Soil

All vineyards on the Estate share the same type of soil and climatic conditions. The soil is ocean floor, comprising of sedimentary clay, gravel sands and alluvial silt with marine fossils (sea shells and oysters).

Four million years ago during the mid-Pliocene age, this part of the Middle valley of the Tiber was covered by the Tyrrhenian sea which lapped the sides of the Apennine chain. The gradual retreat of the sea was due to tectonic movements, causing a general lifting of the area. Recently Archeologists from the University of Perugia discovered the fossilised remains of Sperm whales on the boundaries of property, which is now on display at the Allerona Musuem.

In addition, the paleontologists identified structures as 1.75million year old fossilised ambergris.  Ambergris, also known as 'floating gold', has been a popular perfume ingredient since ancient times. A solid, waxy and flammable substance, it is associated with sperm whales and the best quality are highly sought after. The discovery of these ambergris masses at the site contributed further knowledge to the sperm whale activity during this period and was a first fossil documentation anywhere in the world according to the article published in 2013 by Sci News. 

The gravel and the sands allow for excellent drainage, whilst encouraging the roots to go deeper for nourishment from the limestone formed from the marine fossils, rocks debris and sea water. The clay, which is produced from degraded limestone, acts as a sponge, retaining water, and adding calcium.

 

Climate

In general, the climate of Umbria is similar to that of Tuscany - cold, rainy winters and dry summers with abundant sunshine. There is an exception in the area between Lake Trasimeno and Lake Bolsena, where a mild, sub-Mediterranean microclimate dominates. The lakes moderate the climate both in cold and warm conditions because even shallow water has an effect of storing and releasing heat (thermal inertia), resulting in long summers and moderate winters.

Torre Bisenzio vineyards are located mid-way between these two lakes, resulting in similar climatic conditions to Bordeaux.

However all of these factors, temperature, sunlight and rain vary from year to year, which results in a diverse array of characteristics, which due to the organic production cannot be normalised in the winery.

The average temperature throughout the year is 18°C. The summer months, July, August and September are much higher, with an average temperature of 28°C. During the peak summer months of the growing season, temperatures can often spike to 35°C with clear skies 70% of the time. During the growing season, which takes place from April to late September, the vineyards receive about 1,400 hours of sunlight and the diurnal temperature variation can be up to 14°C.
The cool evenings (the diurnal shift) are also a help. During the night and early morning hours, it is common for temperatures to average 10°C. The chill in the night air adds the much needed acidity to the grapes.


Moisture is equally important. In an average year, there is close to 850mm of rain per year.


Wind is a moderate factor in the climate, as most of the time, wind speeds are modest, ranging from 5 mph to 9 mph, but can peak at 12 mph with the south-westerly winds. Whilst this gives good ventilation for the vines, it can also bring with it hail storms which can damage the vines.

 

Vineyard Details

Old Vineyard:  
Altitude 493-517 m
Exposure South
Grape Varieties Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grechetto, Sauvignon Blanc
Root stock 420A
Vines per hectare 5,200
Vine training Spurred Cordon
Row arrangement North, South
Planting distance  2.4m x 0.8m
Agricultural technique Certified organic by ICEA
Irrigation No
Harvesting technique Hand harvested
Yield per hectare 50hl/ha (6,500 bottles) for white grapes and 35 hl/ha (4,500) for red grapes

 

Torre Vineyard:  
Altitude 550-580m
Exposure East
Grape Varieties Sangiovese, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc
Root stock Sangiovese (110R), Petit Verdot (SO4), Cabernet Franc (SO4), Pinot Noir (SO4), Sauvignon Blanc (K5BB)
Vines per hectare 4,444
Vine training Spurred Cordon: Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc Guyot: Pinot Noir, Sauvignon blanc, Petit Verdot
Row arrangement East, West 
Planting distance  2.5m x 0.9m
Agricultural technique Certified organic by ICEA
Irrigation No
Harvesting technique Hand harvested
Yield per hectare 35 ha/hl (4,500 bottles)

 

Casa Alta Vineyard:  
Altitude 460-502m
Exposure East
Grape Varieties Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Grechetto
Root stock Paulsen 1103
Vines per hectare Sangiovese, Canaiolo - 4,000 ; Grechetto - 5,000
Vine training Spurred Cordon: Sangiovese, Canaiolo ;  Guyot: Grechetto
Row arrangement Steeper part West - East ; Flatter part North West - South East
Planting distance  Sangionvese, Canaiolo - 2.5m x 1m ; Grechetto - 2.5m x 0.8m
Agricultural technique Certified organic by ICEA
Irrigation No
Harvesting technique Hand harvested
Yield per hectare 35 ha/hl (4,500 bottles)