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16 Aprile 2015

The Telegraph Luxury

A wine to take time over

After a few false starts, Victoria Moore discovers the luxury of Foradori Fontanasanta Nosiola – a terracotta-aged wine that unfolds itself gradually

By Victoria Moore April 16

This, as you know, is the Telegraph’s Luxury channel but what is luxury, anyway? “A state of great comfort, especially when involving great expense,” says the dictionary. Yet for the busy, that pillowy state of pampered decadence can also be achieved more simply, by allowing yourself time, or, in the most pleasurable cases I think, accidentally stumbling on a parcel of time that you didn’t know was there.

This happened to me recently with a wine. I had asked to see a lot of samples of wine made in terracotta for a piece I was writing for the newspaper. One of them – the one I had most been looking forward to – was a little disappointing. It tasted like talking to a boyfriend who had just come out of a 14-hour tough day in the office – unyielding, locked. Not much doing. I tried a few times. Left it out of the fridge to warm up. Approached it again. No conversation.

So I re-refrigerated it without even bothering to put a stopper in and a couple of days later, when I opened the fridge to make dinner, there it was. So I poured a glass and there it really was – elegant and scented and graceful. Hauntingly beautiful. Suddenly it smelt of quince and white flowers and toasted hazelnuts but also all sorts of fine teas – silver needle tea, with a touch of the roasted, nutty rasp of green dragon tea.

As the transformation was unusually rewarding I mentioned it to Doug Wregg at Les Caves de Pyrene, who imports it. “Ah yes,” he said. “That one does unveil itself gradually. Elisabetta told me she is only just understanding her wines after 20 years of winemaking.”

I continued to enjoy the rest of the bottle of the next few days. I looked forward to each glass, knowing I’d recognise the wine but that it would be different every day.

“I always bang on about the idea that a living/vibrating wine gives you half a dozen totally distinctive glasses of wine – which is the luxury of time, of course,” said Doug. “Slow wine like slow food. To me that gives it value – a wine that doesn't change can only afford a certain degree of pleasure.”

I suppose you’ll want the wine gubbins now. Here goes: Foradori is tucked into the Dolomites, up in Trentino, to the north of Lake Garda, and Elisabetta Foradori has been working painstakingly in the vineyards here since the mid-Eighties. She is known for her painstaking attention to detail and quality, as well as for the red wines she makes from the teroldego grape. However she also has a loyal following for the wines, like this one, that she makes in amphorae. The grape here is white, called nosiola, and it is rare, found only in Trentino, though it is thought to be the offspring of raetica, in Roman times the most widely planted grape across northern Italy.

The rarity of this wine, the tenacity required to track down a bottle and the fact that it unfolds so gradually but rewardingly with time make it an unusual kind of luxury.

Foradori Fontanasanta Nosiola 2012 Vigneti delle Dolomiti, Italy (around £19, available from Les Caves de Pyrene in Artington and selected independent merchants)

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