Sandrone’s layered and polished Barbera is drawn from four sites: Cascina Pe Mol (mentioned above), Ravera and Rocche di San Nicola (in Novello) and Albarella (in Barolo). At between 350-450 metres, these are some of the highest, most exposed vineyards in the region. As per the Dolcetto, Sandrone runs some of the region’s finest sites for this variety and does so organically (in fact all of the vineyards of Sandrone are managed organically by the talented Luca Sandrone). Rocche di San Nicola is an extremely steep vineyard at the very end of the Novello promontory, its sun-trapping location helping to deliver ripeness and texture to balance Barbera’s natural acidity.
To balance the structure for which this wine is noted, Sandrone mature their Barbera in 500 litre tonneaux (40% of which are new). The Estate has special, untoasted barrels made in Burgundy for this cuvée, to ensure the wood impact is as discreet as possible. Of course when the wine is young, some wood shows through on the nose, but it is seriously classy oak and in 2018 it is hardly noticeable.
In fact this release, much like the Dolcetto, signals the evolution we are seeing at the Sandrone Estate, I think ever since the 2013 Vite Talin was in cask. We are seeing more classic, let’s say more ‘traditional’ expression in the wines. Here there is a certain rusticity that we have not seen before, with meaty, farmyard/animal notes complexing the fleshy, plummy elements. There’s also a twist of anise on the finish. Another strikingly delicious and complex Piemontese red.
'The 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.' - 94 points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate