In the heart of the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi region (now down to c. 2500 ha) in the Marche, comprised of c. 15 villages/comunes, lies Staffolo at 380 m asl that accounts for at least 20 cantine (of the c. 180 total in the Consorzio). One of which is La Staffa, owned by the Baldi family since 2004 when Mario, father of Riccardo, & Marina his mother, bought the 4.5ha property. Riccardo arrived in 2010 fresh from his Chemistry studies in Ancona & proceeded to build a new cantina in 2012 & increase the estate to 10ha by 2017.
The organically farmed vineyards are located on sedimentary calcareous clay, principally in the contrade Castellareta & Salmaggina. From vintage 2016 they ferment their Verdicchio using wild yeast.
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Staffolo
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva ‘Rincrocca’, Staffolo
Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva ‘Selva di Sotto’, Staffolo
‘Mai Sentito’ Verdicchio Frizzante, Staffolo
2018 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore – tasted April 2019. About 50,000bts produced. 2018 was a balanced and fairly easy vintage, with plenty of sun, and enough rain, achieving good yields. Fermented in both stainless steel and cement, and then blended in January 2019, before bottling in February 2019. Gorgeous nose of cool stone and citrus fruit, wet stone, floral notes. On the palate the zesty citrus comes through, with clay and chalk rich soils giving it a crisp mineral and salty edge. So sapid and mouth watering.
2017 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore – tasted May’18, 13%abv, translucent greeny white; the nose bristles with energetic, pretty, pebbly lime-stone botanicals, & of course a lick of Adriatic sea salt…recalls Riesling or Chablis esque. Beautifully dry from certified organic fruit, exciting light/med bodied, sapid soapy citrus fruit, with a sherbet, space dust tang & salivating lime skins! Eccellente!
2016 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Riserva ‘Rincrocca’ – tasted Nov’18, having been bottled in July’17: from the single Rincrocca vineyard, close to the cantina in Staffolo, planted in 1972, only 6k bottles of the fine 2016 were made (down 30% from 2015). A good vintage, refreshed by intermittent rain showers, giving a low pH (2.99), good acidity (TA8), balanced by 2.5grams RS. The Verdicchio must was vinified on its fine lees in cement for close to 10 mths. White currant, mealy, cornflower aromas. In keeping with the nature of the vintage, the palate is racy & energetic, but needs time to unfold.
…tasted again April 2019: still some 2016 available, with the 2017 to be released in Autumn 2019. The 2016 was bottled in July 2017, and had 1.5yrs in bottle before release. Complex and weightier, more textured than the straight Verdicchio (c. 50 year old vines!), with a lovely concentrated core of mature apricot and mandarin fruit, and gentle creaminess from battonage. Long, fine, and harmonious, with refreshing acidity.
2015 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva ‘Rincrocca’ – bottled Aug ’16, c. 7k bts, from 45 yo vines at c. 46hl/ha (vs 65 hl the norm), 12 mths in ciment (of which 6 on lees), 12 mths in bottle prior to June ’17 release. Rincrocca is the name of a hill close to the cantina. Compact, riper, fuller than the straight Verdicchio, slowly reveals itself, mealy, white currant, mandarin skin even, suave, lessy, salty/brine…Chablis Valmur?
Acidità 5,1 g/l.
Zuccheri 0,7 g/l.
So2 Totale 75 mg/l.
So2 Libera 25 mg/l.
Alcohol 14 %.
2015 Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva ‘Selva di Sotto’ – Tasted April 2019. 14% alc. About 6,000bts produced. Riccardo’s most serious wine! First vintage produced – only made in top vintages (the next one is likely to be 2017 vintage, not released until 2020). 100% Verdicchio. 5o yo vines perched at 500m asl. Fermentation in cement, with 1yr on the fine lees, and then 1 yr in bottle. Was bottled in July 2017. The vineyard ‘Selva di Sotto’ is named after the forest (‘selva’) that surrounds it. The soil is calcareous and stoney, giving immense minerality. The fruit has an essential oil purity. On the nose it is reminiscent of a white burgundy, with cool orchard fruit, and a flinty edge. Notes of wild honey and quince.Refined and classic, with great concentration and poise, quite taught and coiled, and yet has an expansive quality. Delicious now but also has great ageing potential – Riccardo said for up to 20yrs! This wines has an important message, that Verdicchio is capable of great things!
‘Mai Sentito’ Verdicchio Frizzante NV (fruit from 2018 harvest), tasted April 2019. About 6,000bts produced. 80% Verdicchio, 20% Trebbiano, from 40 yo vines. The first (spontaneous) fermentation starts in tank and is finished in bottle. Pretty, with a fragrant lemony nose. Lively, and bright, with plenty of juicy citrus fruit, a zing of lemon sherbet, and a gentle fizz. So drinkable! And with a stylish label too.