Orange weekly: La Stoppa – Ageno 2010

Every week, I select an orange wine (a white wine made with extended skin contact) that grabbed my attention. View the whole series here.

La Stoppa - Ageno 2010

This wine is one of relatively few standard bearers for the extended skin contact revival that’s not from Collio or Slovenian Brda. La Stoppa are based in Emilia Romagna, home to a rich, meaty cuisine and of course Lambrusco. Elena Pantaleoni makes this blend of  Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, Ortrugo and Trebbiano in honour of the estate’s founder Giancarlo Ageno.

Ageno spends 30 days on its skins, and is not for the faint of heart. The 2010 has a definite whiff of sour apple, along with exotic aromas of black tea and spices, but then leads to such a gorgeously nutty, fruit-driven palate that it gets away with the slightly volatile nose. I love the texture of this wine, and the crunchy red fruit. Red you say? Well, just try serving this really blind (ie: so that the liquid can’t be seen), and I guarantee these are the flavours that come through – cranberry & redcurrant in particular.

I read Jamie Goode’s review of the previous vintage (2009) with interest – he suspects there is considerable brett influence in the wine. I didn’t pick up any unwelcome stinkiness in the 2010, although there is certainly some clove/medicinal character which is associated with the rogue yeast.

Best of all, and perhaps for the first time in this so far short series, this wine is available in the UK. Purchase it online from Ottolenghi, £26.50 or see wine searcher for other outlets.


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    • OK, so I have now tried the 2009 as well. It is indeed more brett influenced – and quite volatile. But somehow it all comes together as a hugely satifying and captivating drink. Rather in the manner of a Belgian sour beer (geuze).

      One of those wines that would look terrible if subjected to technical analysis, but provides a wonderful drinking experience.