Perhaps the best way to describe the vineyard is as a jigsaw puzzle: tiny pieces of earth, each with their own characteristics of soil composition and water profile, fit together to make up the complete picture. It is only with the experience of many years and many vintages that one comes to recognise and to assess the complex whole whose final product is a wine. At Palazzone we are surrounded by vines. Within view of the city of Orvieto resting on its rocky outcrop, the vineyards cover the slopes between Rocca Ripesena and Il Romitorio at a height above sea level of between 210 and 340 metres, with aspects ranging from east to north-easterly. The Orvieto Classico grapes come from 18 hectares planted between 1970 and 1976. In 1986, after the great freeze of the previous year, we added a small vineyard of Cabernet which gave birth to Armaleo, though we did not realise then what enormous potential that little piece of land would have. A further 4 hectares were planted with new grapes varietals in 1991: Sauvignon for Muffa Nobile (noble rot), Viognier for L’Ultima Spiaggia, and Grechetto, a grape variety of great versatility. In these vineyards the vines have been planted much closer than is usually the case in this area; the density that this creates drives the plants to complete with each other for the nutritive elements and moisture in the soil and inhibits the growth of other vegetation, making the grapes more intense and complex than those produced from more traditional spacing. In 1999-2000, three additional hectares were planted with red varietals — Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon — to complete our range of wines. These vineyards are even more innovative because, in order to avoid the risk of surface erosion, we have set up a state-of-the-art drip irrigation system. At Palazzone we are always experimenting and testing new methods to explore and evaluate the potential of the terrain infact we are developing new vineyards, because we are in no doubt that it is the vineyard above all else that produces great wines.