Località Camigliano is a hamlet in the extreme west south west of Montalcino, surrounded by woody hills and sandstone ravines.

History: Camigliano was an Etruscan settlement in pre-historic times. Ian D’Agata (2019, p.290) cites a document from A.D. 948 of a sale by Abbott Devoto of the Abbey of Sant’Eugenio to a ‘camugliano’, or someone seemingly from Camigliano. In the early medieval period it probably belonged to the Ardengheschi, until it entered under the influence of Siena in the 12th-century. In 1330 it was destroyed by the Republic of Pisa and later became a farm of the Hospital of Saint Mary della Scala. The heart of the village is the archway square with its central well.

Population: In 2001 there were 26 inhabitants. 

Terroir: Camigliano is at 234 metres (767 feet) above sea level, with vineyards at 250-280 metres (820-918 feet) according to Ian d’Agata (2019, p.290). Kerin O’Keefe (11 2006, p78-9) describes Camigliano as a ‘hot and arid subregion, where wines can easily take on overripe characteristics. Even at higher altitudes, the soil is predominantly clay and Pliocene deposits.’ The soils here have among the lowest limestone levels couple with the highest clay levels in Montalcino, leading to water stress because the type of clay found ‘here releases water with difficulty,’ says D’Agata )2019, p.290). 

Being near the Ombrone river there are pudding stones in the soil. Enzo Tiezzi told me on 09th April 2015 that the Camigliano zone has a saline soil, meaning acid precipitates quickly in the wines due to the presence of magnesium, potassium and calcium, and this may account for the saline or briny (‘salmastro’) taste the wines show, rather than the effect Meditarranean sea-breezes may have [MW: also if salty-tasting tartaric acid is being added as a corrective this may also have an effect of the salty feel of the wines]. The wines can lose their colour. The stony soils may also account for a potential lack of longevity. Paolo Vagaggini (16 April 2015) summed up his thoughts thus: ‘Camigliano has three negative points: the sea air, the hot climate (being west-facing, Camigliano gets full sun in the hottest part of the day), and the salty soil. The wines can have 15% alcohol but with tannins which are nevertheless unripe.’ Regarding the supposed effect of the sea air, Camigliano is 44 miles (70 km) from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the east. Quite far away, in other words. A review of available research by Lorenzo Landi suggested Camigliano’s climate (heat units, rainfall) was not dissimilar to other areas in Montalcino like Sesta which is reputed to be slightly cooler (D’Agata, 2019, p.290). 

Wine style: ‘Idiosyncratic wines whose idiosyncrasies are not always understood, especially when young. Never short on power, downright chunky in some vintages, can have relatively low acidity, lack freshness in especially hot, dry weather’ (D’Agata, 2019, p.290)

Wineries

Certified organic: Camigliano. | Castelgiocondo. | Collelceto. | Cupano.

No certification: Aglieta. | Marchesato degli Aleramici (‘Il Galampio’). | Pian delle Vigne. | Tenuta La Fuga.

Bibliography

Guelfo Magrini, Brunello di Montalcino, (Morganti Editori, 2003), English edition. p144-145.

Dr Ian d’Agata, Native Wine Grape Terroirs (University of California Press, 2019), p290-292.

Kerin O’Keefe, ‘Brunello’s moment of truth’, World of Fine Wine 11 2006.