March 9, 2021|In Winery Spotlight

Italian Crowd-Pleasers: La Stoppa Ain't Stopping!

Italian wine is considered by many to be the holy grail of the vinous world (Puneet included, who is firmly on the Italian train at the moment!). This small but mighty country battles it out with France for the title of the world’s number one wine producer year by year – and yet we in Aotearoa New Zealand don’t consume nearly as much of it as you’d think.

We’re a loyal bunch, us Kiwis, and we love a good homegrown wine (for good reason!) but it’s always nice to go back to the old-world vinous roots and enjoy a wine that expresses a different terroir, with different histories written into every drop and generations of winemaking in the blood of the artisans behind the glass.

La Stoppa from Emilia Romagna is an iconic producer that encompasses all those romantic, historical, quintessential nuances that every wine-lover craves.

The picturesque property, including a beautiful medieval tower that is depicted in the logo design, was planted in the 1800s by Giancarlo Ageno, who was particularly interested in growing Bordeaux varieties and who renamed them with an Italian twist: Bordò, Bordò white and Pinò. Originally a lawyer from Genova, he realised the potential of the property and added real value.

In 1973 the property changed hands – the Pantaleoni family had no prior experience in winemaking and ultimately the family’s daughter Elena ended up at the helm in the 90s after her fathers death. It was at this time it was decided that they would start focusing on native Italian varieties which naturally thrive in the climate and terroir, and so the French vines started disappearing, and Barbera, Bonarda and Malvasia started springing up in their place. They also started working with a more organic approach, which was a natural extension of the fact they do almost everything by hand and the official Organic Certification came in 2008 by Suolo e Salute.

At La Stoppa, whilst the winemakers and oenologists are talented, ultimately the grapes are given full permission to work their own magic and intervention is minimal. As they say, The low natural yields, due to the average age of the vines and the poor soil*, and the intrinsic quality of the grapes make it possible to obtain highly characterized wines, born in the vineyard and transformed in the cellar through a minimalist approach.” Once the grapes are picked and destemmed, they’re placed in steel and concrete vats to start their transformation into the vino we know and love. Fermentation is spontaneous and uses native yeast, at room temperature and without the addition of sulphur dioxide. They spend a long time on skins during maceration to extract as much as possible from the grapes – flavour, structure – you name it, they have it. This technique also allows each harvest/vintage to shine through and really express its unique characteristics.

La Stoppa is a brand that we find tends to slot in well anywhere. While it is organic and sulphite-free, it doesn’t lend itself exclusively to funky natural-lovers. These wines taste wonderfully like the rolling Italian countryside they were born from and please our most discerning old-world traditionalists. We recommend popping a pizza on the table and pouring yourself a fab drop of this to wash it down, you won’t regret it!


*Which is actually a positive trait for viticulture! The vines must work harder to draw nutrients out from the soils and therefore you get really terroir-reflective characteristics in the wine and concentrated flavours.