Ah yes, twas yet again another fantastic session at the Prince Wine Store in Bank Street, South Melbourne.
They held a tasting of eight wines from the meticulous producer Luciano Sandrone in Piemonte. His are wines I have yet to look at in a back-vintage line-up so I was super keen to do this Masterclass with a group of randoms to see what we would be looking at.
The last time I’d seen Sandrone’s wines was back in 2008 at ‘The Greatest Tasting of my Life‘ and more recently in January at the ‘2011 Lorenzo Galli Wine Scholarship-Day 1 Tasting‘. Both times I have looked at his Cannubi Boschis Barolo, which was interesting for me to realise and compare notes back. Either way, he is seemingly an excellent producer and the ability to understand the story behind his production, gradual collection of vineyards and philosophy behind his wines was truly a beautiful opportunity to be able to share.
All in all we were a group of about fifteen…yet again, I was the only female. Why aren’t other women onto this? There’s not that many places you can hang out and drink with just men and not get teased for it!? Meh! Maybe I’ll just keep it my little secret…shhhh
Antonio Galloni provides a lovely spiel on Luciano Sandrone:
“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 versus 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 yong, they also age beautifully as is demonstrated by the wines from the 1980′s. 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.
Sandrone is one of the most meticulous producers I have ever met. He tends to his vineyards and winery with extraordinary passion and precision. Sandrone’s plots are in the Cannubi Boschis (also known as Monghisolfo) vineyard, a seven hectare stretch which lies on the same hillside as Cannubi. The estate’s holdings are divided into three sub-plots which have slightly different characteristics, and are therefore harvested and vinified separately. The most south-facing plots and this producer’s preference for very low yields result in rich, concentrated wines that represent contemporary Barolo at its very best.
And delightful they were!
Luciano Sandrone DOLCETTO D’ALBA 2009 – AU$39
Crimson and bright magenta, plum and myrtle bouquet, tight with thinner flavour than is normally found in this wine, slight bitterness to the finish. I’d have preferred it with a little more richness in flavour.
Luciano Sandrone BARBERA D’ALBA 2008 – AU$65
More dense garnet with a crimson rim, 50% new oak treatment interestingly. Pointed but oily acidity, super dark coffee and raspberry notes, persistent, dark and brooding weight.
Luciano Sandrone VALMAGGIORE NEBBIOLO D’ALBA 2008 – AU$85
From the Roero side of things, which I’m enjoying like the Renato Ratti Occhetti vineyard. Pale ruby hue, lifted nose, tobacco leaf, cooled in the night blueberries and a white chocolate nose. On the palate I got fennel seeds and this awesome character I like (because I like weird smells) when you have just finished racking a red wine out of tank and then stick your head inside…y’know? Intoxicating after the Barbera. Christian Maddalena says this wine has ‘the ability to enchant‘. I think a number of us really enjoyed this wine.
Luciano Sandrone BAROLO LE VIGNE 2006 – AU$235
This is the result of Luciano Sandrone’s Traditional vision for what Barolo should be and it shone beautifully in its own right. It is a blend of several small parcels of vines from Vignane (Barolo), Merli (Novello), Conterni (Monforte) and Ceretta (Monforte). More fruity and open than the Cannubi Boschis, it still had a gorgeous sage, thyme herbaceousness, dark chocolate notes and a vibrancy in its youth. The tannins were squeaky and mounting.
Luciano Sandrone BAROLO CANNUBI BOSCHIS 2006 – $245
This was my youngest highlight. It was still more closed than Le Vigne, but the palate nods towards the mushroom spectrum with prosciutto, cigar box, with tight, finer tannins and overall and underlying minerality absent from Le Vigne. This wine has been vinified separately since 1985 and amounted to great international acclaim for Luciano Sandrone with the cru concept coming to the fore.
Luciano Sandrone BAROLO LE VIGNE 2005
A cooler vintage and thus a more conservative expression of the vineyard. Richer, dense with Mostaccioli (chocolate and spices) aromas. Slightly furry tannins, still tightly wound, a forest floor and porcini finish. Needs a lot more time. Hint of mintyness.
Luciano Sandrone BAROLO LE VIGNE 2000
Banging wine. Slight oranging to the rim. Toasty, vegemite vitamin B pong (in a good way, again, recall I like weird smells), coffee and walnuts, asphalt, tannins still driving through and carrying off the flavour, so powerful with a strong impact up front, steering off towards a gentle but herbaceous finish.
Luciano Sandrone BAROLO CANNUBI BOSCHIS 2000
Hint of nail varnish, orange peel, ground coffee, dried bresaola, caramel, more straight forward than Le Vigne. Finer tannins again and more of a brightness to the finish. Both the 2000′s were intriguing wines, seriously how many aromas can you pull from it!?
Holy shit these wines were ridiculously good and might I add, the prosciutto they had to eat was amaaaaazzzzzing!! I forgot to ask where they got it from but it HAD to be San Daniele. Delicious stuff.
The company was wonderful and how’s this for complimenti? Cristiano the marketing manager of Luciano Sandrone was a delight and at the end when I went to him to thank him for the evening and for answering my questions I had said, ‘E’ stato un piacere‘ (it was a pleasure) to which he grabbed my hand and kissed it. Ahhh Italian men! You know the right moves!
**All wines available from the Prince Wine Store**