Staffolo, Castelli di Jesi, Marche
Riccardo Baldi was quite young when he devoted himself to his family’s old vineyards, which they had previously farmed to make wine for their own consumption. He introduced biodynamic methods, working with indigenous yeast, aging in concrete tanks, and vinifying each vineyard area separately to discover the secrets of each small site. Among other successes, this careful attention recently led Riccardo to release an extraordinary new single vineyard Riserva known as Selva di Sotto.
The elegance of wines coming from a certain place can function as prophet for naturalistic discoveries that serve to explain its particularity after the fact. In this case, a recent analysis found that the plate of rock under Riccardo’s vineyards was once flipped “upside down” in an ancient geological shift. That means his soil is actually much older than the land surrounding it. It also contains the region’s highest concentration of calcium carbonate.
La Staffa is set apart by elevation as well as geology. The small village of Staffolo is known as “the balcony” of the Esino, with vineyards arranged in panoramic views on the hillsides above the river valley. The Castelli di Jesi area is defined, along with its historic castles, by fresh wines born in crisp mountain air stirred with the winds from the Adriatic Sea. Riccardo’s are the highest elevation vineyards in Staffolo, and his grapes retain their acidity as they ripen by virtue of wide diurnal shift.
For its versatility, ageworthiness, and expressive character, Verdicchio is increasingly recognized as one of Italy’s greatest white grapes. (Its versatility is on strong display here, with a fresh Classico Superiore, two delicious--and completely distinct--single vineyard Riservas, as well as a Pet Nat!) If Verdicchio itself is a rising star, Riccardo Baldi is a fitting steward for the grape. The grape’s potential, Riccardo’s old vines, the singularity of this soil, the soaring elevation and Riccardo’s devotion led to his 2018 Vinitaly award as the best winemaker in Le Marche.
Latest wine scores in International Magazines:
2018 "Rincrocca" Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva - Tre Bicchieri, 93 Vinous, Bibenda "Cinque Grappoli"
2015 "Selva di Sotto" Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva - 91 Vinous, 91 Wine & Spirits
NV Mai Sentito Verdicchio Frizzante - 90 Italian Wine Report