In the vast gardens of Teroldego Rotaliano
Discovering an exceptional red wine in Piana Rotaliana
Europe’s most beautiful vineyard can be found right here in Trentino! Who could have made such a claim? Perhaps a blogger or some travel influencer? No: this heartfelt declaration of love, echoing across the years from the early 1900s, was made by Cesare Battisti, an irredentist journalist and geographer from Trentino who fought to have his home region united with his beloved Italy.
In Trentino there is greenery everywhere you look, of course, but when crossing the Piana Rotaliana, climbing northwards from Trento, the vast sea of vines that reveals itself to the gaze will leave visitors — even those accustomed to Europe’s finest vineyard views — breathless.
In the court of Prince Teroldego
Over 400 hectares of vineyards: we are in the court of the Prince, Teroldego Rotaliano! For centuries, this indigenous vine variety has yielded a wine with a strong character, the most prestigious of all Trentino’s indigenous red grape varieties. The etymology of its curious name is made clear by its nickname: “gold of the Tirol – Tiroler Gold”.
It is a rich red in colour with a complex and enticing bouquet of berries and spices, full-bodied yet fresh on the palate, and is often ideal for bottle ageing.
Have you ever dreamed of visiting the home of a Prince? You would be a most welcome guest!
The three villages of Mezzolombardo, Mezzocorona and San Michele all’Adige are his royal residences: the very architecture of the historic buildings and castles like Königsberg, Firmian, Della Torre and San Gottardo is steeped in an air of nobility, as are the sumptuous Palazzo Firmian and Palazzo Martini.
These bustling little towns are rich in charm: wineries, delicatessens, restaurants, shops, boutiques and cafés where you can stop for your obligatory evening aperitif.
Tasting booklet in hand, eager anticipation in your heart: whether you’re travelling by car, by train or by bike, you have lots of options for planning your tour of Prince Teroldego’s wineries.
This is an experience that can be enjoyed at any time of year, but is at its best between spring and the end of autumn, when the vineyards “burst” into colour.
You could start at the “Cittadella del Vino” wine cellar at Cantina Mezzacorona, a cooperative winery that exports Teroldego outside of Italy. On a visit here, you cannot fail to be impressed by the striking architecture of the structure, which welcomes visitors and wine-lovers from all over the world every year.
Next, you might decide to immerse yourself in an atmosphere of times gone by at Cantina Endrizzi in San Michele all’Adige, a symbol of Piana Rotaliana hospitality. At the Endrici family’s fascinating nineteenth-century Wine Bar, you can sample their much-loved Teroldegos and visit the historic Masetto vineyard that surrounds it.
The area is home to many wineries which were founded in the nineteenth century and are still run by the same families to this day. In the municipality of Mezzocorona, for example, you can find the Dorigati winery dating from 1858; a trip here is a guarantee of quality thanks to its renowned Teroldegos and the opportunity to visit a rare example of a winery set in the very heart of town.
You may also choose to make a stop nearby at the elegant residence of the Spaur Counts, which has been home to the Marco Donati company, one of Trentino’s oldest wineries, since 1863. The tasting experience here culminates with their award-winning Teroldego, from vines which can boast a lifespan of over 90 years.
The world of Teroldego and its producers is a varied one: in fact, this indigenous red wine is produced by large cooperatives, family-run companies and small agricultural enterprises. One of these is Rédondel in the municipality of Mezzolombardo: winemaker Paolo Zanini tends to his organic farm of just a few hectares with an all-consuming passion, winning visitors over with his tales from the vineyard.
While you’re here, don’t miss out on Cantina Rotaliana di Mezzolombardo, also known as the “Teroldego cooperative”. Since 1931, this winery has flown the flag for Teroldego all over the world, creating a number of wines which have come to symbolise this grape variety and the growers who cultivate it among the valley’s pergolas.
Teroldego is red, like an ink for writing important messages; and a trip to Piana Rotaliana is sure to leave an indelible record in the memory of all visitors. Are you ready for a “Teroldego-red tattoo” to commemorate some of your most treasured travel memories?