Sandrone’s Dolcetto is without doubt one of the very finest examples of the region. In his seminal book, Barolo to Valpolicella, Nicolas Belfrage describes the Sandrone Dolcetto as a “mouthful of sheer fruit, but with guts.” That book was last published in 2004, and the wine has only improved in the vintages that have followed. The consistent quality of this wine—its purity, silky texture, fine tannins and balance—can only come with perfectly ripe fruit from top sites.
In this case the sites are also high altitude, which brings added freshness to the layers of fruit. From Estate vineyards in Monforte d’Alba, Sandrone draws from Castelletto and Cascina Pe Mol. The latter sits at the top of the ridge leading from Monforte d’Alba to the hamlet of Perno and is among the highest vineyards of the region. In Novello, the fruit comes from Rocche di San Nicola and the whitish marls of Ravera where the easterly exposure contributes perfume and aromatic complexity. Joining these sites now is Barolo fruit from Rivassi and Crosia.
The wine was made only with natural yeasts, and each parcel was vinified separately before blending. There was no wood contact. The 2019 really is a surprising wine (in the best sense!) that shows a significant evolution in style. It’s a super-fine, autumnal-noted wine with characters that you might more readily associate with Nebbiolo (dark cherry, menthol, forest floor, florals, pan juices and almond oil) than Dolcetto. Really classical in both its flavour spectrum and structure (there are plenty of fine tannins) this is a wonderful Piemontese red that is already superb drinking. It will be a revelation for lovers of classic Piemontese reds.