AND CLIMATIC FRAMEWORK
Geological substrate: SANT’AGATA FOSSIL MARL – LAMINATED; 8 million years old (TORTONIAN STAGE).
The vineyard extends entirely over Sant’Agata Fossil Marl in its particular “laminated” form. Indeed, in this area the marls are densely stratified, which is very different to the thickly-layered formation typically to be found in the rest of the area occupied by this formation.
This rocks have marine origin too, and their distinctive thin layers tell a particular story. In order to allow these very fine layers to settle, a total lack of bottom currents was required. The calm sea beds and lack of strong currents led to the accumulation of a large quantity of clay and organic material. As a result, the right conditions were created for the beds of laminated marl to today represent a vast repository of fossils which are often in excellent condition. The Whale of Santa Vittoria, which is today preserved in Alba’s F. Eusebio Museum, was found by the writer in this geological unit on the banks of the Tanaro.
Soil: WHITE, SILTY CALY LOAM, CALCAREOUS, SHALLOW, YOUNG
Above the geological formation, the ground has acquired the characteristics of laminated marls: a limited amount of sand, plenty of silt and clay, a high calcium carbonate content, and an enhanced supply of fossil organic carbon. It is classified among white soils, meaning that it is fairly young, and does not show the reddish hues of older soils thanks to the position of the vineyard on a fairly steep slope that does not allow the soil to accumulate and evolve. Here we encounter one of the particular features that characterize Monvigliero: normally the white soils in the Barolo growing area have fairly limited fertility because they have not been able to mature for a long time and develop the secondary mineral components that result in the increase in fertility that can, on the other hand, be observed in red soils. On the contrary, at Monvigliero the components derived from the laminated marls give rise to a good level of fertility, even though the soil is young and harsh. Furthermore, the high content of fine silts and clays gives the soil the ability to retain water during the dry summer phases, enabling the plant to develop regularly.
Climate and topographical framework: SOUTHERLY aspect; 220-280 m a.s.l. (722-918 ft a.s.l.); gradient of c.15%.
An aspect that marks this cru out is temperature. Its low altitude gives rise to big differences between the cold and hot seasons. In fact, temperatures of well below zero can be recorded during winter, whereas in mid-summer it can be very hot for many days. The area’s topography features low hills that link the plain of the River Tanaro to the valley of Barolo, so there are none of the strong winds experienced on higher slopes. The proximity to the river has an influence on Monvigliero’s climate. The hot temperatures that arise often and for long periods during the summer are linked to the hot and humid air that moves slowly from the plain of the River Tanaro towards the Rio Talloria valley. The absence of strong winds allows these masses of hot air to linger during the night as well.
By Edmondo Bonelli, naturalist