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La Staffa

Decanter magazine "Rising Star Riccardo Baldi at La Staffa"

Located in the rolling hills of Staffolo in the north of the Marche region, La Staffa is an organic winery in the heart of the Verdicchio dei Castelli de Jesi appellation. Staffolo is much influenced by its close proximity to the Adriatic, its high elevation, strong thermal currents and clay and chalk-rich soils that imbue the wines with a distinctive character.

Riccardo's parents were hobby winemakers and he was only really drawn to wine after working the harvest after completing his university degree in economic science. Only when he felt ready did he ask his father for a couple of hectares to start his own project, and the rest is history, with father and son working together today tending their 12 hectares of vineyards between 400-550m metres above sea level.

Riccardo cites his good fortune in having celebrated Verdicchio winemaker Lucio Canestrari of Fattoria Coroncino as both a neighbour and a mentor. It's thanks to him that Riccardo became quite so fanatical about promoting the quality of the Verdicchio grape and the region's specific subzones. A few years after he started, they discovered that their local area, between the village of Staffolo and Cupramontana has soils that are 4 million years older than all the rest of the DOCG. The oldest part of the soil rose to the surface which has resulted in their soils having five times more calcium carbonate than elsewhere, imbuing the wine with great structure and an intensely salty minerality. He cites that in the past, his father made good wine, but it was the sort that really could be from anywhere, whilst now, he is producing wines that are true to their unique terroir.

Responsible farming practices are of paramount importance to Riccardo too, having been certified organic since 2014. He has also introduced some biodynamic practices like the application of tissanes, and regenerative practices like planting cover crops, and is happy to see many of his contemporaries in the region doing similar.

In the cellar, winemaking is very hands off, with concrete tanks being favoured above anything else both for fermentation and ageing. Only ever spontaneous fermentation, simple racking and the occasional pumpover, with long ageing sur lie for all cuvees.


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