Vini Conestabile della Staffa
The history of the wines of Conestabile della Staffa is truly a window into the history of the Umbrian paradigm. Wine and culture collide under the guidance of master natural wine-whisperer, eno-artisan Danilo Marcucci. La Staffa is of his wife's family ancestry, this is made clear every time Danilo speaks of the property...he is merely a guest, married to the vines and his wife Alessandra's noble lineage.
The family history of Conestabile della Staffa is long and complicated, as one would expect for a noble family that dates back through the middle ages. The Conestabile families originated in Orvieto, the southwestern corner of Umbria just north of Rome. The Della Staffa family dates back to antiquity and is from Perugia, just several kilometers from the winery.
An arranged marriage in the 1700’s brought together these two important and noble families, both interested in consolidating land and influence in what was a very poor region. During its heyday in the 1800's, the Conestabile della Staffa property totaled over 700 hectares of mixed agricultural land, of which over 100ha were under vine in traditional 'promiscuous' agriculture. During this period, in the late 1800's and early 1900's, Conestabile della Staffa was the most important social cantina in the Trasimeno-Perugino area; at its height they produced over 10,000 hectoliters of wine per vintage. You can see remnants of this historic winemaking in the castle/homestead located at the top of the hill in the village of Monte Melino.
In the 1920's the hamlet of Monte Melino was home to over 20 small families, each relatives of the Counts of the Conestabile della Staffa. Danilo's wife, Alessandra is the descendant (great granddaughter) of one of these Counts. The village essentially was a self-sufficient commune/fiefdom at that point. Work and profit sharing among the families was divided equally in all sectors of the farming; raising cows, growing and drying tobacco, making wool & silk, a cobbler, a school, a metalworker, and of course olive oil and wine.
In the post-World War era wine production dramatically decreased due to the reduced workforce for farming as people moved into the cities. The last produced vintage from the old cantina was in 1956. From 1956 until 2015 no wine was produced on the property, instead the grapes were sold off to the local co-op for this entire period.
Today Conestabile della Staffa is literally being reborn, re-envisioned by the work of Danilo Marcucci. It's an undertaking of epic proportions. Over 12 hectares of vines, many of which have been in disrepair for over a decade, but were planted in the early 1970's. Luckily the land was never touched by chemicals.
The wines are made in the most natural way, adhering to methods that Danilo has learned over the course of 20+ years of winemaking and farming experience from some of Italy's great 'masters' (Lino Maga, Eduardo Valentini, Cappellano, Vittorio Mattioli and others). Native grapes (grechetto, trebbiano, ciliegiolo sangiovese, Gamay del Trasimeno, canaiolo, sagrantino) are the backbone of the property, a truly inspirational project with a bright future. No yeast, no chemical corrections, no sulfur. "No technology", as Danilo would say.
Brioso Bianco Frizzante: Grechetto and trebbiano. Direct press, no skin-contact. Partial primary fermentation in stainless steel before early bottling and refermentation in bottle. Not disgorged. No sulfur. Crown cap finish.
Brioso Rosato Frizzante: Sangiovese rose`. Direct press. Partial primary fermentation in stainless steel before early bottling and refermentation in bottle. Not disgorged. No sulfur. Crown cap finish.
Conestabile Bianco: Trebbiano and malvasia. No skin contact. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in fiberglass and/or stainless steel. No sulfur.
Conestabile Rosato: Cabernet franc. Direct press, 'fior di mosto'. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in fiberglass. No sulfur.
Conestabile Rosso: Sangiovese. De-stemmed, 4 day maceration on the skins before pressing and aging in fiberglass. No sulfur.
La Staffa, il Bianco: Grechetto. Old vine selection. No skin contact. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in fiberglass and/or stainless steel. No sulfur.
Bianco degli Innesti: Extremely rare trebbiano variety; locally called 'trubiano'. A descendant of verdicchio from grafted (innesti) vines. Skin contact for 10 days, natural fermentation in open-top resin vats (500 liters) before pressing and aging in old barrel. No sulfur.
La Staffa, il Rosso/Rosso da della Staffa: Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Sagrantino. 10 days skin maceration. No skin contact. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in old (120 years old!) 1500 liter Hungarian oak barrels. No sulfur.
Rosso Due Colli: Old vine parcel (planted in 1955) Gamay del Trasimeno (which is actually grenache/alicante). 8 days maceration before press. Natural fermentation w/o temperature control in open-top resin vats (500 liters). Aged in old (120 years old!) 1000 liter Hungarian oak barrel. No sulfur.
Rosso Scuderia: 100% old vine (60-80 yrs) sangiovese grosso from a single .5 hectare plot. These vines are a massale selection propagated from vine clippings that were originally given to the Conestabile family from the Biondi-Santi family of Montalcino in the early 1900's. After harvest grapes are de-stemmed before 20 day maceration followed by basket pressing. Natural fermentation in open-top resin vat before aging in a historical, 150 year old barrel. Aged for roughly 18 months in barrel before bottling by hand with no sulfur additions at any point.