Beautiful Teroldego grape clusters hanging on the vine near harvest time

On the Hunt: Teroldego

Teroldego is an ancient Italian grape. As many of you know, we’ve been poking around quite a bit in Europe over the last few years in search of gems, can’t pass deals, rarities, and oddities.  Many of you know we’ve spent quite a bit of time in Italy specifically, so it’s with a heavy heart that we have to admit, we went into the Trentino region of Italy expecting to find a killer score on some Teroldego – a dark-skinned mountain variety of vitis vinifera, famous in the region – however, all our leads ended up cold or with a product that wasn’t quite up to our standards.  Considering all the other excellent Italian scores on that trip, we can’t say we were completely broken by this, but definitely left feeling like maybe we should have looked somewhere else, contacted another initial contact, all the motions anyone goes through for something that feels like it got away.

A few months later, we were doing our usual rounds through Lodi, looking for the usual Cabs, Zins, possibly an interesting white or two.  While we found some great wines on that trip, the final day was met with a call from someone alleging to have excellent Italian varieties growing in the AVA.  It’s commonplace to second guess these types of calls; who do we know in the major market pulling off Italian varieties like Aglianico, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, etc. from Lodi of all places?  No one.  That said, we’re never one to pass on a lead (everything happens for a reason, right?).

Truth be told, there is a reason not many do Italian grapes in Lodi.  It’s too hot, they get too fruited, too ripe, don’t express similarly enough to the cooler old world expressions…really, the list goes on.  So you’d have to imagine our absolute surprise when the producer said, “Oh! I forgot, maybe this would be more in your wheelhouse…” and procured a barrel sample of Teroldego, of all things.

First thoughts?  Not gonna pass muster, it’s not from a mountain in Trentino, and all the other Italian grapes, while tasty, weren’t quite varietally correct for our program out of Lodi.  Oh boyyyyy, were we wrong.  Dead wrong.

For the uninitiated, Teroldego is an ancient Italian grape that’s kind of like a Petit Verdot, or Petite Sirah, inasmuch as it’s known for intense fruit, dark skins, lack of necessary aging, great for blending, but exceptional expressions can be found as a varietal wine (exactly what we were hoping to find…in Italy).  Lodi is known for ripe fruit and fruit forward wines.  How could we be so blind?  While not on a mountainside, the profile of grapes in general from Lodi are literally textbook Teroldego requirements.

Oh, and the wine was exceptional, so we bought it, and we’re incredibly excited to share it with you all very soon, keep an eye on those new release emails.




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