The oldest vines give their best on sparse land.
Clay, tuff, ancient limy river pebbles, sandstone and almost forty-year-old vines give us the finest grapes.
We are in Montalcino, in the hamlet of Castelnuovo dell’Abate.
The 13th century observation tower which then became the Poderi Loreto and San Pio culminates on the hill at a height of 400 metres, two kilometres from the Orcia River mouth, between the Rocca d’Orcia and Castiglione d’Orcia.
The vineyards look to the south, south-east, some to south-west. The woods and steep rocks are dispersed like leopard spots. Each has its own geological characteristic: those to the south-east have more clay and tuff with sandstone inserts. The river conglomerate with limy pebbles can be found in the south and south-west facing vineyards.
These are in any case very sparse lands with very low yield which require the vines to have years and years of rooting in order to reach the nutrients they need. For this reason the oldest vines give the best wines, such as that from the famous vigna Cru Schiena d’Asino which takes its name from the shape of the hill, positioned south-east to south-west.
Schiena d’Asino and other vineyards have even more plants than they did in 1975. As one died it was substituted with a new vine to maintain the average age of the vineyard for as long as possible.