AND CLIMATIC FRAMEWORK
Geological substrate: SANT’AGATA FOSSIL MARL in transition to DIANO SANDSTONE; 9 million years old (TORTONIAN STAGE).
The Bussia cru is one of the most extensive in the Barolo growing area, approaching 300 hectares. The vineyards are located in the upper part of Bussia: Sant’Eligio, Fantini and, starting from 2018, Bussia Soprana (Gabutti hamlet). In this area the Sant’Agata Marl is interlaced with the Diano Sandstone that forms the substrate of the village of Monforte. The vineyards are therefore framed within an area of contact between the two formations, though the marl component clearly prevails.
Soil: WHITE, SANDY SILT LOAM, SKELETAL, MODERATELY CALCAREOUS, YOUNG.
The contact between the two formations is evident in the soil. The marl represents the largest share, while the presence of the subordinate sandstone is displayed in the not infrequent stones of no more than several centimetres in size, and the fairly high sand content compared to exclusively marly soils. The presence of sandstone also has a bearing on the content of active calcium carbonate, which is considerably lower here. Its light colour is an indication of a young soil which has not been affected by evolution, and its shallow depth is due to the gradient not allowing soil to accumulate. All of these properties might seem to suggest rather “barren” vineyards, but that is not the case in this area. Indeed, the modest content of active calcium carbonate does not limit the absorption of nutrients by the vines, which are able to develop with a degree of “comfort”.
Climate and topographical framework: SOUTH-WESTERLY aspect; 370-410 m a.s.l. (1214-1345 ft a.s.l.); gradient of c.20%.
The vineyards are situated in two distinct areas. The first is to be found on the western side of the ridge of Monforte, in the vicinity of the arenaceous escarpment surrounding the road to Castiglione Falletto. The proximity to the sandstone is significant for the ecology of the vine. The rocks formed of sandy beds are highly permeable to water, which can penetrate in depth, coming into contact with the marl lying underneath. Marls are much more impermeable than sandstone, so an aquifer is created, generating numerous springs. An example is the “fontana di Sant’Eligio” near our vineyards. As a result, the vines growing in the area of contact between the two formations hardly ever suffer from drought, even during the driest phases. The fairly high altitude marks out the vineyards in question from the rest of the area of Bussia, making the climate fairly cool in summer and less cold during winter temperature inversions. However, the west-facing aspect guarantees sufficient sourcing of light and heat for optimal ripening to be reached.
The second area borders on the Gabutti hamlet. This is the most classic of Bussia settings, with a southwest-facing aspect at an altitude of 370 m, while the soil is the same as the vineyards higher up. The microclimate here is therefore warmer with less availability of water, as the vineyards lie towards the top of the hill and are no longer in the vicinity of the beds of sandstone.
By Edmondo Bonelli, naturalist