ALBERESE, a soil type defined by Tom Stevenson (2011) as ‘a compact clay and limestone found in the Chianti region.’ It is also found elsewhere (see below).
IN MONTALCINO | Francesco Leanza, former owner of Salicutti in Montalcino described the alberese in his (then) vineyards as ‘a sedimentary rock typical of the south eastern area of Montalcino. It is called alberese or the Santa Fiora formation, a stratified type of friable marl which is 86 million years old, very fragile, and was formed on the of the sea floor, a long way from here. It comprises clay, limestone and sand (like white crystals) and when broken flakes, and looks like like pastry leaves. It has a pH of 8.5.’
IN CHIANTI CLASSICO | Zonin’s website for its Castello di Albola in Radda in Chianti defines alberese as ‘fine-grained, compact limestone.’ Paolo Cianferoni of Caparsa in Chianti Classico says alberese is composed of ‘sedimentary compact limestone.’ Other descriptions include ‘a marl limestone with a high concentration of calcium carbonate.
IN COLLINE LUCCHESI | Saverio Petrilli of Tenuta di Valgiano calls alberese a calcareous clayey marl.
WINE STYLE | Sangiovese grown on alberese takes on a flinty mineral character, says Séan O’Callaghan.
Tom Stevenson (2011), The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia 5th Edition (Dorling Kindersley, 2011, p17).