Luciano Sandrone Barbera d'Alba 2018
The Sandrone Barbera d'Alba comes from three vineyards: Merli and Rocche di San Nicola in Novello, and Cascina Pe Mol in Monforte d’Alba. It is widely considered one of the most intense and complex Barberas produced. Barbera by nature is a delicate and demanding grape varietal. A meticulous search throughout the area for the very best soils, agronomical decisions and particular attention to vinification enable Sandrone to reveal the very best qualities of this wine. He follows organic farming but has chosen not to seek certification. Minimal quantities of Bordeaux mixture and sulfur (as allowed per organic practices) are used to control mold and fungus, and fertilization every 4-6 years occurs with composted manure from dairy cows. Sandrone Barbera d’Alba is made to be a medium-weight wine that will drink well for a decade. It shows delicious and plump berry and black fruits. As Barbera possesses almost no natural tannins, the use of tonneaux gives the wine some much-needed structure. It is a perfect match with rich winter dishes as the bright acidity keeps it from being too heavy.
The Sandrone section of the Merli vineyard is a south-southwest facing bowl that catches the afternoon light perfectly. The wines made from here are earthy and robust, but with good aromatic complexity. Rocche di San Nicola is an extremely steep vineyard at the very end of the Novello promontory, just above the tall clay cliffs that plunge down to the streambed that flows toward Monchiero. It receives incredible sun and heat and is almost constantly breezy; it is thus perfectly situated for Barbera, which thrives in these conditions. The crumbling farmhouse (cascina) of Pe Mol sits at the top of the ridge leading from Monforte d’Alba to the hamlet of Perno and is among the highest vineyards in the region. Because it sits at the top of the ridge, it is unsuitable for Nebbiolo, a fickle plant which abhors windy conditions. At the top of the ridge, Barbera thrives, and slightly down the slope are excellent plantings of Dolcetto. From this lofty perch one can see the Monte Bianco, the Monte Rosa and the Cervino on a clear day (Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn, respectively).
|Region||Italy, Piedmont, Barbera d'Alba|
Wine AdvocateThe Luciano Sandrone 2018 Barbera d'Alba is a wine of remarkable smoothness and integration. There are absolutely no sharp edges here, as this Barbera is polished and buffed over twice for good measure. It is packed tight with luscious dark fruit and blackberry preserves. That dark core is framed by light touches of Indian spice, campfire ash and truffle. There is a note of cherry sweetness on the close, but it is beautifully softened by all that rich intensity. If you are a fan of the Barbera grape, let me draw your attention to this tremendous value.