Elisabetta Foradori: Fontanasanta Nosiola 2014 & Sgarzon 2013
For some time I’ve been quite intrigued to taste the wines of Elisabetta Foradori. Cast up against the Dolomites, in that most curious of Italian wine regions, Trentino-Alto Adige, Elisabetta has been making wines from recuperated, old grape varieties and via what should be deemed the “natural” process. I can be ambivalent about the whole natural thing but tied in to this is that she’s also making wines in amphorae (from Spain even) and thus bypassing the whole oak barrel mindset that still dominates any conversation about aged wines.
All of that was interesting but once I saw her bit on The Wine Show, I was even more intrigued as it’s readily-easy to see that she’s one of these people in the wine world who stands up for what they believe to be the way forward. Sometimes this works and produces something of striking genius and other times, it’s not even a wine you’d want to cook with. In other words, you simply must try wines by people such as Elisabetta to broaden your mind and awake your senses.
Despite living in what most call a world class wine region, the owner of one of the local wine wine shops, Vins i Olis will often have bottles from other regions that intrigue him. I suppose he does this for the winemakers as well given that tasting and blending the same wines all the time makes one want for a change every so often. When I popped in one day he had a bottle of the Sgarzon red open and we tried it. It was engaging, different, and had me ask him to order the Noisola as well to try later.
The results were definitely interesting and if anyone wants to try something different, yet well-made, I highly encourage it. The red, Sgarzon was more in line with being “normal” in that it held excellent body and persistence. There were some “natural” notes to it, mainly in the form of volatile aspects not being fully-integrated, but it packs a tremendous punch in terms of depth and nuance while at the same time having a very clear stamp of where it’s from.
The white Fontanasanta from the ancient Nosiola grape leaned a bit more aggressive. While the acidity of this region can be and generally is quite strong, this wine is screamingly high in terms of acid profile. For those “acid freaks” out there, this is most definitely for you. But for me personally, while I respect the wine a great deal, it reacted badly with me and two glasses in the evening left me feeling torn up and hungover or like I’d ingested something bad the night before. In talking with Master of Wine friends and other people, it was hard to pinpoint what it was other than some lingering component of the natural fermentation not agreeing with my make up. It happens sometimes and while I wouldn’t drink the wine again because of this, there’s no reason that others shouldn’t as it’s a fine, aged wine with a unique character.
Fontanasanta Nosiola 2014
Light lemon color and intensity, day bright. Mature pear, toasted almond, buttery, chalky, celery root, bit of saline earthiness, ginger spice. Screamingly-high acidity, crisp apple notes comes through, lemon zestiness, with a medium finish. Complex, nuanced, and clean although flirting with oxidation.
100% Nosiola 11% 30€
Ruby with garnet crest. Crisp, fresh strawberries, red cherry, watercress, black pepper, sweet spices, light touch of prune. Exceedingly complex aromatically. High acidity and tannin, medium minus alcohol but generally packs a red fruit punch in the mouth, lots of pucker, bit of volatility, medium plus finish. Hints of natural wine bits but well-made and complex.
100% Teroldego 12% 30€