Going Native

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An Italian winemaker expresses the tradition of....where was that?

Elena Pantaleoni has spent most of her life in the middle of nowhere.

Her family’s La Stoppa estate, which she took over 25 years ago, nestles in the hills around the city of Piacenza on the western edge of Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy. It’s a gorgeous rolling countryside of vineyards, dairy farms and wheat fields. From the estate’s 15th-century lookout tower, you can see clear north to the snowcapped Alps and south to the Apennine Mountains.

“Even in Italy, most people don’t know where it is,” says Pantaleoni of the area, which is closer to the Mediterranean port of Genoa and the business center of Milan than to Emilia-Romagna’s own regional capital of Bologna.

Obscurity is magnified by complexity. The small Colli Piacentini DOC produces 16 different wine types—including reds, whites, rosatos, frizzante and sweet wines—from international varieties like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to the Barbera-dominated blend with a name that sounds something like an Italian insult: Gutturnio.

The founder of La Stoppa—a Genoese lawyer who built his home here more than a century ago and ran the estate until his death in 1947—only added to the confusion, planting French varieties in the clay-based soils and unabashedly calling his top red and white wines “Bordeaux"....read the full blog at winespectator.com