This is a continuation of our interview with Elena Pantaleoni of La Stoppa. (If you would like to read the previous conversation with Elena please go here).
Sedimentary: Can you tell us about Macchiona? What are the grapes and how is the wine made?
Elena: Macchiona is the emblematic wine of La Stoppa for many reasons :
- It is made only from local grapes: Barbera and Bonarda. The Barbera is fresh with no tannins and the Bonarda has tannins and low acidity so the grapes complement each other very well.
- It is vinified with spontaneous fermentation as all our wines and without any sulphites added.
- It is from older vineyard named Macchiona (thus the name).
- It is aged in large barrels for at least one year and then several years in bottle before being sold. All through this ageing, it gains in complexity, and develops all the characteristic flavours that show the place that it is from.
- It pairs perfectly with the local food which is savoury and rich.
Sedimentary: How is the Barbera of your area different from the Barbera that we would normally associate with Piedmont?
Elena: In terms of grapes, they are identical, only the terroirs differ.
At La Stoppa, the soil is poor, made of silk and clay, so the natural acidity of the grape Barbera is further exacerbated. The hot summers and good maturity tend to develop all the violet and flower flavors on one hand and the animal notes too.
Sedimentary: We love Trebbiolo. We could drink it all day long. This characteristic of the wine is purposeful – can you tell us why Trebbiolo is made the way it is?
Elena: Trebbiolo is a wine for daily consumption: very fresh, easy drinking, but which already has the footprint of the Terroir of La Stoppa. It is a blend of the young vines of Barbera and Bonarda and also of the lowest part of the vineyards. Generally we choose the biggest berries in order to have a lighter wine and make the selection in the vineyard during the harvest (this also lets us have a better selection to make Macchiona). The vinification takes almost 3 weeks, and the ageing is done in stainless steel and concrete tanks.
Sedimentary: What dishes would you pair with each of the wines to enjoy them at their best?
Elena: Tasty and hearty local food, such as pancetta and prosciutto for starters or Risotti or tortellini for courses.
Sedimentary: Why do you sell wines from different vintages?
Elena: As already explained, this region has everything for producing wines able to be aged :
- poor soils made of silt and clay bringing high acidity in the wines.
- warm and dry summers to reach good maturity.
- local grapes fully adapted to this region and able to keep the freshness and tannins even when well matured.
Aside of this, the work in the cellar is very simple with no use of any wine-making products or additions. This way, each vintage will have its own expression. We are pleased to show them side by side and let people taste and compare the different vintages. This is a way to let them select which vintage they prefer and realize how the climate influences the wine profile.
At La Stoppa, we are very proud to start selling wines when they are ready and not when the previous vintage is sold out. For instance, sales started for the Macchiona 2002 in September 2012, ten years later. For this reason we have added the name “dieciannidopo” meaning ten years later.
All of this has a cost and takes room in the warehouse, but this is the best way to appreciate the wines with all their complexity.
We thank Elena for taking the time to answer these questions for us. If you would like to taste these wines, La Stoppa will be participating in Top Drop Vancouver, September 7 & 8, 2016.