Pennsylvania Wine School: What is a Teroldego?

Chambour-huh? Vidal who? Need some help demystifying some of Pennsylvania’s most essential varietals? PA Wine Land Post is at your service, schooling you on the grapes you need to know.

Varietal: Teroldego (pronounced tehr-AWL-deh-go).

Grown: Thrives in northwestern Pennsylvania

Similar to: Syrah and Zinfandel

Teroldego hails from the Trentino region in northern Italy, but has found a new home here in Pennsylvania. The red wine grape has a deep garnet color and produces intensely fruity dry wines that exude flavors of red fruit, pine, and almond.

There are multiple theories about the root of the name Teroldego. Some believe it is an evolution of the German phrase “gold of Tyrol” (Tyrol is an area of Northern Italy); others think the word comes from “tirelle,” a wire harness that was typically used to support the vines; and some hypothesize that the name is inspired by Alle Teroldege, an ancient vineyard site in the area where the grape was originally cultivated. The confusion around the name is partially the result of just how long this varietal has been around: There are reports from as far back as the 15th century.

Speaking of roots, genetically, this wine grape is a close relative of Syrah. When you’re pouring a glass of Teroldego, indulge in aromas of dark fruit and smoke. Flavors on the palate include cranberry, pomegranate, and raspberry. Secondary characteristics such as pepper, anise, and earth help balance out those juicy notes.

Overall, this wine tends to be fresh and bright with mild tannins and punchy acidity. Because of that, it’s usually enjoyed relatively young — within three years of bottling — but certain vintages can hang out for up to 10 years in the cellar.

The grape’s vivid acidity makes this a wonderful wine to pair with food. Because Teroldego will provide sharpness, you can go big and rich. A couple options include pierogies with caramelized onions, sweet-and-sour beef brisket, pasta carbonara, roast game, macaroni and cheese, or fried eggplant.