Posted by: tomciocco | April 20, 2011


Place. Grapes. People. All wine, no matter how great or awful, is almost entirely the product of these three elements. Then, the interplay of quantity and quality amongst these three fundamental factors serve to eventually stake out the basic universe of possibilities that we determine to make up wines that can be described as “fine”, “good”, “commercial”, “undrinkable”, whatever. When we get down to these broad adjectives, it  can all sound a bit perfunctory and unromantic, and that’s because in many cases, it’s not that far from the truth. Lots of very good wines hit their notes with great reliability, but never manage to really sing

The wines from La Stoppa sing. That said, great performers that can bring most to tears of joy, always take a few others in another direction…For me the unique arrangement of the hills south of Piacenza, The Barbera and Croatina varieties, and the Pantaleoni family have always produced heady, dramatic, and powerful music with an edge…

The wonderful earthiness, and evolution in the glass that La Stoppa’s wines always demonstrate make them great with cheese, and we were due, so to the triumverate of Taleggio, Roccolo, and Montasio Stravecchio, I added bread, pear, apple, walnuts, and then a little salad to follow.

La Stoppa Rosso Gutturnio Colli Piacentini 2009

Deeply saturated purple garnet color with a slightly brown rim. Pungent and initially rustic nose of manure, crushed violets, and blackberries later adding notes of melted dark chocolate, Graham crackers, mushrooms, dried herbs, tamarind paste, and a pervasive sultry perfuminess. The medium-full body is intense, muscular, compact, and chewy, with big but polished tannins balanced by a juicy, zippy acidity, and flavors of plum jam, cherry, black licorice, a hint of rose water, all underpinned with a deep saucy, savory quality. Very dry, warm finish. A wine of earthy breeding that gets better and better as it’s swirled in the glass.


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