What is Teroldego Wine? Teroldego grapes are a variety of red grapes that are grown in the Trentino region of Italy

The name Teroldego means “the little sour one” because it is often compared to another grape, Vinci Prosecco which is known for its delicate flavor. Teroldego has been called the “Champagne of the Alps” because it can be used as an alternative to Champagne when making sparkling wine.

By Lucie Robson
Mar 01, 2022
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Teroldego Wine in 30 seconds

  • Teroldego is a red grape mostly grown in the Trentino area.
  • It also grows in Tuscany and Sicily.
  • It’s used in dry red blends and, to a lesser extent, varietal wines.
  • It’s deeply colored and has unique fruity aromas and flavors of red cherry, raspberry, black fruit, tar, and herbs.
  • It appears in several DOCs in Italy.
  • There are small plantings of Teroldego in Australia, California, and Brazil.

 

Learn about Teroldego

  • Teroldego is a vigorous red wine cultivar mostly found in the Alpine foothills of north-eastern Italy around the hamlet of Trentino. Soft and velvety, this fruity wine has become a signature red for this cool, elevated area. Teroldego is best enjoyed young although some expressions can mature in bottle for up to a decade.
  • This variety usually appears in blends where it adds intense color and fruit tones, but some experimental vintners have also made varietal wines.
  • It’s a component in several DOC blends but it only has one dedicated varietal DOC: Teroldego Rotaliano from Trentino-Alto Adige. Grapes for this wine hail from the Campo Rotaliano, a flat, triangular-shaped plain located in the Adige Valley. Soils are sandy and gravelly and optimal for Teroldego.
  • Teroldego accounts for 967 acres across Italy.  

 

Teroldego Flavors

 

Teroldego is famous for its deep, dark ruby color. It displays flavors and aromas of red cherry, black fruit, ink, herbs, and when mature, hints of tar. Tannins are soft and acidity is medium to high.

 

Teroldego Wine Styles

  • Teroldego is made in a dry red and rosé style both as a varietal and blend.  
  • Its most notable DOC is Teroldego Rotaliano, an area in the Trentino-Alto Adige wine region. About 300 producers make wine under this appellation. 
  • Red Teroldego Rotaliano is occasionally labelled as Rubino while rosé sometimes appears under the name Kretzer. Both styles must contain a minimum of 11.5% alcohol.
  • Teroldego Rotaliano with at least 12% alcohol is classed as “Superiore”. If this category of wine is aged for two years prior to release, it has the “Superiore Riserva” classification.
  • When “Secco” appears on the label it indicates a maximum of 4 to 9 g/l of sugar.
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Teroldego Food Pairing

When pairing red or rosé Teroldego with food, it’s important to keep its fruity, herbaceous character, and bright acidity in mind. We hope the following suggestions will inspire you!

 

Dry Red and Rosé Teroldego

A tip we have to share is both red and rosé Teroldego is ideal with anything with bacon across all courses because it cuts through the fat.

  • Appetizers: Cured meats; green olives; tomato bruschetta; crab cakes.
  • Meat and Fish: Spaghetti Carbonara; Boeuf Bourguignon; roasted game; pizzas with rich toppings; goulash; seafood risotto.
  • Vegetarian/ Vegetables: Creative salads; vegetarian pizzas with rich cheese; vegetable couscous; dumplings; risotto.
  • Cheese: Parmesan; Grana Padano; Manchego.
  • Desserts: Red Teroldego doesn’t usually pair well with dessert because of its strong acidity. However, a rosé Teroldego goes well with red fruit salad and light pastries and cakes featuring dark fruit.
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Top Teroldego Appellations/ Areas

The most prominent appellation for Teroldego is the aforementioned Teroldego Rotaliano DOC in Trentino-Alto Adige. On average, 373,900 cases are produced annually. 

Teroldego also appears in red blends in Casteller DOC, Trentino DOC, Valdadige / Etschtaler DOC across Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto.

 

 

What is the origin of Teroldego?

Teroldego is a very old grape variety and in the prime Rotaliano site, it’s been a favored grape since ancient times. 

 

Researchers have uncovered an interesting family tree: Teroldego is a parent of Lagrein and a sibling of the black Dureza grape from the Rhône-Alpes region which is one of Syrah’s parents. Teroldego is also related to Pinot Nero (Noir).

 

As far as its name is concerned, “Teroldego” may derive from its traditional system of trellising known as “tirelle”. Another name source could be a local German dialect (remember how close to Austria Trentino is!) for gold showing how highly this wine was prized – but this is regarded as more fanciful than the first theory. Still another suggestion for its name is an adaptation from Tiroldola, another local ancient grape or simply that it was a kind of nickname based on its status as “wine gold” around 18th and 19th century Europe! The supposition doesn’t stop there. Documents from the 1400s found in a northern Italian village named Teroldege mention the sale of wine made from Teroldego.  

The fact that there are so many tales around this indigenous cultivar’s name speaks of how admired it has been over the centuries and how highly esteemed it remains today.

 

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How is Teroldego made?

Dry, still red Teroldego undergoes standard winemaking techniques whether it’s a blend or a varietal. It’s fermented to a minimum of 11.5% alcohol. 

 

Dry still rosé Teroldego can be made in a range of ways including light pressing followed by fermentation off skins or various gentle maceration techniques. Steel is generally preferred over oak as this preserves the fruity purity that is a hallmark of rosé wines.

 

The Teroldego Rotaliano DOC can be produced to a “Superiore” level. This means it has a higher level of alcohol than a standard DOC, and in the case of Teroldego Rotaliano, this is a minimum of 12%.

 

When this classification of wine is aged for two years before release, it is in the “Superiore Riserva” category. For the top-tier wines, vintners use barriques and larger barrels so that oak influence is refined rather than pronounced. This allows the fruit character to shine through.

 

What kind of wine is similar to Teroldego?

  • Lagrein, Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol.
  • Schiava, Trentino/ Südtirol.
  • Valpolicella DOC, Veneto, Italy.
  • Beaujolais Villages, Beaujolais, France.
  • Zinfandel, California, USA.

 

Fun facts

  • Teroldego is called “The Royal Wine of Trentino” such is its local prestige!
  • Traditionally, vignerons trained Teroldego with pergolas to control its vigor. Modern-day vines have VSP or vertical shoot positioning training.
  • Trentino was a highly-coveted wine across Europe during the 1600s and 1700s
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