Elisabetta Foradori says she didn't have much choice when it came to becoming a winemaker. She grew up in a small village in Trentino, at the feet of the Dolomites, that chain of sublimely naked crags that rise dramatically from heart of the Italian Alps. At the tender age of 20, Elisabetta, an only child, inherited the land and trade from her father, who died young. As a girl she collected flowers. She says the botanical obsessions of her childhood laid the groundwork for a life in the vineyard, taught her to let nature have its way. With this foundation she made a name for herself, focusing on the grape teroldego, native to her region and her father's vineyard, transcending the parochial, elevating Trentino wines into a realm of global admiration.
That was then. As much as she looks back into the history and culture of her land, she looks forward into the future of what is possible. She innovates, experiments, takes risks. And she makes startling, deeply complex wine.
Ampeleia, her collaboration with friends and financiers Thomas Widmann and Giovanni Podini, is both a turn away from and a strict adherence to her roots. Å turn because Ampeleia is in the Maremma, along the Tuscan coast, far from her native mountains. An adherence because, as in Trentino, she sets out with one goal, to fully express the history of the soils in which she works. The Ampeleia vineyards are planted with Mediterranean grapes more common today in Liguria, Southern France and Spain: grenache, mourvedre, carignan, alicante bouschet—varieties whose own histories are as complicated as the histories of the people who grow them. Varieties that, in such capable hands, carry in them a striking sense of place.
Ampeleia "Un Litro" transforms that history into a simple, well-crafted liter of wine. It's a wine that greets you with bare feet and a loose smile. Slightly built but finely toned, the body of this wine is deceptively taut, its grippy texture belying its soft fruitiness, its light color, and of course the playfulness of the packaging. It's fun, but not without it's serious side. All in all, this is wine that moves in the world unselfconsciously, a friend who, like Elisabetta herself, can't help but charm everyone she meets.