This week we’re showcasing La Staffa “Mai Sentito!” Frizzante Sur Lie, a pét-nat Verdicchio from Italy.
About the Wine Region
Started in 2009 by a young enologist making a range of Verdicchio-based wines, La Staffa utilizes all organic farming in Le Marche, a region in East-Central Italy along the Adriatic sea best known for white wine. Because of its clay and limestone soils, grapes grown in this area bring a distinct mineral-forward terroir to wines, and at a growing altitude of 1300 feet, they provide real character. Although Verdicchio is an obvious choice for the region, La Staff broke new ground making their own unique pét-nat versions.
Grapes and Style
80% Verdicchio- this is one of Italy’s most important native white grape varieties. Verdicchio contributes high levels of acid and notes of citrus. There is evidence of this grape growing in this region since the 14th century, so it’s fair to say that it comes along with rather a solid history.
20% Trebbiano - Another popular Italian white grape variety frequently used in blends.
This pét-nat wine was created with indigenous yeast, fermented first in stainless steel tanks and finished in the bottle, spending at least eight months time conditioning before release. Pét-nat, or pétillant naturel, describes a winemaking method of a single fermentation, completed in the bottle with no additional sugar or yeast. A small, carefully controlled amount of continued fermentation occurs inside the bottle, which leaves a light “frizzante” or sparkle, though it's typically far less than a forcibly carbonated wine or a wine made by the méthode champenoise.
Lightly sparkling, this wine maintains a fairly low carbonation level after opening. With a lovely citrusy, minerally, and yeast-forward nose and a subdued, light flavor, its delicacy is rather enjoyable. Understated, but flavorful.
Food Pairing Suggestions
It would be easy to overwhelm this wine with too much punch or strong flavors, but the light, crisp body is also an easy way to clear the palate, especially from foods with a dominant richness or fat content. With that in mind, antipasti is a good choice, as are delicate Mediterranean options such as lemon and caper-dressed white fish or a semolina pasta.
We think this wine is most like other light and understated beverages like light lagers or American adjunct pilsners. We recommend something along the lines of Chuckanut Brewing’s Chuck Light. And while we don’t currently stock any hard seltzers in the shop, this wine would be quite easy to enjoy for those who consume those as well.
This wine is a slightly different take on a regional product, utilizing traditional grapes with a long history of agriculture and indigenous yeast. For those of you who like to keep it light and refreshing, or perhaps aren’t always fans of white wine with pushier fruit notes, this could be a definite winner!