Sandrone Valmaggiore Nebbiolo d'Alba 2017 - 750ml
92 Points Wine Advocate
With scorching heat and little rain overall, there was reason for worry during the 2017 growing season at large, but in the Roero zone by the banks of the Tanaro river, the hilly Valmaggiore vineyards received more rain than other parts of Piedmont, so these grapes did not suffer as much. Lovely notes of red rose and some herbal tones appear on the nose of the 2017 Nebbiolo d'Alba Valmaggiore, coupled with balsam, spice and rosemary. It's voluminous in the mouth, and while the Le Vigne Barolo tends to be the most floral and delicately ethereal of Sandrone's release, this bouquet is distinctive in its own way. It would be a nice pair with a mushroom risotto.
The 2017 Valmaggiore is all Nebbiolo from the sandier soils near Vezza d’Alba, brought up all in French oak.
Luciano Sandrone is one of the most iconic producers in Barolo, and his is both a well known and extraordinary story. He started to learn viticulture at the age of 14 or 15, and after years of work as a cellarman he depleted his life savings and purchased his first vineyard on the Cannubi hill in 1977, though he could only manage his land on the weekends while he continued to work. He made his first vintage in 1978, in the garage of his parents, and then spent years refining his ideas about how to make a wine of distinction and utmost quality that respected the traditions of Barolo while incorporating new ideas and understanding about viticulture and vinification. He made every vintage until 1999 at home, until the winery he constructed in 1998 was ready for use.
Sandrone's wines are sometimes described as straddling the modern and traditional styles in the region: elegant, attractive and easy to appreciate right from their first years in bottle, but with no less power and structure than traditional Barolos. Along with the extremely low yields in the vineyard and an obsessive attention to training, pruning and harvesting, Sandrone has a very rational approach in the cellar. This approach, however, is also unique and outside of simple classification: Sandrone subjects his wines to medium-length maceration period, shorter than traditional, but makes limited use of new oak in the maturation process, which takes place in 500 liter tonneaux, all signs of a more traditional approach in the cellar. The entire range of wines, all limited in production, are jewels of impeccably balanced concentration and precision, and the ability to age for long periods of time.
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