The Wine: Trebbiolo Rosso 2019
La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso is a red natural wine made from 60% Barbera and 40% Bonarda grown on limestone and clay, with iron and galet subsoils in Emilia-Romagna, Northern Italy. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel by master winemaker Giulio Armani, one of the most respected natural winemakers in Italy.
The Producer: La Stoppa
La Stoppa is a 50-hectare property located in North-West Emilia-Romagna. Founded in the late 19th century by a wealthy lawyer named Gian-Marco Ageno, the estate is currently run by Elena Pantaleoni and head vignaiolo Giulio Armani. 32 hectares of vines are planted in Barbera and Bonarda for red, as well as a small amount of Malvasia Candia, Ortrugo and Trebianno for whites. Today, the wines produced from La Stoppa are typically Emilian, but this wasn't always the case...
Moving forward occasionally means taking a step back, and in 1996 Elena and Giulio decided to replant the entirety of their estate in Barbera and Bonarda. Interestingly, the prior owner had taken post-phylloxera re-planting as an opportunity to experiment with noble grapes from around the world which, among others, included Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Tokay and Pinot Gris. Elena's father purchased the estate in 1973, and for 20 years these varieties were vinified on their own. But after much reflection, it was decided that these grapes ripened too early and were not resistant enough to the region's hot climate. It was all Barbera and Bonarda from there.
The soils consist of heavy clay, and the estate has been worked organically since the early '90s (certified in 2008). A minimal intervention approach is taken in the cellar: the wines ferment off of their native yeasts and nothing is ever added or subtracted from the juice. Sulfur is never added during vinification or bottling, save a tiny amount for the entry-level wine, Trebbiolo. Because of the region's warm climate, Giulio prefers long skin contact to extract as much as possible. Stainless steel, concrete and wooden tanks are used for fermentation, and small and large oak barrels are used for aging.
The Region: Emilia-Romagna
Emilia-Romagna is a region as famous for its wines as it is for its incredibly rich culinary tradition. Who hasn't tried products such as Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, Prosciutto Crudo di Parma DOP, Culatello di Zibello DOP? Who hasn't typical dishes such as Tortellini di Modena, Lasagne alla Bolognese, or Tagliatelle? It is safe to say that Emilia-Romagna set the standards for Italian culinary excellence worldwide.
Emila-Romagna is located in the northern part of Italy and is the only Italian region with traits of coast both to the east and west. Its territory is mostly flat, dominated by Italy's longest river, Po river, and by Italy's largest flatland, called Pianura Padana, the most fertile agricultural region of the peninsula.
Emilia-Romagna borders with Lombardy (north-west), Veneto (north), Marche (south), Tuscany (south-west), and Liguria (west). Bologna is the region's capital and of the Italian cities with the highest quality of life - it is also home of the oldest university in the world, founded in 1088.
In popular culture, Emilia-Romagna found new glory in recent years precisely thanks to its unmatched food culture. "Osteria Francescana", the brainchild of "poet chef" Massimo Bottura, was voted best restaurant in the world for 2016 by the World's 50 Best Restaurants' jury.
Moreover, Aziz Ansari's hit show "Master of None" is set in Modena, where Aziz (Dev) is an apprentice chef at a traditional Tortellini di Modena shop who's on a mission to try and eat each and every local delicacy he comes across.