GEOPEDOLOGICAL CHARACTERIZATION AND CLIMATIC FRAMEWORK
Geological substrate: SANT’AGATA FOSSILI MARL – SANDY; 9 million years old (TORTONIAN).
Cannubi’s geological substrate is formed of the typical alternation between the layers of silt- and calcium carbonate-rich marls and less calcareous sandy strata that distinguish sandy Sant’Agata Marls, similar to the situation to be found on others crus such as Villero and Bussia. On Cannubi the layers of sand are particularly concentrated in a belt running from its southernmost section (Cannubi Muscatel) across the centre of the hill to the lower part of Cannubi Boschis.
The soil here is decidedly lighter as a result, enriched by the Diano Sandstone which is widespread in the subsoil of the village of Barolo and the higher part of the Preda and Boschetti crus. Away from this sandy belt, the soil becomes siltier on account of the marl holding sway over the sandy strata, which are still present but very thin. At the lowest part of the hill the geology changes again, with the sand virtually non-existent eclipsed as it is by the marl. Indeed, here we find ourselves in the presence of typical Sant’Agata Marls, completely dominated by silt, with little clay and very little sand. So we are faced with 3 geologically different substrata, even though the sandstone forms only a minimal part.
Our vineyard is located at the top of the ridge that separates the Cannubi and Albarella crus, therefore part of sandy Sant’Agata Marls.
Soil: WHITE, LOW EVOLUTION, SHALLOW, YOUNG.
The soil on Cannubi can therefore be separated into 3 areas marked by different geological formations: silty with a good percentage of sand in the medium-high segment, only sandy in the narrow strip where the sandstone has risen to the surface, and silty with little clay and very little sand in the lowest area. The winery’s vineyard is located in the sandy, marly area, a classic geopedological setting for the historic crus. Its hilltop position is conducive to the presence of soils which are young, light and shallow (around 70 centimetres). Here the components of the original rock have remained virtually intact, with a content that reflects the mix of marly strata with thin layers of sand. The calcium carbonate content is therefore medium-high, with the clay not exceeding 25%, and the sand reaching approximately the same value.
A young soil with a composition of this kind allows for peculiar water dynamics; as a matter of fact, the water from precipitations disappears relatively quickly, partly through percolation into the subsoil, and partly through evaporation, with only a small part being retained in the smallest pores in the soil for an extremely long time, guaranteeing a minimal, yet constant supply of water during the dry summer period. This moisture retention is rather limited in soils derived from sandy Sant’Agata Marls, due to the presence of sand which facilitates drainage and evaporation; in typical Sant’Agata Marls, on the other hand, it is greater, and even more so in the clayey variant.
Climate and topographical framework: SOUTH-EASTERLY aspect; 300 m a.s.l.; c. 15% gradient.
The Cannubi cru stretches out over the east, south-easterly facing side of the hill that slopes down from the village of Barolo itself towards the Rio Talloria plain. It is a long, relatively low hill that starts out from an altitude of 220 metres before climbing up to 320 metres at its highest point. Its topographical position results in a particular microclimate: with its eastern aspect it would not normally be very hot, but the protection provided by the great ridge of La Morra towards the west, the hill of Bussia to the east and San Giovanni to the south gives rise to moderately well-ventilated conditions, which enable high temperatures to be reached during the summer.
The type of soil, the altitude and the different aspects associated with small undulations in the slope produce significantly different expressions within the cru. The altitude sees a warm and humid area low on the hillside near the bottom of the valley, and a drier area climbing up from mid-hillside as far as the crest. The cru is in fact divided historically into 4 areas: Muscatel, Valletta, Cannubi and Boschis. The vineyard we are responsible for is located at the heart of the cru, the area referred to strictly as Cannubi. Interwoven here are all the conditions that cater for the most typical expression of this cru: the silty soil with sand, medium altitude and dry position that allow for consistency notwithstanding differing vintages.
By Edmondo Bonelli, naturalist