- Sarah O'Kelley
The Ultimate Chillable, Chuggable Red Wine
One of my co-workers gives me a hard time for overusing this insta-worthy phrase: chillable/chuggable … but it’s so apt to describe those quaffable light bodied reds that are just perfect for Charleston’s weather about 300 days of the year!
And really is there anything better than that perfect bottle of adult grape juice paired with a pizza on a Sunday night?
In my opinion, it’s a recipe for sure bliss. And such was my experience this past Sunday when I took home our new 2021 vintage of Foradori Lezèr ($30). Faithful followers of my wine gospel have surely heard me mention the iconic Elisabetta Foradori who works with her children in northeastern Italy (Trentino-Alto Adige to be exact). To say they simply make wine is a misnomer as they are truly stewards of the land – growing grapes alongside wild flowers and birds; using manure from their cows and hens to fertilize; and thus allowing their terroir to shine through in all their wines.
Foradori is most famous for her revival of the native Teroldego grape that was nearing extinction when she took over the winery. Today, I think it safe to say she is the world leader in Teroldego (although regional neighbor Nusserhof also makes great expressions of this rare variety).
If you want to really nerd out, you can click here for a paper on the origins of Teroldego, that Foradori includes on her website. The short version of the story is that it has ties to Syrah and possibly Pinot Noir, which makes sense to me as I always found it to be as if Syrah and Gamay had a baby. With this type of pedigree it should come as no surprise that Teroldego can be quite age-worthy, and we sometimes receive Foradori’s more serious offerings that are perfect for laying down. But honestly my favorites are her base level Teroldego and her Lezer, which bring us full circle to this magical pizza wine.
Lezèr is made from mostly Teroldego with a mix of unspecified grape varieties. While Foradori’s other expressions of Teroldego show a dense, dark purple in the glass, the Lezer is a shimmering, violet, fuschia tinged beauty. You can tell just from looking, it’s a party in a bottle!
And its origin story? Well, here it is from the family, themselves:
“The idea of creating a light Teroldego to celebrate the summer was something that interested us for some time but it wasn’t until the hail storms of August 2017, which destroyed 40% of our harvest that we decided to have a go. From the small amount of fruit harvested from the damaged vines we were able to piece together a number of vinification tests with short maceration processes to make Lezèr. We undertook various batch tests in amphorae, wood, cement and steel, never leaving the grapes on the skins for more than 24 hours. This wine was born with the spirit of experimentation and continues to develop in this way.”
Well this is certainly an excellent example of the old “when life gives you lemons” proverb put to good use! But even better than lemonade – we have the ultimate chillable, chuggable red!
I advise putting a hard chill on it (i.e. sticking it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes if not an hour) and enjoying it with your favorite pizza and person on a fall evening.
I also advise checking out Foradori’s other wines. Currently on the shelf at Edmund’s Oast Exchange we have her “regular” Teroldego 2020 for $34 and her amphora aged, skin contact Nosiola 2018 for $49. (Nosiola is a native white variety that Foradori has also helped save!)
P.S. Lezèr derives from the Trentino dialectical term for 'light'!
P.P.S. I had the honor of meeting Elisabetta at a trade tasting a few years back, and she is just as lovely as you might imagine!