About Stefano Zoli
Stefano Zoli’s story takes us from the Sangiovese-rich hills of Emilia-Romagna, known for Parmigiano Reggiano, to the geographically diverse commune of Matelica in the Marche, sandwiched between the Apennine Mountain range and the Adriatic Sea. Since 2008, Stefano has been a winemaker for the Condello family, but his “dream was always white,” he likes to say. In 2020, he took the plunge and began living that dream by purchasing a plot of Verdicchio, planted in 1955, and making his first vintage. It was immediately clear while tasting his first three vintages that he is not just a highly skilled red winemaker.
Stefano is “trying to make the Chablis of Italy,” he says beaming, taking inspiration from the mineral-dense regions of Northern Burgundy. From his first vintage, to the one coming onto market—2022—today, the vigorous character of these 70+ year-old vines has allowed Stefano to make a savory, vinous, and electric cuvée of Verdicchio. From his perspective, the winemaking begins in the vineyard, and all three vineyards—Vigna Belrespiro, Vigna Cordovani, Vigna Vasconi—which are blended into the normale bottling, are rich in calcareous marl and clay, and grown organically. For the first time, Stefano will also release a Riserva bottling that exclusively comes from his oldest vine plot and goes through an extended élevage with the 2022 vintage.
In the vineyard, Stefano is focused on not picking too early to get the correct level of ripeness and density in the grapes. However, he always retains great acidity thanks to the altitude and terroir of Matelica. He likes to let the Verdicchio speak for itself once it enters the cellar. Grapes are pressed directly—spontaneous fermentation with pied de cuve, no malolactic fermentation, and maturation 50% in steel vats and 50% in concrete vats. To pull out more layers and complexity in these age-worthy wines, Stefano is doing frequent bâtonnage, which helps attain the textural goals around a balanced, vinous, and elegant white wine. Making wine without his own cellar, in his third vintage, Stefano Zoli is doing incredible things and is proudly leading Matelica in the right direction with his natural ability as a passionate white winemaker.