Langhe and Roero: two aspects of a single territory divided by the river Tanaro, as different in geological formation as they are similar in the excellence of the wines they produce. The two production areas are located in the Province of Cuneo, in the southeast of Piedmont, in an area with hills that give wines of different shades, even from the same grape variety.
This is possible due to the soil composition: Langhe has soil of older origin, dating back to the Miocene period (30 to 5 million years ago), which is more compact and formed of clay and fossil marl, with variable quantities of limestone, silt and sand, while in Roero, formed about 2 million years ago (Pliocene), the soil is softer, of alluvial origin and characterised by sandstones, rocks composed of sand and limestone, and an abundance of minerals.
A unique territory, formed about 5.4 million years ago, where Nebbiolo grapes are used to make Barolo, acknowledged as one of the best wines in the world. Where does this excellence come from? Where are the vineyards located?
The production area is well delimited topographically: it extends over a territory of about 2,000 hectares in the southern part of the region of Piedmont, or more specifically, in the province of Cuneo to the southeast, near the South-Western Alps, within the Langhe. This geographical area began to form about 30 million years ago, with the slow retreat of what was the Padano Sea, a large, deep arm of the Mediterranean, which once extended from Venice across entire present-day Po Valley.
The Barolo area features different soils that give the wine different nuances, depending on the areas where the Nebbiolo grapes are grown in the 11 production municipalities: the whole of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d’Alba, and parts of La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Roddi, Verduno, Cherasco, Diano d’Alba, Novello and Grinzane Cavour.
Rock variation in the same territory: what are they and how old are they?
This is the oldest portion, which preserves some particular features of the Upper Langa deposits dating back 30 million years. It is found in the substrate of the Serralunga d’Alba hills and partly in those of Monforte d’Alba. There is a clear alternation between layers of light, compact marl and cemented sands, which give rise to the famous Langa Stone.
This consists of numerous sandy layers, cemented and resistant to erosion, on the highest hills around the municipality of Monforte d’Alba. They are the result of catastrophic underwater landslides that occurred in this area during the formation of the Langhe.
SANT’AGATA FOSSIL MARL
This characterises more than half of the entire Barolo area and it features fine, loamy and clayey sediments. It can be divided, according to its composition, into typical (fine sediment), laminated (clayey) and sandy Sant’Agata fossil marl. It is the result of geological events where the sea currents were less violent.
Our Nebbiolo da Barolo vineyards are located in the municipalities of Barolo and Novello.
The soil in Barolo features Sant’Agata marl, which is found in almost the entire Barolo area. Grey-blue in colour, it is typical on the lowest western slopes of the municipality, with a fine texture and regular layers, and laminated with thin layers, also in the west.
The soil in Novello is mainly characterised by laminated Sant’Agata marl composed mainly of clay.
This production area is located in the southeast of the Piedmont region, in the province of Cuneo, which has been divided from the Langhe by the river Tanaro for about 2 million years.
The soil is geologically young, made soft and impermeable by the presence of sand, which is combined with clay and limestone to form rocks of marine origin rich in mineral salts. In Roero the nuances of the soil also give different wines, even starting from the same grape variety.
Thus, in the same area there are continental sand and gravel sediments, marine-sand sediments and marine-clay sediments, positioned in various areas in a northwest and southeast direction.
It thus changes from soils rich in sand, with little limestone, characteristic of about 80% of Roero, to soils with a greater presence of limestone and clay.
In the part near the river Tanaro, the soils feature clay with characteristic chalk benches and Sant’Agata fossil marl: here we are closer to the Langhe.
In the Municipality of Vezza d’Alba, in Valmaggiore, where our Nebbiolo and Arneis vineyards are located, the soil is sandy, with a slight presence of clay in the deeper layers. It produces soft, fine reds, and whites with a mineral quality and fruity notes.e.