2012LaStoppa2012 La Stoppa, Trebbiolo Rosso, Emilia IGT, Barbera/Bonarda, Italy.
Elena Pantaleoni is one of the revolutionary women winemakers of her generation, she is also one of the world’s most respected natural vignerons, she has taught and inspired many a rising star, including most famously Sicily’s starlet Arianna Ochipinti was mentored here. Elena’s own wines are earthy and speaks from the heart of this region of Italy, these intriguing wines capture the soul of Emilia-Romagna, she has expert help in the cellar with Giulio Armani at the helm of this old winery. This small estate in the northwest side of Emilia-Romagna is known for their Barbera, but also have a local Bonarda (Not related to Bonarda found in Argentina, and as many as two other varietals called Bonarda in Italy itself.) and La Stoppa has some white grapes too with Malvasia being the pride of the place, again it is a unique clone call Malavasia Candia. Of the latest wines from La Stoppa, I was completely blown away with the blended rosso Tebbiolo, which is a cuvee of Barbera and Bonarda, this natural beauty has wonderful deep color, flavors and complexity. This wine is made from organic vines grown on clay and mixed soils, fermented in a combination of steel, cement and wood vats, exceptionally long skin contact is employed here as well, using only native yeasts and no chemical additions, no sulphur, except a low amount at bottling, aging takes place in large used casks. These techniques have been the standard Natural Wine guidelines and La Stoppa has been a model case for these wines for many years now. The La Stoppa Tebbiolo Rosso 2012 starts with plenty of earthy tones, porcini notes, iron/meat, bright red fruits and floral tones making for an alluring mix to excite the senses leading to a fruit driven palate with plum, wild berry, strawberry and black cherry leading the way on the medium palate along with hints of cranberry, chalky tannins, juicy acidity and a array of herbs and spices plus a mineral/stony streak. The wine feels energetic and lively in the mouth, it expanses and widens with air, but never gets heavy, it would be best with hearty cuisine and should drink nicely for another 2 to 3 years easy. Whiffs and teases of licorice, minty notes, cedar, briar and tangy currant linger on the surprisingly long finish, making for a wine that is hard to put down or forget in the glass, this release is far less earthy/funky than past wines in my experience, highlighting the vintage and balance, this is really fun and lovely wine from La Stoppa, imported by Dressner, hard to find, but well worth the search, especially for this Tebbiolo 2012!
($22 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

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