Luciano Sandrone Le Vigne, Barolo DOCG, Italy, Piedmont, 2014
Overview of the Wine
Luciano Sandrone is one of the most 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.
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.
Grape / Blend
95 Points - James Suckling
Beautiful aromas of licorice, tar and black cherries following through to a full body. A powerful palate with dense fruit. Chewy and intense. Needs two or three years to soften. A triumph for the vintage. Drink in 2020.
94 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Luciano Sandrone and his daughter Barbara tell me that the 2014 harvest needs explaining. Many are quick to dismiss it given the difficulties of the growing season that saw abundant rain, hail and bombe d'acqua, or "water bombs," which are a dangerous phenomenon with intense rainfall in a very small radius. But hard work does pay off. The Sandrone family employed 38 people for farming, when the average harvest requires only 22 pairs of vineyard hands. Great care was required to keep the leaves and the clusters healthy. The 2014 Barolo le Vigne is bright and fruit-forward. It is perhaps more accessible in the near term compared to past editions. It delivers dark fruit nuances over a mid-weight and compact mouthfeel.
94 Points Wine & Spirits
Le Vigne blends fruit from crus in four communes (Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, Barolo and Novello), an approach that seems particularly suited to vintages like 2014, when the rain struck some areas more heavily than others. The wine is lush and enveloping, the fruit enlivened by notes of musky wood spice and crushed violets. Firm mineral tannins support the flavors without impeding the juicy fruit.
94 Points - Wine Spectator
Fragrant, exuding floral, cherry, raspberry and spice notes, with fruit and spice flavors to match. Elements of tar and underbrush sneak in as the muscular structure asserts itself on the long finish. Elegant overall.
It's a FREAKING GEM!!! - Ian Blackburn
Product size: 750ml