Luciano Sandrone is one of the 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. The new winery, built at the foot of the steep Cannubi hillside in the heart of the Barolo district, is characterized by the respect for tradition and desire for innovation that also define Sandrone wines. Luciano has devoted every fiber of his being towards cultivating the finest Nebbiolo expressions from his sites in Barolo and the Roero, and transmitting these expressions through his wines.
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.
“Extraordinary producers of Barolo, Luciano Sandrone and his wife worked at Marchesi di Barolo before acquiring a tiny plot of land outside their native village of Barolo in 1977. Theirs quickly became a cult wine, first with their 1982 and 1985 vintages. Then they made a wine that merited one of the first perfect scores I ever gave a Barolo, the 1990. There is attention to detail in the vineyard and in the winery at every level, and the results are wines that are hybrid creations, paying respect to both progressives and traditionalists.” Robert Parker, The World’s Greatest Wine Estates
“Luciano Sandrone is one of the leading lights in Piedmont. No grower has managed to so brilliantly reconcile modern and traditional approaches in making wines that are soft, supple and approachable when young, but also capable of aging beautifully.” Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate, November 2007
March 11th, 2013
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The Wine Advocate’s Executive Wine Seminars has hosted numerous Nebbiolo-based tastings over the years, showcasing the top Barolos and Barbarescos. In a turn from previous seminars, this year’s tasting focused on the finest examples of Barbera and Dolcetto. There were many in the spotlight with great reviews, one being Sandrone’s 2009 Barbera d’Alba with 93 points. See the full tasting note below or click here to read the full list of reviews.
2009 Barbera d’Alba (Luciano Sandrone) – 93 rating
“Impressive deep color. Gorgeous sweet, smoky, pheromone-like nose offers complexity and wonderful cherry and cassis fruit, with violet, minerals, and white pepper in the background. There’s a lot of oak in the nose and the overall feeling is that Sandrone took a modern approach with this Barbera. Equally impressive in the mouth, a huge, dense, concentrated, full-bodied, complex wine. The fruit is well-extracted and the structure is fortress-like. Maybe it’s “more Sandrone than Barbera,” but everyone loves this wine. Great length, too! A stellar candidate for the cellar and reasonably priced.”