Founded over a century ago….
The estate of La Stoppa is situated in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. With a total of 58 hectares, 28 of which are comprised of oak, chestnut and acacia forests and 30 planted exclusively with vines, the estate’s philosophy is that of respect for the land – that human activities should be conducted with an understanding of the nature of the land and by reflecting the natural manifestations and expressions of the local environment.
Acquired by the Pantaleoni family in 1973, the estate is currently owned and operated by Elena Pantaleoni with the assistance of Guilio Armani (of Denavolo) who oversees the wine production process – from vine to bottle.
Elena has focused on investing in the vineyards, which are cultivated using organic methods, producing wines that reflect their origin in the vineyards, rather than in excessive re-working in the cellar.
Recently we had a chance to ask Elena some questions about La Stoppa:
Sedimentary: La Stoppa is a special place – can you tell us about it?
Elena: La Stoppa has always been known for producing cellar worthy wines, something very unique in this part of Emilia Romagna where no other estate was working this way.
Old writings found at La Stoppa and dated from 1870 show that at that time already, the owner was passionate about producing quality wines. Today, I follow the same philosophy and my wines are an expression of this terroir, this is the goal.
The area is warm and the soil is poor so it is natural to make structured wines that age well, despite of the fact that the Colli Piacentini area is known for easy, sparkling reds and whites.
Sedimentary: What are the key indigenous varietals in your area?
Elena: La Stoppa is in the western part of the Emilia region and very close to Piemonte, so as a result we have some grapes in common – for instance Barbera, and also Bonarda, which is the local name for Croatina from Piemonte.
Regarding the white grapes – Malvasia di Candia Aromatica and Ortrugo are both local. Malvasia di Candia had already been planted in our region by the previous owner of La Stoppa, the lawyer Ageno. He believed in and valued the great potential of this area; we named the wine Ageno, in his memory, which is made mainly out of this grape.
Sedimentary: Why did you decide to stop selling Stoppa?
Elena: Stoppa is the wine that made the estate famous in the 80’s, it was a blend of old Bordeaux grapes. Some of these vines were becoming very old and were producing less and less quantity.
Years ago, La Stoppa used to have international grapes – Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc- amongst others. They have all been replaced by local grapes. Only the old vines of Bordeaux grapes stayed since they were very old and were producing low yield and very nice quality wines. But when they came to the end of production, it didn’t make sense to replace them by new Bordeaux grapes vines.
So as a consequence, the wine was stopped being produced.
Sedimentary: How long do you age your red wines for and why do you think that is important?
Elena: This region has everything for producing Vin de Garde (wine which will significantly improve in quality if left to mature). The soils are poor, made of silk and clay, which always bring a high acidity in the wines even in the reds. The “Stoppa” wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and other old Bordeaux grapes, not particularly known for their acidity. But it stays very fresh for this warm region. This acidity is the spine and helps the wines to age well.
Since we have ripe grapes we allow long maceration in order to extract the most we can and then the wines need time to express themselves at their best.
We thank Elena for taking the time to answer these questions for us.