A document in the family archives records that the San Martino Alfieri lands were “vineati a philari” (planted in rows) as far back as 1337. 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.
Barbera is an historic variety in Piedmontese winemaking. The first documented mention dates back to 1600, and in 1800 it was given the ampelographic classification “vitis vinifera montisferratensis”. Barbera vines contain five-lobed leaves of medium size and yield pyramid-shaped compact fruit clusters comprised of deep-blue oval-bodied grapes. Depending on the area and method of cultivation adopted, this variety can differ greatly in terms of volume of fruit and the presence of quality substances within the skin (colouring substances and tannins) are concerned. We use the Guyot vine training system. Short pruning (7 – 8 buds) and reducing the number of grape clusters by thinning in August are the basis for a quality crop. Wines produced from fruit grown in this manner are rich in colour, well-structured, smooth, and well suited for ageing in the bottle for lengthy periods.