Marche (Ancona), Italy
Almost completely unknown in North America, La Staffa is fast becoming a sensation in its native Marche and in fact throughout Italy. One of the main reasons for this is that it is owned and operated by the phenomenally talented young winemaker, Riccardo Baldi. Created in 1994 by the Baldi family in the village of Staffollo, an area with a notably high elevation for the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi DOCG, La Staffa is now making some of the most breathtaking mineral-driven whites in the appellation. The Verdicchios, but also the reds, are truly stunning!
Although the winery had humble beginnings, large enough only to cover the family’s personal consumption, over the years La Staffa has grown and today counts on 7 hectares of vineyards, some of which were planted in the beginning of the nineteen seventies. Today Riccardo runs the show and uses his personal vision to craft wines in which he believes, and which encapsulate the unique terroir of Staffolo, a village at 442 m above sea level. In fact part of the secret at La Staffa is the elevation of Staffolo itself, which is key to maintaining the freshness and minerality of Riccardo’s wines. Over the years since he took over, Riccardo has brought real innovation to the winery with the introduction of biodynamic farming. This means a complete ban of all chemical herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers in the vineyards, which are now treated only with natural products such as sulphur, copper, herbal teas and infusions.
In the cellar, Riccardo vinifies his wines with total respect for the grape properties and for the viticultural traditions of the area. All the wines are produced exclusively with grapes from estate owned vineyards. The whites are vinified in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks to enhance their freshness and to showcase the fruit while also highlighting the unique terroir of the vineyards, particularly the single-vineyard Rincrocca. The red, the Rubinia, made from 100% Montepulciano, is fermented in steel, allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation in glass-coated tanks and then matured for two years in oak. Each of the wines offers a singular expression of Staffolo and the finesse of Riccardo’s minimally interventionist approach. Simply put, these are some of the most compelling Marche wines, you’ve never heard of.
“For me, wine has a soul - it is a living entity. In my winery nature reigns over everything. We farmers need to interpret what nature itself expresses so perfectly in each vintage, we must try not to alter its essence.” Riccardo Baldi