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Today we offer the 2014 Barolo’s and 2016 Valmaggiore Nebbiolo d’Alba. There’s 2 Bottles of 2013 Aleste and 3 Bottles of Le Vigne up for grabs + the 2008 Barolo Cellar Release and 2012 Valmaggiore Cellar Release up for grabs.

When you hear of Luciano’s history in the industry the quality of his wines makes sense. Where many Barolista have been born into the industry Luciano’s family were carpenters, making furniture and repairing barrels.

He saw something else in his future, wine! With stints at Giacomo Borgogno, Marchesi di Barolo producing over 1 million bottles a year amongst others. He found himself gathering a breadth of experience, and, importantly the respect of many vineyard owners, who would later offer their lands to him.

Starting with limited vineyard experience, Luciano, released his first wine from the 1978 vintage and has since gradually accumulated land holdings across virtually all of the communes in Barolo, and, the Valmaggiore vineyard in the Roero.

In the early eighties together with the likes of Domenico Clerico, Roberto Voerzio, Enrico Scavino the Picoli Produttori was formed. In a way a new generation bucking the traditional wines of Barolo.

Reflecting on this I see great similarities to part of Burgundy where young winemakers have taken the reigns and without a doubt the ‘New World’. Why? A fascination with experimentation, using technology, new oak, lead to a dramatic change in the wines being produced.

In Australia, with no restrictions, we saw attempts to wedge 200% new oak into wines, push alcohols to new highs, whilst making wines so technically correct they were often devoid of personality.

Similarly, in Barolo, new oak barriques, stainless steel fermenters of all shapes and sizes, and, technologies that had not been used before were all introduced.

From a winemaking perspective, experimenting with these often requires going all in! Once a wine is in a new barrel it’s in! When you spend $100’s of thousands if not millions on equipment, you have to use it. You get to experiment once a year, then the full results of your experiment will only be know 10-15 years later after the wine has been bottled and allowed to age to a reasonable maturity.

Just like we are seeing balanced, fresh vibrant Chardonnay in Australia today after years of ‘Dolly Parton’ wines. The new wave of Barolista have over the years continued to refine their wines. Perhaps, their advantage, being an established base of old vines to work with. Giving them the depth of fruit and sophistication of tannin only possible from an old vine.

Today, most are reducing the amount of new oak they are using and bring back the large 1,100 to 5,500 litre Oak  Botti of the past which help the wines remain fresher whilst ageing and impart little oak character.

The earlier wines I tasted from many of these producers were out of balance. Perhaps the turning point came in the early 2000’s with many well on the way to making wines that are now much more an expression of their fruit than an oak tree!

Bartolo Mascarello would indeed be happy to see this!

About Sandrone’s Wines

“Le Garagiste”. Our story started in the 70s in our Family garage and since then it’s been brought forward with heart, commitment and much presence of mind. From the simple things, Sandrone’s philosophy was born. Today as much as yesterday, but with stronger and solid roots, we keep on doing our work well.

The suave, seamless texture, fine tannins and depth of flavour of these Barolos makes them some of the most sought-after wines of the region. With age, they are so polished, so pure, so seductive. Sandrone uses 500lt barrels (typically only 10% – 20% new), picks at very low yields and bottles his wines before they lose their freshness or purity. His wines are wonderfully intense and vibrant with ripe, fine tannins. They drink well young and age brilliantly. Like most of the greatest producers, he takes the best of the old school and incorporates the best of the new.
The wines are bright and beautifully sophisticated which we suppose is up to date, but many of the methods are essentially old school: organic viticulture (is that modern or traditional?), open-top fermentation tanks, elongated skin contact, natural yeast fermentation, no barriques and no additions, bottling without filtration, and so on.

Of course what is most important is that irrespective of fashion or style, Luciano Sandrone crafts wines of profound integrity, purity and deep expression. These are wines made with passion and honesty. They provide great drinking pleasure both when young and with bottle age. As a fastidious and naturally talented vigneron, Sandrone’s obligation to keep the unique signature of the terroirs alive is vividly captured in the wonderfully intense wines.

Sandrone’s Vineyards

Located in Barolo, in the heart of the Langa area, Sandrone plantings are spread across three communes in Barolo with Cannubi Boschis and Vignane in Barolo, Merli in Novello, Villero in Castiglione Falletto and Baudana in Serralunga d’Alba. The slopes are hostile, the soil is rich in structure but poor in substance and the sun is slower to set.

Beyond Barolo Sandrone has an outpost in the Roero Hills, approximately twenty kilometers from Barolo. At the beginning of the 90s, they discovered a beautiful steep terrain in Roero, with a softer structure; a cradle for the vine, a natural amphitheater so steep that the sun is able to warm it up also in winter, when it rotates lower on the horizon. This is Valmaggiore, where they have planted our Nebbiolo vines following the lineaments of the soil, respecting the orientation of the hill, looking for the perfect harmony with the territory.

What immediately struck me for a vineyard of this size, a permanent staff of 12 is employed. Having worked full hands on vineyards this is a ratio of staff to land near 50% higher than most, and, a clear indication of just how much work goes into the vineyard.

A Tale of 3 Nebbiolo’s

Sandrone’s three Nebbiolo’s represent quite distinct philosophies and sites.

The single vineyard ‘Valmaggiore’ from the Roero just north of Barolo region makes a wine that is at one extreme of Nebbiolo, elegant and feminine, Pinot-esque, whilst the Barolo’s, the multi-site ‘Le Vigne’ and Cru ‘Aleste’ previously named Cannubi Boschis rest at the other, bold, proud, yet with a sophistication and restraint that yields great poise and intrigue.

Historically Barolo, was just Barolo, it didn’t matter where it came from, a blend was made and a single wine released. Bartolo Mascarello the most well known proponent of this approach through all the evolutions that Barolo has seen over recent decades.

In recent times, single vineyard wines, known as Cru’s, have become the norm. This is no different to the wine 1er Cru’s of Burgundy that often ended up in the village wines.

The interesting point for Sandrone of the two Barolo they have one sitting in each camp.

The belief that the blend, delivers a wine that is better than the sum of its parts, and, for the Cru wine that a true, pure expression of the vineyard, the terroir will be poured into your glass.

At the end of the day. We’re not in the position to argue the toss, as we don’t have the components of the blend to try over time, nor do we have a  blended version of the Cru.

It makes for an intriguing comparison with winemaking in Australia. Some of Australia’s greats have based their wines on blending within a region, across regions and even states. Others have made their name on single vineyard wines. What remains constant is both, blended and single vineyard approaches, have produced outstanding wines.

Sandrone’s wines stand proud no matter the region, or, whether the wine was blended or single source! Read more about them in the reviews below.

To put this in context. I’ve drunk an incredible amount of Barolo and Barbaresco. Over the last year I’ve devoured 12 vintages of Giacomo Conterno’s Cascina Francia, 11 Cru Wine from Produttori Barbaresco, 3 from Domenico Clerico, 12 Cappellano’s both Pei Francesca and Rupestris, Monprivato, Gaja Barbaresco, Aldo Conterno’s Romirasco, Vietti’s Castiglione, and, several of Paolo Scavino’s Cru’s.

Below is a cast of Barbara talking through the 2013 releases and a number of back vintages of Sandrones wines. We spent half an hour chatting after the masterclass. She’s a wonderfully down to earth, passionate woman, who truly believes she’s lucky to share the experience of working the land with her family.

This offer has expired, wines are subject to availability. We'll do our best to satisfy your tastebuds.

Picolo Produttori, Luciano Sandrone's 2014 & 2013 Barolo & Sibi et Paucis, Cellar Releases

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  • I had to crack one of these after trying the Sandrone. It's a great comparison. Scavino's Cannubi is perhaps more rustic, both, are great wines. We sold out of our initial allocation, I had to buy more, hoping to put it in my cellar! You can get the full range of Scavino 2013 Cru's in the store.
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About the Wines

Luciano Sandrone 'Valmaggiore' Nebbiolo d'Alba 2016

From the Importer: This is far and away the finest vintage of Valmaggiore we have shipped, but more of that in a moment. For those new to this wine, 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, nothing to do with the more powerful styles of wine produced in the clay rich soils of Barolo and Barbaresco. The vineyard is farmed meticulously and organically, and a strict sorting occurs each year to reach the level of purity and intensity we see in the wine today. It’s from a truly great Nebbiolo vintage, but I also think that vine age is now making a major impact on the quality of this wine being released each year. As always, this is a wine of great finesse but there is added depth and flesh this year. Expect an incredibly fine yet intense palate with notes all kinds of small red and dark forest fruits, rose petals and anise. There’s a core of something bloody and a lick of powdery tannins to close. A wine of great finesse and perfume.

94 Points

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.

Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, Issue 237

Luciano Sandrone 'Valmaggiore' Nebbiolo d'Alba 2012 Sibi et Paucis (Cellar Release)

From the Importer: An absolutely superb Valmaggiore that is drinking beautifully. It’s starting to show some deliciously complex secondary characters such as tobacco, leather, spice on both the nose and palate while, in the mouth, it is fine, cool and long and with the kind of finesse we expect from top Burgundy!

92 Points

“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,”

Antonio Galloni

Luciano Sandrone Barolo 'Le Vigne' 2014

From the Importer: 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. As for the previous release, this wine now includes fruit from four communes: Barolo (Vignane), Serralunga (Baudana), Novello (Merli) and a new source in Castiglione Falletto – the renowned Villero. Sandrone has taken a long-term lease on 1.5 hectares of this latter cru (perhaps best known for Bruno Giacosa’s ‘Villero’ bottlings between 1978 and 1996). The vines here average around 30 years of age and Sandrone credits the Villero fruit as adding depth and structure to the blend. Regarding the winemaking, the wild yeast fermentation begins in tank before the malo 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 2013 lasted 26 months, followed by 18 months in bottle before release. Both Sandrone Barolos are bottled unfiltered. This is really a beautifully pure and classic Barolo from an estate at the top of its game. Yes, it’s a lighter year, but this simply means the wine will drink better earlier. Expect a savoury, open and complex palate loaded with dark fruits, forest pine and loads of tobacco. The balance and structure are spot on and I think may well age better than many expect. Regardless, it will make for wonderful drinking over the next decade. Obviously the Galloni note below steal our thunder. Simply a lovely Le Vigne.

96 Points

“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.”

Antonio Galloni

Luciano Sandrone Barolo 'Le Vigne' 2013

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. As for the previous release, this wine now includes fruit from four communes: Barolo (Vignane), Serralunga (Baudana), Novello (Merli) and a new source in Castiglione Falletto – the renowned Villero. Sandrone has taken a long term lease on 1.5 hectares of this latter cru (perhaps best known for Giacosa’s ‘Villero’ bottlings between 1978 – 1996). The vines here average around 30 years of age and Sandrone credits the Villero fruit as adding depth and structure to the blend. Regarding the winemaking, the wild yeast fermentation commenced in tank before the malo and aging in mostly used 500 litre French oak casks. The maturation in cask lasted 26 months, followed by 18 months bottle aging before release (ditto for the Cannubi Boschis).

Delicious

A wine of great poise, density and length. Although it has incredible power, there is a balance, restraint, and, harmony, that gives it elegance and immediate generosity. It's rich, layered with complexity and lovely fine tannins.

Paul Kaan - Wine Decoded

96 Points

The aromas to this young Barolo are vivid and bright with blueberry and stone character. Full body, chewy and polished tannins and a flavorful finish. Powerful and balanced. One of my favorites. Drink in 2021.

98 Points

Sandrone’s 2013 Barolo Le Vigne is a real stunner. Powerful, ample and deep, the 2013 exudes class from start to finish. The addition of Serralunga fruit in the blend has added depth and structure in all of the wine’s dimensions. Dark red cherry, plum, mint, rose petal, tar and licorice build into the huge, voluptuous finish. Readers who can find the 2013 should not hesitate, as it is outrageously beautiful and also one of the clear wines of the vintage. Vineyard sites are Baudana, Villero, Vignane and Merli.”

Vinous Media

96+ Points

"The 2013 Barolo le Vigne is another stellar achievement from Luciano Sandrone and his family. Since 2010, the blend for this wine has been tweaked just a bit to include more fruit from the Baudana cru in Serralunga d'Alba. This wine shows a ripe and succulent mouthfeel with ample richness and power that drives the wine smoothly over the palate. These darker qualities can be attributed to the Baudana fruit that is known for power and heft. Fruit from the Villero cru in Castiglione Falletto offers delicate perfumes and ethereal elegance. This vineyard site is home to loose, sandy soils. The combination of these two extremes is simply delightful."

Wine Advocate

Luciano Sandrone Barolo 'Le Vigne' 2008 Sibi et Paucis (Cellar Release)

From a classic vintage when harvest finished at the end of October, this is magic juice. Still relatively tight, especially on nose, it certainly will benefit from air and decanting. Serve it in a bigger glass as well. The notes below say enough about the outstanding quality on offer here. In 2008 this wine came from the vineyard sites of Vignane (Barolo), Merli (Novello), Conterni (Monforte) and Ceretta (Monforte).

97 Points

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.”

Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, Issue 237

97 Points

“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.”

ntonio Galloni, Vinous, Feb 2018

Sandrone Barolo 'Aleste' 2014 - Previously named Cannubi Boschis

From the Importer: The name of the wine may have changed, but Sandrone’s flagship Barolo is still, and will remain 100% Cannubi Boschis, the Barolo vineyard so synonymous with this grower. To be clear, Boschis is a particular terroir or vineyard area within the Cannubi hillThe Boschis subzone sits near the northern end of the hill and is located directly across from the Sandrone cellars. The cru (of which Sandrone farm 1.9 hectares of 37 year old vines), has a particularly good exposure to the south and southeast 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 winemaking for Aleste is a facsimile of the wine above, includes wild yeast fermentation with 20-30% whole bunches, ageing in mostly used 500 litre French oak casks, and bottling without filtration after 24-26 months. Again, the notes below give you more than enough descriptors. This is more tightly wound than the le Vigne above but still offers layers of creamy, ripe plummy fruit, with hints of tobacco and Amaro and a punchy, sappy finish. Really refined, classy, delicious Barolo.

93 Points

“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.”

Antonio Galloni

Sandrone Barolo 'Aleste' 2013 - Previously named Cannubi Boschis

ALESTE is the new name for Sandrone’s Barolo Cannubi Boschis. Giving all the experience, knowledge, patience and passion of his many harvests, Luciano pays tribute, with boldness and sensibility, to the next family generation: “ALESTE” is in fact the combination of the names of his grandchildren ALEssia and STEfano.

Over the last decade conflict has reigned upon the owners of Cannubi and the sub-regions, Cannubi-Boschis, Cannubi-San Lorenzo, Cannubi-Muscatel, and, Cannubi-Valletta. In question the naming of the main Cannubi vineyard and whether it’s status should be passed on the all the sub-regions.

With an established reputation, and, the confidence, or, perhaps wisdom of 40 years experience, the name change was opportune.

This site has been vinified separately by Luciano Sandrone since 1985, a decision that was instrumental in bringing the concept of single vineyard or “Cru” wines to the fore in Barolo. To be clear, Boschis is a particular terroir or vineyard within the Cannubi hill. The Boschis subzone sits near the northern end of the hill, and is located directly across the little valley from the Sandrone winery. The cru (of which Sandrone farm 1.9 hectares of 37 year old vines) has a particularly good exposure to the south and southeast in a small amphitheatre or “conca” that helps hold warmth in the early morning. Its soils are sea deposits of calcareous clay with good drainage. Highlighting the distinction in this terroir’s wines from the rest of the Cannubi hill, Alessandro Masnaghetti’s L’Enciclopedia delle Grandi Vigne del Barolo describes a Boschis wine thus, “The wines, in general, have good body, much elegance, and more polished tannins than other Cannubi wines.”

Superb

The purity of Aleste is striking. Incredible, incredible harmony, beautiful poise. Stunning flavours, incredible vibrancy, life, fruit that lingers forever.

Paul Kaan - Wine Decoded

95 Points

Extremely perfumed with blackberry and chocolate aromas. Hints of mushrooms. Full body, soft and velvety tannins and a long and flavorful finish. Shows wonderful potential. This replaces their Cannubi Boschis bottling. Better in 2020.

97+ Points

The 2013 Barolo Aleste is a wine of striking purity and nuance. It is also one
of the most finessed, vivid young Barolos I have ever tasted from Sandrone.
The translucence of Nebbiolo comes through loud and clear. Freshly cut
flowers, mint and finely cut fruit are some of the signatures. This wine has
developed beautifully in recent vintages as the oak influence is less than
it was just a few years ago. Beams of tannin and bright, salivating acidity
add finesse to this translucent, exceptional Barolo. Aleste is the new name
Sandrone is using for the Barolo formerly known as Cannubi Boschis.

Vinous Media

97 Points

"Formerly known as Barolo Cannubi Boschis (the last vintage by that name was 2012), the 2013 Barolo Aleste has been renamed to honor the youngest generation of the Sandrone family, Alessia and Stefano. The wine name Aleste takes the first three letters from each grandchild's name. The move represents the culmination of more than 50 harvests completed by this legendary winemaker and his desire to pass on the torch. His grandchildren are at different points in their respective viticulture and enology university studies. Now under a different name, the wine obviously shows the same delicate floral nuances that you get with this wine (fruit from Cannubi is always harvested first). This is a complete and exciting wine with delicate notes of wild berry and smoke backed by licorice and blue flower."

Wine Advocate

Sandrone Barolo 'Cannubi Boschis' 2008 Sibi et Paucis (Cellar Release)

While this is an outstanding vintage of Cannubi – rich yet classic, perfumed and so long – it’s still so young! Really needs another decade to hit its straps and for all of its elements to integrate.   Don’t get me wrong, still a great drink now, only the potential is huge.

96 Points

The 2008 Barolo Cannubi Boschis Sibi et Paucis is released ten years after the harvest. The Sibi et Paucis program of late releases sees only 1,500 bottles each of Cannubi Boschis and Le Vigne released to the market each year. This wine hails from one of the most overlooked vintages of the past decade, which, by the way, is showing absolutely beautifully right now. The bouquet offers savory tertiary notes with dried fruit followed by campfire ash, autumnal leaf and powdered licorice. The mid-weight mouthfeel is generous and rich with substantial volume and elegance on the long finish.”

Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate, Issue 237

95 Points

“The 2008 Barolo Cannubi Boschis, from Sandrone's library release program, is very, very young. It is also interesting to taste the 2008 today, as it was made during a time in which the wines were more overt and had greater French oak influence. The dark cherry, spice, leather and menthol notes are just beginning to show the first signs of the development that takes place in bottle. Even so, the 2008 remains fresh and silky, with quite a bit of power and textural breadth and reserve.”

Antonio Galloni, Vinous, Feb 2018