Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

La Stoppa’s 2009 Gutturnio

with 6 comments

Colli Piacentini 2009, Gutturnio, La Stoppa ($19.40, 12 bottles/case)

A blend of organically farmed Barbera and Bonarda. Fermented with native yeasts.

So intriguing. The nose is unlike any other: hay loft, old leather-bound books, dried beef, turned earth exposed to the sun for a while, black tea leaves and a hint of barnyard against a gossamer backdrop of red fruit stewed with spices. (If it’s not obvious, I’m grasping for descriptors.) The first sip brings a surprise: a sparkling tingle. Judging by the label, this isn’t the estate’s frizzante cuvée that bears the same name but it almost could be. Exceedingly dry yet light and fleet on the palate: acid galore, a fluid texture, light and raspy-bordering-on-rustic tannins and a long sour-fruity finish, all lifted by that spritz. Lingering dried wood (or is it lightly roasted coffee?) and faint astringency. You’d never suspect it was 13.5% ABV.

The fruit sweetens and the carbon dioxide diminishes as the wine breathes.

Cries out for salumi, though it’d also be great with spaghetti with pesto rosso, grilled sausages or just about anything in tomato sauce. A private import from oenopole, and it looks like they’ve got some left.

Written by carswell

February 10, 2011 at 22:18

6 Responses

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  1. Hi. Stumbled on this page this morning after discovering the ’08 La Stoppa Gutturnio in a restaurant in NYC last night, where I paired it with, what else, a delicious plate of salumi. Love your description-have to say I couldn’t have done it better myself. I didn’t experience the fizziness, but it seemed “alive” in the way that sometimes happens magically in biologic or biodynamic wines. I wouldn’t have called it exceedingly dry, but perhaps it plumps up a bit with an extra year of bottle age? Is this the only place you write or post your tasting notes? Nice work!



    January 8, 2012 at 10:15

  2. Hi, Tom. Thanks for the feedback. It’s funny, since the wine is so obscure, but La Stoppa Gutturnio is far and away the search that brings the largest number of visitors to this blog.

    Subsequent bottles of the ’09 have been fizz-free. It was probably an example of the variation that natural wines are prone to and that, within reason, is one of their charms. It may also explain the initial impression of exceeding dryness; as noted, the wine seemed to sweeten as it breathed and the fizz dissipated. Also, I doubt that “exceedingly dry” is a descriptor any of us who drank the subsequent bottles would have used; “alive” on the other hand…

    Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the La Stoppa website no longer lists a Gutturnio. There are, however, a Rosso and a Rosso Frizzante with — if memory serves — exactly the same specs. Will ask the local rep what’s up with that.

    Until a year or so ago, when I decided I’d had enough of the site’s heavy-handed moderation and increasing Yelpification, I posted regularly on Chowhound. Since then, this blog has been my only online venue — at least for wine commentary. What about you?


    January 8, 2012 at 19:53

    • Thanks for the thoughtful response. Should I address you as Carswell?

      I found the ’08 Gutturnio at a small restaurant in Greenwich Village, and it would be sad to think I’ll never see it again. It was listed for US $57 and I found the ’09 at a single store in New York during a frantic online search today. I can’t remember a wine for under $20 retail that provided so much pleasure and so much to talk about. I think you’re right that the Rosso listed on their site now has the classic (?) 60/40 Gutturnio blend of barbera/bonarda, so hopefully it’s just a re-labeling.

      I appreciate you’re asking about me. I do my blogging for what it’s worth exclusively on under the user name bevetroppo. I’ve probably written the equivalent of small book of idiosyncratic notes over the past 5 years. I’ll be a regular visitor here. Love your entire sensibility. And now I have to ask: is it the brett talking to me in the La Stoppa Gutturnio, or just untamed joyful natural funkiness?


      January 8, 2012 at 20:52

      • For various reasons, mainly work-related, I guard my online anonymity by using a handle. So carswell it is. Hope you don’t mind.

        The new vintages of the La Stoppa wines should be arriving soon. Understandably, they tend to sell out fast, at least here in Quebec. Their regular Barbera is delicious, if powerful, and the Bordeaux blends are first-rate.

        It’s always hard to tell, especially at low levels, but I don’t recall encountering brett in La Stoppa wines. Untamed joyful natural funkiness, tho’, they often have in spades.


        January 10, 2012 at 14:14

  3. […] after the blog’s name, La Stoppa Guttunio is the search string that most often brings visitors to this site (with gutturnio La Stoppa and Gutturnio also among the top ten search strings), I should mention […]

  4. […] to form after the verging on off-dry 2013, this has some of the rustic appeal of the much missed Gutturnio, which cuvée it replaces. (Buy again? In […]

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