widely regarded Trentino's Grand Cru.The orange hue is much more pronounced here with a gossamer texture that is balanced effortlessly by serious driving salinity. The flavor profile shows a wide spectrum of dried flowers, mint, apricot as well as cranberry. There's a structure here that even among skin-fermented northern Italian whites stands out from the pack.
2015 Foradori Fontanasanta Manzoni Bianco
$32 per bottle.
2015 Foradori Fuoripista Pinot Grigio
$47 per bottle.