Tavernelle & Santa Restituta are sub-zones in the south western part of Montalcino, Tavernelle being a hamlet and Santa Restituta being the name of an abbey (‘pieve‘).
Sea influences: Both Tavernelle and Santa Restituta are directly influenced by the Tyrrhenian sea to the west, although less intensely than the Camigliano area which is even further to the west. Some claim sea breezes can give the wines a briney or ‘salmastro’ note.
Soils: Enzo Tiezzi told me on 09th April 2015 that ‘this is a terroir which is still forming, or evolving because it is comprised of that which is still being washed down on to it, meaning Pliocene era sediments of clay, sand and stones. So despite being only 2 kilometres (1.24 miles) as the crow flies from the Argiano sub-zone [to the south] these are very different terroirs. The clay component promotes good maturation but also potentially high alcohol levels [see above] and can render the soil compact.’
Kerin O’Keefe (WFW 11 2006) makes the point that ‘while much of the soil in Tavernelle consists of marine deposits, clay, and sand from the Pliocene period, soils at the likes of Gianfranco Soldera’s Case Basse vineyards – at 1,050ft (320m), near [Angelo Gaja’s Pieve] Santa Restituta – are predominantly clay and rock from the Eocene period.’
Mescoclimate: As vineyards with westerly exposure get the full force of the sun from midday onwards a suitable rootstock choice would be Richter 110 for its drought tolerance rather than shallower-rooting and thus less drought-resistant riparia-based rootstocks like Millardet et de Grasset 420A. Climate change has brought quicker ripening which means deleafing in the run up to harvest may produce grapes with higher levels of extract and more structured wines, but at the risk of excess potential alcohol.
Certified organic: Villa i Cipressi.
Kerin O’Keefe., ‘Brunello’s moment of truth’, World of Fine Wine 11 2006 p.78