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Barolo Le Vigne is often a dark and impenetrable wine in its youth. 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.
Le Vigne is a wine created from four different Nebbiolo vineyards, each of which brings its own contribution. This union generates an exceptionally complex wine that is round and harmonious on the palate, with fruity and spicy notes, and this approach of blending together plots is in fact the traditional one in Barolo.
The first vineyard, Vignane, is situated in the historical part of the Barolo appellation and shares many characteristics with Cannubi but does not possess the latter's aromatic complexity. The wines show softness and elegance, and a distinct mid-palate mouthfeel that enhances the sense of richness when combined with other, more austere grapes. The second vineyard, Merli, is located in the Novello part of the appellation, with the Sandrone section in a south-southwest facing bowl that captures the afternoon light perfectly. The wines made from here are earthy and robust but with good aromatic complexity. The third vineyard, Baudana, is located in Serralunga d'Alba. The 2011 vintage marks the first time that Luciano Sandrone has included fruit from a fourth vineyard, Villero, a 3.7 acre plot in Castiglione Falletto, which they recently acquired via a long-term lease.
Each vineyard is vinified separately, and after destemming and light crushing, the must is covered with CO2 for a gentle warm maceration of approximately a day. Alcoholic fermentation begins about 24-36 hours later from native yeasts. A gentle maceration takes place in upright open-top steel tanks for the first 9-15 days of alcoholic fermentation. Immediately after alcoholic fermentation, which takes 28-30 days, malolactic fermentation takes place in 500 liter French oak casks. The wine is aged in these casks for 24 months, followed by 18 months bottle aging. Around 1,300 cases are produced in a typical vintage.
Ancient art. Le Vigne Barolo interprets the ancient handed-down wisdom and tradition of Langhe and Barolo of assembling the Nebbiolo grapes from various vineyards. We interpret this historic practice by working only with indigenous yeasts and by keeping the grapes of each vineyard separated during the fermentation and wood ageing, rather than combining them during fermentation.
A perfect diagonal. We meticulously selected four vineyards so as to bring out all the characteristics of the Barolo area. The vineyards of Baudana in Serralunga d'Alba, Villero in Castiglione Falletto, Vignane in Barolo and Merli in Novello form a perfect diagonal across the area which encompasses different terrains: light and sandy, more compact and deep, and all at different altitudes and exposures.
Every year is a new discovery.Harvested, vinified and aged separately, only the best lots are mixed together during the assemblage so as to express the uniqueness of the vineyards and enhance the particularities of each vintage.
The multi-vineyard blend of Le Vigne gives a complex, expressive wine in a difficult vintage like 2017 – the balance afforded by multiple sites allows a more balanced result in the bottle.
Mint, balsamic and macerated cherries emerge from the glass. The wine is lean and muscular, long and straight – focused, tight, precise.
On the palate, pepper, spices, mint, hints of coffee and cola are wrapped around a core of lovely raspberry and red cherry fruit. T
hough it is still a bit rough at the edges, a few years of bottle ageing will smooth out the angles.
This is a muscular Le Vigne, but also very balanced by the freshness of the acids. The finish is smooth and lasting, with fruit and graphite.
Ratings for the vintage 2017
Vinous 95+ points
Wine Enthusiast 97 points
James Suckling 97 points
Wine Spectator 93 points
Falstaff 96 points
Wine&Spirits 96 points
Weinwisser 17.5 points
AIS 3 viti
"Warm and dry" are the best words to briefly and clearly describe the 2017 vintage. Alleviating the heat were the excellent diurnal temperature shifts that brought cool air during the night, which provided a little relief to the vines even in the hottest days of July and August.
The mild winter led to early bud break. But, in an atypical return of cold in mid-April, the vegetative cycle was slowed by very cold temperatures which even brought frost to the valley floors. During the periods of pre-flowering and flowering, the cold clearly determined the formation of the grape bunches, leading to looser bunches with better internal air circulation. After May 16 the vegetative cycle was defined by the hot, dry weather that remained until the end of August and led to early maturation.
The summer, warm and dry but with good diurnal temperature shifts, defined the ripening of the grapes. In particular, the veraison was very early.
In September, temperatures dropped, and growing patterns were nearer seasonal averages, with considerable differences between day and night temperatures. This situation was further helped by the polyphenolic profile of the red wine grapes with a medium-long vegetative cycle, such as Nebbiolo and Barbera, for which the data differed to those recorded in other “hot” vintages. As a matter of fact, the values observed this year are better in terms of both quantity and extractability, an essential factor in wines for ageing.
In short, the cycle was early this year, but the vine was able in any case to enjoy a full development cycle.
This vintage can certainly be remembered as one of the earliest of recent years.