Apologies for the lack of posts, but we’re back!
If you’ve read our previous posts you will remember that we said that we couldn’t visit the many vineyards around where we live because we had to use public transport.
Well now we have a car, so we can go exploring further afield!
The first place on our list was the vineyard La Stoppa, which is about 18km from where we live in Piacenza. We had the privilege of a private guided tour and tasting with Nico from La Stoppa in this beautiful tranquil setting on a warm and sunny spring afternoon.
La Stoppa is a 58 hectare property located near Rivergaro in north west Emilia-Romagna. It was established by Giancarlo Ageno, a wealthy lawyer from Genova, in the late nineteenth century.
He planted his favourite varieties, namely Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
In 1973 La Stoppa was purchased by the Pantaleoni family. In the mid nineties Elena Pantaleoni and Giulio Armani took over the running of the vineyard
They almost immediately realised that the grapes grown there were not suited to the soil and the hot climate, and took the decision to replace those vines with local varieties such as Barbera, Bonarda, Malvasia di Candia, Ortruga and Trebbiano.
The estate has been worked organically since then, and their philosophy of not adding anything to their wines, but just relying on time, patience and a wealth of knowledge has resulted in some truly astounding wines. They also introduced an organic garden in 2018 and the produce is used in their Agriturismo.
Nico, originally from America, but who now lives nearby was a wealth of knowledge. He is a sommelier who has previously worked in high end restaurants in London and Sicily. Our tour started outside where he gave us an extensive and leisurely tour of the vines and told us about the history of the vineyard.
We then moved onto the first part of where the freshly picked grapes are placed in concrete and steel tanks.
Nico then showed us several bottles of wine which were made from the older grape varieties, and which have been kept by the owners to be opened on special occasions!
The next stop was the ageing cellar where I became like a child in a sweet shop. Everywhere you looked there were racks upon racks of bottles, or old barrels where time and nature were allowed to work their magic.
Finally we had a tasting of some of their superb wines together with some homemade cheese biscuits. There was no pressure to buy any of their wines, but after tasting them we came back home with a selection of six bottles to enjoy at a later date.
We had a fabulous and relaxing afternoon here, and we will certainly be back. If you are ever in the area it should be top of your list of places to visit!