Barolo Le Vigne 1999 - Sandrone

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
Sandrone Barolo
On a recent trip to the Piedmont Region of Italy I had the good fortune to visit the Sandrone winery and meet the owner Luciano Sandrone and his daughter Barbara.  Luciano took us on a tour of the winery, where this first generation winemaker shared his passion for the grape.  The last stop on the tour was the room where he stores his library wines; including 10% of the production from each vintage.  The inventory is held for release 10 years after the vintage (the year the grapes are harvested).  After our tasting, I asked Luciano if I could purchase a bottle of his wine.  Here's the interesting thing, wineries in Piedmont do not expect you to purchase their wines.  After some discussion, I selected the 1999 Barolo le Vigne.  A Barolo carefully stored in the winery's cellar to age in perfect conditions comes at a steep price - 135 euro ($188 at current exchange rates)

We took the treasured bottle with us to Florence, where we were meeting friends.  On our last night in Florence we shared the Sandrone Barolo.

We were not disappointed.  The wine was a beautiful garnet color with a slightly

Karla and Luciano

Luciano and Karla

brickish rim.  It released amazing aromas of dried cherries, violets, vanilla and nutmeg.  On the palate the wine was nicely balanced with good acidity and big, but slightly softened tannins.  It showed flavors of blackberry and cherry with a slight hint of vanilla and minerality.  Each sip of this wine was like taking a bite of a carefully baked fruit tart with a crust there to add structure, but not to interfere with the berry flavors. I savored each sip of this wine - amazing!

I wish I'd purchased 2 bottles - this wine can be consumed now or held for up to 10 years.  I have my fingers crossed that I can travel back to Barolo, visit Luciano and Barbara, and buy another bottle of this beautiful wine.

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