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La Stoppa

La Stoppa, located in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, is a family winery run by Elena Pantaleoni, flanked by enologist Giulio Armani. From iconic orange wine 'Ageno,' to Malvasia Passito, to Barbera and Bonarda, these wines are best known for their ability to express both place and variety in an utterly unique way.

"Now they're known as natural wines, but for us this is just wine. And there isn’t another method to make our wine."

People:  Elena Pantaleoni and Nico Sciackitano

Place:  Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Varieties:  Barbera, Bonarda, Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Sémillon, Grenache, Syrah, Morvedre, Merlot and Trebbiano.

Hectares:  58, 30 of which are planted to vines 

Farming:  Organic with elements of permaculture

Did You Know? Biodiversity plays a crucial role at La Stoppa. Both Elena and Nico nod in agreement as we touch on the importance of balance, and the necessity to avoid monoculture.

"We preserve this place with forests, bees… It’s part of the balance between us and the Earth. We should be cautious knowing that we’re only guests here, and consequently we have to behave accordingly – not as if we’re the owners of this planet."

"I’m a very lucky person. One of the lucky things to have happened to me was to have had Giulio (Armani) working with my parents. He started in 1980, and he truly has taught me a lot of things. We started in the 80s — my father bought the estate in 1973 — but from ‘73 to ‘80 they solely spent time trying to understand the area."

And so from 1980, the focus was on starting to produce wines while armed with a deep understanding of the place and soil they were working with. During these years, Elena explains, there was no real differentiation between conventional or natural wines.

"All of the wines, or at least here in this area, were made exactly how we’re making them now. They were all natural. You could just add some sulfites, and that was it. There were some instances of using commercial yeasts, of course — there were some areas where winemaking was more modern — but not here. Giulio once said to me: ‘why should I buy commercial yeasts when the juice is always fermenting itself, anyway?"

"What we’re looking for – our actual goal – is to really understand where we are, and try to express through our bottles first and foremost a sense of place, and then the...

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