2002 Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne

Who in their right mind would have purchased 2002 Barolo (aside from Monfortino)? Well, ahem, me–at least a little bit. I bought two bottles of the Sandrone at the behest of my friend and wine merchant, Dan McCarthy, long ago. Last night I needed a few glasses of interesting but not too precious red wine, so I thought I’d give it a try. About a one hour decant-moderate amount of sediment, it had been standing up for about a week.

I was actually very pleasantly surprised. Dark garnet color–darker than usual. A surprisingly fruity nose–darker fruits, some leather and tar, a slight stemmy woodiness, which doesn’t exactly LEAP, but does waft forth from the decanter nicely. Similar notes on the palate, actually very nice balance, tannins have a slight bit of dark grumpiness but have actually integrated pretty well. Overall quite enjoyable–probably in the 90-92 range if I were a scorer. I would imagine that this one might puzzle folks a bit if tasted blind.

24 hours later, green smoky tannins are much more prominent and the fruit has receded somewhat. Not so appealing any longer. Don’t anyone go out and buy any 2002’s.

In Dan We Trust!


Fascinating. Thanks for the report, John.

It was a miserable, wet summer. But I was curious where the vineyards are, because there was awful hail along the ridge in Castiglione (which includes Villero) and in Annunziata in La Morra, near the winery, in early September 2002. I was there in mid-September and there were places where the leaves had been stripped right off the vines.

Sandrone’s website says the Le Vigne comes from Baudana in Serralunga d’Alba, Villero in Castiglione Falletto, Vignane in Barolo and Merli in Novello. Perhaps the mix of sites, including some well away from the worst hit areas, meant they had more decent fruit.

John–I presume the cannubi boschis grapes were also included in 2002 as they didn’t make this wine in 2002. I have no idea how those grapes fared. Again, the wine surprised me a bit. I’ll hold my other bottle for a few more years as in looking at prior reviews it appears to have grown a bit. Actually not bad for a terrible year.

Hey, after 40 years, I know Dan’s palate (perhaps as well or better than Steve Tanzer does) and his overall retail practices extremely well. There are few wines that perhaps I really shouldn’t have bought, but a great many that were a revelation and a steal, or an introduction to a fabulous new producer.

I would never besmirch Dan, known him for almost 20 years now and respect his palate and business, both as a customer and him as my customer with Young’s from rep to my role today.

He’s like family.