Luciano Sandrone 2014 Barolo

From his first vintage in 1978 Luciano Sandrone set out to make a more approachable and drinkable Barolo. No one has managed to bridge tradition and innovation as brilliantly as Sandrone, rendering pointless any of the typical arguments in favor of one winemaking philosophy over the other. Over the years Sandrone has turned out a stunning group of wines, often reaching stratospheric heights. Although Sandrone’s wines are accessible when young, they also age beautifully as is demonstrated by the wines from the 1980s. Yet as magical as the older wines can be, Sandrone believes his recent releases are even better saying “today we know so much more about how to work in the vineyards and in the cellar.” I consider Luciano Sandrone’s Cannubi Boschis to be one of a handful of benchmark wines for the region, well worth the effort of finding and cellaring. ANTONIO GALLONI

The achievements and the status of Luciano Sandrone have been well-documented over the years. His pioneering efforts to modernise the production of his Baroli joined a groundswell of contemporaries in radically refashioning the style and (for many) the consistency of great Barolo. His most significant vineyards are of course the Cannubi Boschis (actually taken from three plots in the Monghisolfo portion of Cannubi) and then there is his excellent blended Barolo, Le Vigne, which is sourced from a variety of plots – Vignane (Barolo), Conterni and Ceretta (Monforte) and Merli (Novello). Both are superb expressions with Cannubi tapping the majestic nature of the site with plushness and lightness allied to real power, while the blend offers a more rustic and multi-angled view of the variety.

The other wine of real interest from the stable is the Roero Valmaggiore; a stunning site for it’s steepness and aspect. The wine is also a passion play for Sandrone who realised the potential for nebbiolo in this zone long before many others (locals excepted) and went about buying out several smaller farmers to create the one plot. This “baby Barolo” offers a gateway of the Sandrone geneius with nebbiolo without the price tag. PWS

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