Or, as a wholesaler said when I inquired about the wine from her vast portfolio, "Congratulations, you've apparently selected one of the most...esoteric...of the thousands of wines we have available."
I'm nothing if not esoteric.
I jumped on this wine without hesitation as I was building a wine class on Italy for my college students. It's not easy to find Teroldego, and it's even more difficult to find a well-aged, moderately priced, high quality Teroldego. The Bottega Vinaia Teroldego Rotaliano 2006 was a relative steal!
Bottega Vinaia is the creation of Anselmo Martini, head winemaker at Cavit in northern Italy, more famous for producing vast quantities of jug wines and modestly priced quaffers. Martini envisioned a company that could specialize in identifying and sourcing particular vineyards from the Trentino-Alto Adige that showed a long-term, consistent record of quality, and offering them under the 'umbrella label". This scheme required the dedication of a winemaker who could use his contacts to help him set up a special relationships with a range of different growers.
As Palm Bay Importers, who handles the winery for the U.S. market, explains, "Starting in the early 1990s, Martini sought to explore the optimum potential of a handful of extraordinary vineyards in northern Italy’s Trentino region that, year after year, consistently produce the highest quality grapes. This select group of family-farmed vineyards is the source of Bottega Vinaia, an exceptional line of artisan wines that reflect the authentic qualities of the Trentino terroir.
Thanks to Martini’s passion and tireless drive, Bottega Vinaia has swiftly joined the ranks of Italy’s top-notch premium wine producers. They currently feature an impressive range of the Teroldego Rotaliano, Pinot Grigio, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Lagrein."
The Bottega Vinaia Teroldego was a deilicious treat for both the class of combined newbies and moderately sophisticated students as well as the experienced instructor (who could easily be referred to as 'jaded"). The age of the wine helped; tasting a 2006 of Teroldego allows a certain amount of mellowness that a younger version simply would not have. The innate qualities of Teroldego show superbly here, with rich berry flavors, dark plum notes, bright acidity, and a light touch of spice to perk things up a bit.
The students enjoyed the wine so much that a subsequent call to the wholesaler was required to find where the students might buy it. That generated the 'esoteric' comment, since the wine was not generally available in retail, only at a one restaurant and a catering firm.
It's the eternal dichotomy of good wine in this day and age: we are exposed to a greater range of wines from around the globe than ever before in history, yet we may never see or taste many of those wines because of their limited availability, inability to pay for marketing