Santo Iolo: “Inside the (once) sea of Umbria”
You should not be surprised if we say to you that we took this picture in our vineyards in Umbria. Out of curiosity we shared this picture with our wine maker, Maurilio Chioccia, and asked him to write a note about the origins of this soil and explain what effect that has on growing vines and making wine.
He told us that this type of soil is found in numerous spots especially on the left bank of the Tiber River as it flows towards Rome.
These lands, million years ago, were covered by the sea. The soil in which the remains of shells are embedded is fairly compact and friable on the surface (about 20 inches deep) though it is composed of several stratifications alternating soft and hard layers. This type of soil is very suitable for growing vines, both for red and white berry grapes. Grapes from this soil produce elegant, long-lived, fragrant white wines as well as reds of powerful color, texture and complexity.
This soil hardly ever suffers for droughts, that in recent years hit so many areas. The vines tend to remain fresh and the grapes enjoy a great benefit from this situation producing high quality fruits. The yields, in terms of grapes, are, naturally, always fairly small that is why we say “one vine one bottle” from our vineyards!