A document from the archives states that the lands of San Martino Alfieri have been planted in rows since as far back as 1337. The castle and estate have always been linked with a family history. In the Middle Ages, the castle belonged to the Solaro family, a Guelphic family of merchants and bankers. Since 1616 the Alfieri, a noble family from Asti, have resided there and cultivated the land and the vineyards.
The marvelous “sori” (sunny Piemontese slopes, in dialect) where 70 year old vines are planted, continue to produce grapes of the highest quality. In total, 21 hectares of vines of which 16 hectares are barbera and the rest divided between pinot nero, grignolino and nebbiolo. The vines cultivated according to the Guyot method, have produced over the years, a natural green leafy carpet. It is between July and August that a thinning of the grapes is carried out in order to improve the quality of the fruit.
The Alfieri family, lords of San Martino, are a part of the history of Piedmont and Italy. They include the architect Benedetto, the poet Vittorio, and the President of the Senate, Cesare Alfieri who took part in drawing up the Statuto Albertino in 1848. Giuseppina Cavour, niece of the great statesman, Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, married Marquis Carlo Alfieri, and it was Cavour who improved wine-growing in Piedmont and brought the Pinot Noir grape to San Martino. In 1982 Marquis Casimiro San Martino di San Germano, Alfieri’s cousin, received the property. Today, his three daughters, Emanuela, Antonella and Giovanna run the Marchesi Alfieri estate.
The Barbera grape is a historic vintage in Piedmontese viticulture. The first documents mention it as early as 1600 and it was in 1800 that the ampelographic classification “vitis vinifiera montisferratentis”. The Barbera vines have leaves with 5 medium-sized lobes which give tight, pyramid-shaped grapes with dark blue fruits. Depending on the place and the type of culture, this vintage can vary considerably in the volume of its fruits and quality substances in the peel (tannins and pigmentation). Reducing the number of grapes in August ensures a good quality harvest. The resulting wines have a rich color, are well structured, unctuous and can continue to mature in the bottle for an extended period.The estate’s beautiful “sorì”, (sunny slopes in Piemontese dialect), planted with 70 year old vines, are still producing grapes of the highest quality today. A total of 21 hectares are planted with vines, of which 16 hectares are Barbera with and the rest divided between Pinot Nero, Grignolino and Nebbiolo. The vines, cultivated with the Guyot system, create a leafy green carpet naturally selected over the years. Between July and August clusters of grapes are thinned out to reduce yield and improve the quality of the fruit.