1999 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne- Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barolo (11/16/2019)
Decanted for 4 hours and followed for several hours more paired with simple pasta, Parmesan, and olive oil. Medium garnet color with rusty scarlet hints. Striking, insistent nose of rose petals, camphor, tar, and earth. Vibrant but elegant, satin-textured layers of strawberry, dark cherry, red plum, tar, and anchoring stone. Energizing acidity and smoothed tannin. Long finish of deep-seated red fruit, ringing acidity, asphalt, and slow grip. A beautiful wine. (93 pts.)
Only 93 points? Your description sounds like a 96-98 pointer. Was there something holding you back on scoring? (I like Sandrone, and own a fair amount. What tends to hold me back somewhat is a certain slickness or homogeneity. One of my wine friends can spot them a mile away-says that every bottle of Sandrone tastes the same to him.)
John, I agree with you. I like the wines, but I find them too polished, and, as a result, the alcohol shows. The last one I opened was a 2001 Le Vigne about a month ago. It drank beautifully and it was slick. I bought the 2014 last year with the intention of drinking it right away, but I haven’t gotten around to it.
I thought this bottle showed very well, and 93 points is pretty high for me I guess (same score as 2001 Meo Clos de Vougeot and 1993 Pio Cesare Barbaresco Il Bricco in the last year for example). I also think the wine will improve significantly, as most 1999’s will in my estimation. I have always enjoyed Sandrone even though the profile of these wines is as you say very different than that of many, more traditional producers. FWIW the number one producer in the Piedmont section of my cellar is Giacosa, and the number two producer is Sandrone.
Like Doug, Giacosa is my number 1 Piedmont producer, but I adore Sandrone. The wines are consistently very floral, which I prize. Plus I find the quality highly consistent across decades, which isn’t the most common trait in Italy. But boring? Never.
There doesn’t seem to be much talk of Sandrone here. We had a delightful visit in Piedmont over 10 years ago with his daughter, Barbara. For some reason, when I think about opening a Barolo, I overlook Sandrone.
“FWIW the number one producer in the Piedmont section of my cellar is Giacosa, and the number two producer is Sandrone.”
Well, Doug, we have that in common!
I have always liked Sandrone. As primarily a Burgundy drinker, the aromatics and mouthfeel and a certain “freshness” of fruit (if that makes any sense) appeal to me.
Thanks for your reply. Yes there is certainly a lot of detail and texture to the palate which I have enjoyed when sampling Sandrone. And the nose on this showing was incredible.
We also had the privilege of visiting the winery, back in 2004. Luca spent three hours with us (we sampled the 2000s) and introduced us to his Mom. The winery hired an interpreter for our visit on their own, which floored us. The next day Luca’s Mom spotted us on the street in Barolo and waved excitedly like we were old friends. We will not soon forget their gracious hospitality.