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in the heart of Roero



Roero soils originate in the same way as all the hills of lower Piedmont–with the shifting of the ancient seabed of the Golfo Padano, the inland sea that covered the area. This lengthy process took place during long periods of calm with the slow deposit of fine particles (Tortonian) alternating with periods of draining and the formation of extensive salt deposits (Messinian chalk-sulfur formations) or during periods of greater turbulence with deposits of coarser particles (late Messinian and Astian).

Once these formations were definitive, coarser sedimentary particles were transported by river and finer sediments were deposited by wind, covering the Tertiary Piedmontese Basin during the Quaternary period.

The 'capture’ of the Tanaro

Beginning about 220,000 years ago, the original Roero plateau, unlike the Langhe or Monferrato, was subjected to a ‘rejuvenating’ geomorphological phenomenon caused by a change in the course of the Tanaro river. This phenomenon prompted a sharp erosion of the original layers of rock, giving rise to the spectacular formations known as the Rocche del Roero that traverse the entire area.

The river, which from its confluence with the Stura previously ran north, was 'caught’ by a smaller flow of water that was progressively eroding a channel westwards. Once it backed up as far as the Tanaro, it provided the Tanaro with a permanent diversion eastwards, since it ran downhill, involving the Stura at the same time.This phenomenon of ‘river capture’ is responsible for the impressive erosion that contributed to rapidly deepening the narrow ravines of Roero waterways, exposing the deepest layers of rock.




These deposits are the oldest–about 10 million years old–formed on the seabed of a moderately deep and calm sea. They are composed of blue-grey marl, occasionally alternating with layers of sand. Tortonian soil is prevalent along the southeast edge of Roero, in the areas bordering the Tanaro.


Messinian was the next layer to form–about five or six million years ago–as the sea withdrew and water rapidly evaporated.Here are large deposits of mineral salts, especially chalk, alternating with sheets of marl.


This is the largest of the Pliocene deposits. The first part is composed of compact deposits of blue-grey clay (Lugagnano clay). The upper strata are more recent and are yellow-grey sandy marl, typical of shallow seas and indicators of the succeeding Astian sand layers.


With its prominent sand layers Astian age deposits are the main component of the Roero hills and the last outcrop of marine deposits in the area.
They are the result of sedimentation in a by-then-shallow sea and feature the yellow, easily-erodible sand that characterises the Rocche.



Starting from the edge of the Rocche these stony clay deposits cover the entire Poirino plateau. They are alluvial deposits covered to a greater or lesser extent by wind-deposited sand. Oxidation causes the reddish colour of the soils in these areas.


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Sru (Cerruto)

On the hill south of Canale are vineyards positioned on clay (Piacenzian) and sandy (Astian) substrates.These soils are light-coloured, chalky, with compositions that go from sandy loam to silty loam depending on the slope and the presence of sandy layers. These soils have a high pH, medium potassium content and a high content of calcium and magnesium.


Renesio is the main hill of Canale, dominating the city from the north. The prevalent substrate is Astian, but halfway up the hill, there are occasional outcroppings of Piacenzian blue-grey clay. The soil is sandy silt with a significant limestone content, high pH and high levels of calcium and magnesium.

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These vineyards are on Astian sand with Lugagnano clay outcroppings. The soil is pale, mostly silt loam, medium-chalky and has a high pH. These soils have high calcium content, with significant potassium and medium amounts of magnesium.

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