Sandrone Le Vigne Barolo 2016
Not usually one for scores, but in this case: 100 Robert Parker 98 Wine Enthusiast 97 James Suckling 'Nuf said. Here's more: 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 ALESTE/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. Le Vigne is a wine created from four different vineyards, each of which brings its own contribution. The first vineyard, Vignane, is situated in the historical part of the Barolo appellation and shares many characteristics with Cannubi. The Merli vineyard is located in Novello, 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 in Serralunga d’Alba, gives the wine additional depth and richness. As of 2011, Le Vigne also includes fruit from Villero, a newly acquired vineyard in Castiglione Falletto. 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 7-18 days of alcoholic fermentation. Immediately after alcoholic fermentation, which takes about 28 days, malolactic fermentation takes place in 500-liter French oak casks. The wine is aged in these casks (25% new) for 24 months. In 2016, the winter was mild and not snowy. The first weeks of the year were very unusually dry. Precipitation, especially rainfall, came only in February. Spring was cool, especially April and May, with numerous rainshowers. May is oftentimes like an early summer here. In Langa they call it “the May furnace”, but in 2016 it didn’t fire up! The summer was a season of back-and-forth. The first heat came at the end of June, and from then on, a constant back-and-forth between short periods of warmth (5 to 7 days) and sudden storms which brought cooler temperatures. At the end of August the rhythm changed. The last part of the month and all of September gave us beautiful days. At a certain point, the typical autumn weather began, characterized by warm days and cool nights, with daytime temperatures often reaching 30 degrees C. In the vineyards of the Langhe and Roero, the weather of 2016 influenced the vegetative cycles of the vine. The lack of winter cold caused an early budding but after its early start, the vegetative cycle de-accelerated. Flowering and fruit set took place slightly later than average, but occurred evenly, thus positively influencing the productivity of the vintage. The slowing of the vegetative cycle was consistent through the summer, and therefore the veraison began 13-15 days later as compared to 2015. This delay influenced the final phases of maturation and the picking times. Each parcel had to be monitored and harvested individually for maximum quality, contingent on its exposition and slope. Harvest took place from 13th until 22nd October. Barolo Le Vigne is always a wine of great structure, depth and longevity. 2016 brings this character even more to the fore. The 2016 Le Vigne is brooding, coiled and restrained, needing several years of patience to reach its peak. The nose slowly reveals dark cherries, licorice, underbrush and distinct floral elements of violets and roses. On the palate, the tannins are dominant, sweet ad mouth-filling and severe, needing time to come into balance with the prodigious fruit and acidity that lurks beneath the imposing structure. The finish seems to go on forever. Give this one time.