La Staffa is an organic estate winery in the township of Staffolo in Le Marche, a region on the Adriatic coast of Italy. It produces white wines under the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC.

Owner | Riccardo Baldi. Baldi studied economic science at college, then returned to La Staffa for a vintage with his father. In 1994 aged 19, Riccardo took over from his father who had taken grapes from his then 2 hectares (4.9 acres) of vines to a co-operative. Riccardo’s mentor was Lucio Canestrari of Fattoria Coroncino, one of the most respected and influential producers in the Marche.

Vineyards | 2015 10 hectares (24.7 acres) of which 9.5 hectares (23.5 acres) of Verdicchio and 0.5 hectares (1.2 acres) of Montepulciano. 1972 oldest vines.

Terroir | The vines are in Staffolo, which is on the first high hill inland (west) from the Adriatic cost, and faces Cupramontana. Staffolo is one of the lower areas in the Jesi zone, at 200-330 metres (656-1082 feet), and is thus a bit warmer than Cupramontana. But La Staffa’s vines are at relatively high altitude, from 350-520 metres (1,150-1,700 feet) in a sub-area of Staffolo called Contrada CastellerettaBaldi says ‘We are in an area where the soil is clay limestone, but very rich in calcium carbonate. This gives the wine a very salty minerality. The 5 square kilometres between the village of Staffolo and the village of Cupramontana are 4 million years older than the rest of the Verdicchio dei Castel di Jesi denomination. A little part of the soil, the oldest part, rose to the surface. So, the composition is almost the same, but the difference is we have five times more calcium carbonate in our clay limestone.’

Pruning | Riccardo Baldi believes guyot pruning gives the vine more balance and potential longevity.

Organics | Cover crops–peas, barley, vetch, mustard. As of 2015 no Biodynamics.

Organic certification | 2014 First vintage with full organic certification.

Winemaking, wine style | Riccardo Baldi told me ‘I want clear style wines. Staffolo gives a very rich style. I want this, but with freshness too. Which means managing and picking parcel by parcel for optimum ripeness. And making the wines in concrete tanks. I love concrete. It’s the best choice for Verdicchio, for the greater thermic insulation it provides compared to stainless steel [which he also uses for both fermentation and ageing but is phasing out in favour of concrete], allowing a slow, steady fermentation and aging with no thermic shocks or creation of estery [primary fruit and bubblegum] flavours that you get with quick, cool ferments in stainless steels with cultured yeasts,’ (interview in Jesi during a Collisioni event, 02 Sep 2017).

Sparkling wines

Mai Sentito | The name means ‘never heard of it’ or ‘unheard of’. This is a pet nat Verdicchio with 20% Trebbiano Toscano. The grapes are picked early. The juice ferments in tank until around 10-12 grams of residual sugar remain when it is bottled with a crown cap leaving a wine with 11.5% alcohol plus the aformentioned residual sugar.

White wines

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC, La Staffa | From the Castellaretta area of Staffolo. 440 metres (1,444 feet). Calcareous, marl. 2015 13%. Picked at different moments and vinified in different tanks. 5-6 months on lees. Bottled in February. Very good acidity on 03rd September 2016 at the Palazzo Honorati-Carotti in Jesi. | 2016 Wild ferment. Concrete for several months. Lovely fruit, very clear, bright, moreish in Jesi (during Collisioni) 02 Sep 2017.

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore DOC, Rincrocca | Vines planted in 1972 on the Rincrocca hill in the Castellaretta area of Staffolo. 440 metres (1,444 feet). Calcareous, marl. This is an old vine selection single site or cru wine. 2009 14%. Crowdpleasing depth of fruit with good acidity at the end; lightly honeyed but well controlled; pleasant bright aftertaste; needs perhaps a bit more texture to the acidity on Sunday 04th September 2016 at the Palazzo Honorati-Carotti in Jesi. | 2013 13.5%. 12 months on lees in lined concrete tanks. Then 12 months in barrel. Better than the 2012, Riccardo says. Savoury, mealy; ripe almonds and yellow fruit, with saline freshness on Saturday 03rd September 2016 at the Palazzo Honorati-Carotti in Jesi.

Red wines

Marche Rosso, Rubina | 100% Montepulciano. From the Castellaretta area of Staffolo. 440 metres (1,444 feet). Calcareous, marl.

Bibliography

‘Unheard of no more: Riccardo Baldi wants to put Marche on your wine map’, www.grapecollective.com published 01st June 2018 (retrieved 05 August 2019). Written by Valerie Kathawala. 

Contact

La Staffa, Società Agricola La Staffa di Baldi Riccardo & C., s.s.

Via Castellaretta, 19

I-60039 Staffolo (AN = Ancona), Marche, Italy

Tel+33 0731.779810 | www.vinilastaffa.it