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News

ALESTE Barolo - Our family´s flagship wine, rededicated

Heart and continuity.  ALESTE is the natural continuity of Luciano's first wine, the Barolo Cannubi Boschis. Giving all the experience, knowledge, patience and passion of his many harvests, Luciano pays tribute, with boldness and sensibility, to the next family generation: "ALESTE" is in fact the combination of the names of his grandchildren ALEssia and STEfano.

 

An iconic wine. From the very first bottling in 1985, Luciano always believed in the unique and distinctive potential of the Cannubi hill, and that he wanted to express this potential by way of a separate vinification. This bottling pays homage to the richness and elegance of the favored Cannubi site in the heart of the Barolo. The optimal soil and climate conditions, harvest after harvest, have brought forth a wine that has drawn international attention since its first release.

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History

Passion, transparency, integrity, value. We, the Sandrone family and our winery staff, believe that the best and only representation of our work and effort is the quality in the bottle, not a pretty ad campaign or flashy marketing.

The Sandrone winery was founded in 1978, born from a desire to make the finest possible expression of the Nebbiolo grape from the unique terroirs of the Langhe. This passion has informed the decision making at every step of the process. Furthermore, the wines should represent the best quality achievable at every price point. In effect, the basic wines are made with the same commitment to quality as the luxury cuvees.


Between 1973 and 1977, several bottles exist that were “made” by Luciano’s father from purchased bulk wine. He put a family label on them to give as gifts to his customers and friends. A few remaining bottles of 1973 and 1975 Barolo decorate the winery. These are not recognized as Sandrone wines – Luciano did not make the wine!


In late 1977, Luciano was able to purchase a first small part of the Cannubi vineyard. The following year (1978) he began making minute quantities of his own wine in the garage of his parents’ home, testing and refining his ideas about how to make a wine of distinction and high quality that respected the traditions of the Barolo, while incorporating many of the new technological innovations that were being used to make Barolo less forbidding and hard. In 1982 he met his first international distributor at VinItaly who bought nearly all 1500 bottles of his first 1978 Barolo and who began exporting his wines first to the US and Switzerland, then eventually around the world. Dolcetto and Barbera were added in 1981 and 1982. The growth of Luciano’s Cannubi production was slow and measured as adjoining parcels became available.

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Vineyards

All vines are planted relatively close as vineyards are replanted and renovated to encourage competition and a degree of plant stress. Guyot basso training is used on all varietals. A minimum of 2 green harvests are performed each vintage. Minimal quantities of Bordeaux mixture and sulfur (as allowed per organic practices) are used to control mold and fungus. Canopy management is the same at every vineyard, and defoliation is on the west side of the plant for maximum afternoon sun if and when needed. Fertilization is every 4-6 years with composted manure from dairy cows only.

 


The Sandrone family farms a total of 27 hectares (some production is sold in bulk from less-favored sites), of which approximately ¾ are owned by the estate. Once a site is decided upon, it is analyzed for the best possible planting situation in terms of varietal, clonal selection, orientation of the vines and rows and any needed improvements in drainage or access. Some vineyards when purchased or rented are ready with established plants, others have required extensive renovation and modification. The family strives to find and secure the best possible sites for all of its bottlings.

 

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Winemaking

Our goal is to make the best possible wine for the vintage and vineyard, at every price point. Sandrone wines are generally all made in the same way, no matter if it is an inexpensive Dolcetto or the flagship Cannubi Boschis Barolo. The winemaking at Sandrone is a combination of traditional methods and modern techniques. In the vineyards, the grapes are all treated and cared for the same way, and yields are kept roughly consistent. Broadly speaking, the different wines undergo the same processes and winemaking techniques in the cantina. Any variability, for example, is in the type and length of oak treatment, maceration time and age before releasing to market.

Luciano wants his winemaking techniques used to be as consistent as possible from year to year so as to make the hand of the winemaker less apparent. He believes that this leads to a more honest representation of the wine’s qualities from year to year: the wine will better reflect individual terroirs and vintages when the techniques used in the vineyards and cellars are broadly uniform.

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Inside information

The story of Luciano Sandrone can be told in a few words.

Years of hard work as a cellar man, then all of sudden preceded the opportunity to buy a vineyard on Cannubi hill, in the heart of the Barolo wine zone. The first harvest in '78, the first satisfactions. Then more vineyards, more harvests and new acknowledgements. Right from day one, Luciano and his brother Luca have strived to achieve excellence.

 

Today this achievement is acknowledged the world over and is confirmed with every vintage. Balance is the keyword: in the cellar, between innovation and tradition; in the wines, between elegance and body; in the estate, between international distribution and a “human” dimension. Excellence is created in the vineyard. It is in the vineyard that quality has birth. Every wine is the product of the expression of single characteristics of each parcel, with its soil, its microclimate, its yeasts and its character. This process is possible only when there is knowledge and respect for the individuality of each vineyard, constant care and dedicated attention, at all times. Currently the estate farms a total of 27 hectares, 75% of which are owned, and produces between 90-100,000 bottles (about 8,000 twelve-bottle cases) per year. None of the wines are made from purchased grapes, and the rented vineyards are managed and farmed in exactly the same way as our estate vineyards. The current lineup of 5 bottlings was finalized after the 2001 vintage.

 

Barolo Cannubi Boschis is the flagship wine and is the one that earned Luciano his early success, being one of the first Italian wines to earn 100 points from the noted critic Robert Parker. This single-vineyard wine is typically dense and concentrated, but shows incredible harmony and balance. The medium-weight structure shows delightful and seductive notes of berries and cherries, with floral and mineral aspects. In great vintages, properly cellared examples will drink well for 20+ years. The finish is sweet and broad, with moderate, ripe tannins and long length.

 

Barolo Le Vigne is often a dark and impenetrable wine in its youth, where the tannins and structure from the higher-altitude vineyard sites make the wine less approachable. With proper cellaring, this wine reveals more classic Barolo aspects of black cherries, tar, violets and roses. This wine can outlive the Cannubi Boschis bottling in great years: Le Vigne shows more tannins than its brother and possesses amazing freshness and length.

 

Pe Mol was made for only three vintages: 1999, 2000 and 2001. It was a site-specific bottling; Pe Mol is a vineyard on the ridgetop between Monforte d’Alba and the hamlet of Perno. The site was originally planted to Barbera and Nebbiolo and the 3 vintages that were bottled are a blend of the vine mix in the vineyard. The Pe Mol bottling shows excellent fruit and structure, exhibiting a mix of black plums and cherries, with berry notes, excellent acid and structure and a long, ripe finish. However, Luciano and Luca decided the site was too windy for the Nebbiolo plants, which never grew particularly well here (Nebbiolo does far better away from the tops of the hills), and replanted the Nebbiolo with Dolcetto (which thrives here) after the 2001 harvest. Luciano believes in planting the most appropriate vine at each particular location, even though Nebbiolo earns far more revenue once bottled. Furthermore, replanting with Dolcetto further improved the quality of the already-excellent Dolcetto.

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6 different wines with 37 vintages

People

  • Luciano Sandrone

    In 1981, I brought my first vintage, the 1978, to Vinitaly. I’d produced only 1500 bottles, but there was an American broker there who wanted them all…

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Rolle Fryckman, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  6 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  9 wines 

Tasting at Sandrone with new Aleste!

1m 11d ago

 Essi Avellan MW / Editor of the Champagne magazine, Pro (Finland)  tasted  3 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  17 wines 

1995 Signature Rosé Jacquesson.  Delicate and pale orange-hued colour. Vinous and attractively spicy nose with red berry aromas and light autolytic influence. The mouthfeel is exterely round and velvety, packed with elegant fruitiness and layers of aromas. The rich body is refreshed by a firm acidic backbone that contius equalyyt long with the wine’s persistent aftertaste. Elegant, harmonius and ripely fruity rosé champagne that is very enjoyable today but will develop harmoniously for another decade.

1m 12d ago

 Giulia Luccioli, Wine Producer (Italy)  tasted  1 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  13 wines 

Barolo vintage 2012 tasting in Piedmonte.

1m 14d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  11 wines 

Sukula's Barolos surprised positively with their great intensity, complexity and firm body structure - a very confortable surprise as I was having a dinner at their estate in Barolo. As Sukala's second profession is the chef, the wines were not the only ones who shone - thank you Riikka and Jyrki for the warm and overhelming welcome .

2m 21d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  7 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  7 wines 

Superb visit and tasting at Sandrone in Barolo. ALESTE is their latest creation and is the natural continuity of Luciano's first wine, the Barolo Cannubi Boschis. Giving all the experience, knowledge, patience and passion of his many harvests, Luciano pays tribute, with boldness and sensibility, to the next family generation: "ALESTE" is in fact the combination of the names of his grandchildren ALEssia and STEfano.

3m 10d ago

 Mark Beaven , Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Moet Hennesy and Mark Holiday Tasting 

6m 10d ago

 Tess Murray / Sommelier, Pro (Australia)  tasted  3 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  28 wines 

“1990 Barolo Cannubi Boschis by Luciano Sandrone. The vintage 1990 marks the beginning of a new era in Italian wine production. Modernisation and new innovative producers made their final breakthrough in this outstanding vintage. Hot and dry summer with cool night time temperature created wines of high quality and perfect phenolic ripeness. The third good vintage in a row in Piedmont!
Luciano Sandrone is one of the heroes of the Italian wine renaissance having contributed significantly to the modernization of Piedmont wines. Sandrone bought his first vineyard from the Cannubi hill in 1978. It was tiny in size - less than a hectare - but large enough to start lifting Sandrone on to the Piedmont wine map. 1990 was a successful vintage for the single vineyard Barolo Cannubi Boschis.
Developed, glossy medium-deep browning colour. The nose is lifted and nicely maturing; great expression of tar and roses, roasted and earthy notes. The mouth-feel is silky and smooth, firmed attractively by ripe tannin and refreshing acidity. This wine is harmonious and evolved today but no doubt will keep and improve for another decade.

1y 1m ago

 Wallace Shawn / Wine Investing Consult, Wine Dealer (Luxembourg)  tasted  1 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  6 wines 

“The 1999 harvest was a perfect complement to the great Barolo vintages of the 1990s. An excellent vintage despite humidity in August that caused some rot problems. Sandrone had a marvellous year. Luciano Sandrone is a true grape grower guarding his vines’ health and maximising grape quality. In the cellar he combines tradition with innovation. His wines are true terroir wines with balanced use of French oak and fairly short maceration periods.
Sandrone's Le Vigne is a blend from several vineyards. Elegant nose of perfume, cherries and boysenberries. Layers of elegant fruitiness backed up by a touch of spicy oak. Velvelty mouthfeel with a great tannic grip. Superb intensity and finesse which are complemented by the wine’s mineral character. Starting to show its full potential but will peak after a decade. Sandrones are hard to find, but worthwhile the search! 96 points

1y 6m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  26 wines 

“Luigi Einaudi / Barolo Cannubi 2004: Dark garnet red colour. Ethereal nose with complexity and elegance, hints of balmy spices, liquorice, vanilla and discreet aromatic herbs. Backed by aromas reminiscent of black cherries, dark berries and prunes. On the palate opulent but maintaining an elegant style, very persistent character with fine tannins, elegant acidity, discreet hints of chocolate. A great wine with finesse and complexity. 97 points”

2y 30d ago

 Frank Smulders MW, Pro (Austria)  tasted  1 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  15 wines 

“Gaja Sorì Tildin 2001 offers a totally different style, strongly influenced by (new) oak with aromas of sweet black fruit, oak, tobacco. Again tight tannins, a noble wine with great length. Again I seem to detect some Cabernet aromas in the Sorì Tildin, making me wonder whether Gaja’s claim of using some Barbera in the blend is really true….
91 points.”

2y 2m ago

 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Luciano Sandrone . In a tasting of  17 wines 

“"Chave Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin 2003 : This is easily one of the best wines I had in the last 43 years, if not the best. This was just so pure and balanced - totally defying the 15% of alcohol that it would admit to on the label. Great cassis, truffle, earth, spice. So thick and chewy, almost unctuous. Great great juice. And since it was on that restaurant's wine list for a quarter of the current market price I absolutely had to drink it …" 100 points ”

2y 3m ago

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