We are joined recently in one of our wine classes, via Skype, by Elena Pantaleoni of La Stoppa.
La Stoppa is located in Emilia Romagna and the estate is run by Elena Pantaleoni, along with Giulio Armani, who both starred in the natural wine film â€˜Natural Resistanceâ€™.
La Stoppa is a wonderful organically-tended estate surrounded by Elenaâ€™s home, a 14th century castle, where wild herbs grow freely between the rows of vines and no chemical fertilizers, weed killers or pesticides are ever applied.
Elena spoke to the students about growing and making wine naturally. She gave a tutored tasting of the following wines, via Skype, to the 12-week certificate cookery school students:
La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Grape varieties: Barbera and Bonarda
Trebbiolo Rosso is a natural wine made from the Barbera and Bonarda grape varieties. The nose is fresh with cherry and red berries mingling with wilder notes. Lively and juicy, the palate bursts with sweet/sour morello cherries and hints of spices. In all, it is a lovely, fresh, lively and fruit-driven wine which is best enjoyed with food.
La Stoppa Ageno, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Grape varieties: 60% Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, 40% Ortrugo and Trebbiano
This is an â€˜orange wine (orange / amber / skin contact wines, are white wines that are made like a red, i.e. with grape skin contact)
Ageno is made from 60% Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, 40% Ortrugo and Trebbiano grown on clay/limestone soils in a very warm climate (Elena says that this part of Emilia can be hotter than Sicily during the summer). The juice and skins stay in contact for 30 days and fermentation takes place spontaneously with ambient yeasts. The resulting wine is matured for 12 months, half in stainless steel, the other half in used French oak barriques, with a further 2 years in bottle before release.
â€œDeep golden/amber in colour. On first pouring, bruised apple. With air, it becomes incredibly complex: candied orange peel and grapefruit, honey, smoke, nuts, and a herbal and Mediterranean character. The palate is medium full, bone dry, again very complex and intriguing. Candied fruit flavours on the sweeter end, yet somehow also savoury, nutty, umami characteristics. Very well balanced, with linear, mouthwatering acidity, a touch of palate-cleansing astringency and a lengthy finishâ€
La Stoppa Malvasia Dolce Frizzante, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Grape variety: Malvasia di Candia Aromatica.
100% Malvasia di Candia Aromatica.Â After a soft pressing in a horizontal press, the wine is fermented using indigenous yeasts in a closed, pressurized tank. The result is a lightly sparkling, semi-sweet wine with only 7% alcohol.
Malvasia Dolce Frizzante, is luscious and subtly sweet with a soft sparkle, the wine is made from the Malvasia di Candia grape variety. Peach, apple, floral, honeyed on the palate with floral, tangy fruits. Delicious with fruit desserts â€“ or on its own!
Our thanks to Elena for an inspiring talk to the students. Further information on La Stoppa on their the website www.lastoppa.it
Following on from this we continued the wine class along the theme of organic, biodynamic and natural wines and we were delighted to be joined by Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau (McKenna Guides Wine Person of the Year 2017). Pascal has been a guest wine lecturer at Ballymaloe Cookery School since 2006 and our thanks once again to Pascal for a fantastic class, and a tutored tasting of the following wines:
Meyer-Fonne Riesling â€˜Katzenthalâ€™, Alsace, France
For centuries, Alsace, the frontier province in northeastern France just across the Rhine from Germany, had been passed back and forth between the French and the Germans, depending on who had won the last battle. Felix Meyer has built a solid reputation in Alsace. Working extremely hard in the vineyard, keeping yields ridiculously low, the immense quality of the granitic soils of Katzenthal is reflected in every single of Felix wines. No other grower in the area produces wines with such precision, purity and expression of terroir. Riesling Katzenthal, grown on the granitic slopes surrounding the village is a very distinguished and racy wine. Pure, mineral nose with hints of citrus and ginger. Rich, ample and ripe on the palate with nectarine, orange peel and peachy character the lead to the finish is pristine and impeccably balanced by good acidity
Terre di Pietra, Valpolicella â€˜Vigna del Pesteâ€™, Veneto, Italy
This farm is owned by Laura Albertini and family and situated in Marcellise in the hills east of Verona. Terre di Pietra is a reference to the particular varieties of stony soils. These vineyards of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara are over 40 years. Farming is organic â€“ they started official conversion in 2011. All the work in the winery is done manually with respect for the grape variety and the terroir. Laura designs label composed of various bands of colour to denote the different types of rock which compose the subsoil underneath the vineyards. Red fruits such as cherries and juicy red plums with a hint of bitterness. The minerality of the estateâ€™s limestone soil is evident in this wine and the finish tasty and fresh.
Familia Ceechin Malbec Mendoza, Argentina
Located in Russell â€“ Maipu, this 75-ha organic farm is owned and run by the Cecchin family since 1959. Strict adherence to organic methods in the vineyard, limited yields and minimal interventions in the winery result in very articulate wines that truly reflect their terroir and capture the essence of the fruit.
The Malbec, a grape that Argentina has successfully appropriated, is made without the addition of sulphites. The nose opens up with enticing, ripe plum, bruised red cherries, liquorice, dark chocolate and a delicate earthiness. These lovely fruit and seeds are also found on the ripe, well-balanced palate and the natural acidity hold this eminently drinkable wine perfectly.
Our thanks to Pascal Rossignol for another fantastic class to the students.