Recently we talked about Azienda Agricola Foradori, a winery located under the Dolomiti Mountains, where Elisabetta Foradori is producing some special wines. Today we talk to her about her wines and winemaking philosophy.
Buongiorno, Elisabetta, and thank you so much for your collaboration. What’s so special about the Trento area for making wine?
We are in the Alps, in the Dolomites area. The Dolomite is a very special rock, very rich in limestone and magnesium. The elements that are brought into the wines give them a very specific character. The mountains are very close to the vineyards and are a big climate element. Local varieties are printing the genetic. A huge diversity of biotype made through the massal selection is improving the expression of the genius loci. The practice of biodynamic agriculture allowed the plant to be in balance and in good health.
How was the change in this area from growing bulk wines to quality wines as you are doing recently?
It was made systematically during 30 years of work. The most important work was the massal selection of Teroldego after that the introduction in 2002 of the biodynamics preparation. Thorough this to step we can grow very energetic and connected grapes. We trust our grapes and we can be beside them during the cellar work. Some incredible things happened, a world of spectacular transformations into another view of winemaking. In 2013, my son Emilio is in charge of this experience and putting his energy and knowledge into it.
Why did you decide to use terracotta amphorae for macerating your wines?
It was 2008 and I was trying to find the best vessel for a long skin contact for the Nosiola variety. Rudolf Steiner spoke very often of the power of the clay: connection of diversity, connection of the soil and cosmos influence. A friend of mine, Giusto Occhipinti who was just starting to use tinajas, introduced me to Mr. Juan Padilla, the Spanish tinajas producer. After the first vinification in one of them my perception and vision of winemaking changed completely.
You talk about the Four Elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. What is their influence in your wines?
These four elements are part of life and they are related to the different part of the plant. We work on this through the Maria Thun calendar, which help us on the daily work to be connected to the different parts of the plant: roots–earth + fruit- fire/earth + leaves-water + flower–light/air. They are even related to the clay and the tinajas: the clay is the earth, which needs the Air/light to come out of the darkness of the deep world. The clay needs the water to be used and the fire to be made.
Teroldego and Nosiola are autochthonous varieties. What kind of character they do have?
Teroldego is related to the River Noce, to alluvial soil, to the Campo Rotaliano which is a flat area surrounded by steep mountain. It doesn’t like too much earth and loves light soil. These are the best condition for this variety and the climate conditions of the Campo Rotaliano.
Nosiola likes clay red soil with limestone, likes the altitude, the hills and a lot of light. It needs to be in very poor soils and wants to see the mountains from far away.
Both are great expression of the Trentino area.
Why did you decide to macerate the white wines with the grape skins?
Because the deep message of the fruit is in the skin, which is the vessel and the protection of the grapes and is in the outside, deeply related to the message of the outside world. Without both elements of the fruit (inside and outside) you lose the balance and the total information that you want to bring into the wine.
How do you determine the length of time the white wine is in contact with the skins?
Emilio and me are very close to all the processes and are standing observing the nature. This is possible for the plants and for the magical process that is the fermentation. We work in a very instinctive way.
Your red wines Morei and Sgarzon are both made with Teroldego and spend eight months macerating on the skins in amphora. What is the difference between them?
Morei and Sgarzon are two expression of the same variety: the roots of Morei are in the stony soil of the old riverbed of Noce. The Sgarzon roots are in the sandy soil. The expression of the vineyard is completely different and so are the wines.
Then your white wines. Fontanasanta Manzoni Bianco ferments on the skins in cement tanks and then it ages for 12 months in acacia casks. Why did you choose cement tanks and acacia casks?
Cement because of the respect of the character of the grapes during the fermentation. Acacia because is a local plant and a traditional wood for aging white wines.
Fuoripista Pinot Grigio and Fontanasanta Nosiola also macerate eight months on the skins in amphora. How each variety responds to this long maceration?
Both responds in the same way: pure expression of the character of the terroir, balance and vitality. This is not only an effort of the clay. The vitality of the fruit comes from the vitality of the soil and the plants. The clay allowed a multiplication of the character.
Which of your wines reacts better to the vinification method you employ?
Each wine is able to find itself in the fermentation. Even into the oak or cement tank, we follow the same philosophy: work on maceration (with part of all bunches) and not on forced extraction.
What kind of wines do you like to drink when you are not working?
I like wines which are connecting me to the light.
Grazie mille, Elisabetta!!