Sunday, February 9, 2014

Sandrone Superlative

Founded in 1978, the Sandrone winery has been synonymous with grand Barolo ever since.  Now run by brothers Luciano and his younger, winemaking brother Luca,  the family farms approximately 27 hectares of vineyards, about 75% of which are owned.  Since 2001, Sandrone has focused on creating 5 distinct wines;  two Barolo, a Nebbolo d'Alba, a Barbera and a Dolcetto.  Today's article is a CellarNote on the 1996 Barolo Cannubi Boschis.

The Sandrone Barolo Cannubi Boschis is a single-cru wine made from vines grown in a specific sub-section of the Cannubi vineyard. Cannubi extends north from the village of Barolo and has been planted to Nebbiolo on its south and east exposures for at least a century.  Cannubi is entirely inside the commune of Barolo, from which it displays the characteristics of wines from this village: profound aromatic complexity and comparatively softer tannins in relation to vines grown in Monforte or Serralunga. The “Boschis” subzone of Cannubi is near the northern end of the hill. 

The 1996 Boschis was decanted for 90 minutes before being taken to a local trattoria.  A noticeable sediment - thick, coffee grind like matter, was removed from the wine.  In the glass, the wine is a deep crimson red. Aromas indeed are profound and classic.  Ripe cherry, exotic spice, flowers, chestnut and earth are present in harmony.  

~ Luciano Sandrone ~

On the palate, the wine is rich and warm with a large core of full bodied cherry fruit that is laced with mulch, roasted nuts and leather.  It's tannins are substantially integrated and are no longer astringent, but now caressing and ripe. Deftly balanced, the juicy acids seem to compel a second and third sip.  Toward the end of dinner, some cheese plumped the frame of the wine further and a noticeable floral "lift" was detected on the nose.  This is a seriously intellectual wine and wears the Cannubi name proudly.  94 points.  About $75 upon release. 

~ 1996 Sandrone Cannubi Boschis Barolo ~
Cin Cin!


  1. Nice review and an impressive wine! Oh the luxury of being able to wait. Young people thinking about wine (Americans mostly), don't wait, buy at least a few spectacular wines and save them for the birth of your children etc. Then you'll, and I, will understand these complexities.

  2. Dennis,

    I've also laid down 1/2 case each of birth year vintage wine for my kids. They get them when they turn 21. The 17 y/o has an increasing interest in wine. The 13 y/o does too, but more casual. Hopefully they'll have these for years to appreciate them. They should be drinking great by then. I plan to open the first bottle with them on their 21st.

  3. Interesting note here, since not all barolos from 1996 integrate tannins and acidity into one unit over the years. Sandrone always does make very refined wines with careful use of oak and with great transparency.

  4. Ultimate,

    Thanks for commenting. You know, too much oak is one of the complaints I hear about Sandrone's wines but I've never noticed that his Barolo were not balanced. This was great and I think will drink well for many more years to come.

  5. Thanks John, one of the best wines I've ever tasted was Sandrone's Le Vigne 1999, about 2 years ago, a wine of stunning depth with power and elegant finesse in equal measure. Sadly it's now £100, beyond what I can afford.

  6. Adam, that's other great wine fore sure. I have not had it in a long while, as I'm in the same boat as you with most "upper top shelf Barolo"