This year's harvest marked Luciano Sandrone's 40th vintage under his own label (with many more beforehand as a grape grower). This spectacular achievement underlines how much of a revered and iconic producer he has become over the years, from virtually pioneering single cru wines in the region to producing consistently dazzling offerings year after year, the estate's offerings never cease to impress. We were lucky to taste Luciano’s wines just recently, and are proud to offer the stunning 2014 release both in bottle and MAGNUM, plus the rare Sibi et Paucis museum wines - all the details below. Enjoy!
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2016 Valmaggiore Nebbiolo d’Alba - $76 per bottle ; $168 per MAGNUM
The Sandrone family farm a continuous, three-hectare vineyard in the Valmaggiore area of the Roero that they planted themselves in early 1990’s. This is an extremely steep (50% gradient in places), spectacularly beautiful, terraced vineyard planted to a high density of 8,000 vines per hectare. The soil here, comprised of almost pure sand, littered with limestone fossils (i.e. it is chalky sand), gifts a remarkably perfumed and elegant expression of Nebbiolo.
“… The 2016 Nebbiolo d'Alba Valmaggiore is particularly beautiful, thanks to ideal growing conditions during that year. The Sandrone family counts 3.5 hectares in this location. As an alternative to Barolo, this wine presents a soft and graceful side of Nebbiolo with delicate fruit nuances and distinct mineral etchings. Indeed, the wine is almost salty in taste. The sandy soils of Valmaggiore contribute to shaping the wine's lively ruby appearance and those tangy wild berry aromas. This wine is only aged in neutral oak.” - 94 points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
2014 Barolo Le Vigne - $215 per bottle ; $440 per MAGNUM
A blend of several small parcels of vines from a number of communes, Le Vigne is Luciano Sandrone’s ode to “traditional” or blended Barolo. All of the sites that go into Le Vigne are markedly different in terms of altitude, soil and exposure, and together they help provide a broad overview of Barolo in a given year. The wine includes fruit from four communes: Barolo (Vignane), Serralunga (Baudana), Novello (Merli) and a new source in Castiglione Falletto – the renowned Villero cru. Sandrone’s Barolo are wild yeast fermented, and ageing occurs in mostly used, 500 litre French oak casks. Approximately 20-30% of the fruit is fermented in whole bunches with the destemmed portion of the fruit also having a very high percentage of whole berries. The maturation in cask for the 2014 lasted 26 months, followed by 18 months in bottle before release. Both Sandrone Barolos are bottled unfiltered.
“The 2014 Barolo Le Vigne once again shows the wisdom of blending fruit from different sites. If there is a vintage where blending has the potential to be the difference-maker, 2014 is it. So it is hardly surprising to find the 2014 Le Vigne in such great shape. The red cherry jam, mint, cedar and floral notes are all finely sketched. Medium in body and classy, the 2014 is beautifully textured and inviting from start to finish. All the elements are simply in the right place. Vineyard sources are Merli, Vignane, Villero and Baudana.” - 96 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
2014 Barolo Aleste - $238 per bottle ; $485 per MAGNUM
The name of the wine may have changed but Sandrone’s flagship Barolo is still, and will remain 100% Cannubi Boschis. Boschis is a particular terroir within the great Cannubi vineyard located at northern end of the hill directly across from the Sandrone cellars. Sandrone’s plot is located in a small amphitheatre or “conca” that helps hold warmth in the early morning. Its soils are sea deposits of calcareous clay with some sand and therefore excellent drainage. Highlighting the uniqueness of the wines from this terroir compared to the rest of the Cannubi hill, Alessandro Masnaghetti’s L’Enciclopedia delle Grandi Vigne del Barolo writes, “The wines, in general, have good body, much elegance, and more polished tannins than other Cannubi wines.”
“The 2014 Barolo Aleste is a wine of exquisite finesse and grace. Soft, understated and classy, it is a terrific example of the vintage at its best. Bright red cherry and red plum fruit give the wine its vibrant feel. In 2014, the Aleste is decidedly medium-bodied and restrained, especially compared to recent past vintages. Readers should keep in mind that Aleste is the new name for the Cannubi Boschis Barolo.” - 93 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
2012 Valmaggiore Nebbiolo d'Alba - $98 per bottle ; $198 per MAGNUM
“Freshly cut roses, sweet red cherries, wild flowers and cinnamon all lift from the glass as the 2012 Nebbiolo d'Alba Valmaggiore shows off its polished, refined personality. This is an especially, weightless Nebbiolo built on perfume, silkiness and harmony,” - 92 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
2008 Barolo Le Vigne - $295 per bottle
“Thank you, Luciano Sandrone for reminding us so vividly of the magnificence of this vintage. The 2008 Barolo Le Vigne Sibi et Paucis comes from a vintage that was sandwiched between other blockbuster years such as 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010. This is an excellent expression that excels in the delivery of both power and elegance. These are the two cornerstones of this remarkable wine. Le Vigne is a blend of fruit from various cru sites spanning various townships within the greater Barolo appellation. The percentages of fruit per township (Serralunga d'Alba vs Monforte d'Alba, for example) is adjusted according to the specifics of the vintage. That inherent flexibility is exactly what makes this wine so special. Dark fruit segues to lighter tones of ash, grilled herb and dried fruit. The tannins are silky and long.” - 97 Points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate
“A model of finesse and understatement, the 2008 Barolo Le Vigne is every bit as thrilling as it has always been. At nearly 10 years of age, the 2008 is still bright, precise and very fresh. Sweet red cherry, rose petal and mint notes are beautifully sketched in a Barolo that is pure and total class. In 2008, vineyard sources are Vignane,” - 97 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous