About This Wine
A blend of several small parcels of vines from a number of communes, Le Vigne is Luciano Sandrone’s ode to “traditional” or blended Barolo. All of the sites that go into Le Vigne are markedly different in terms of altitude, soil and exposure and together they help provide a broad overview of Barolo in a given year.
As for the previous release, this wine now includes fruit from four communes: Barolo (Vignane), Serralunga (Baudana), Novello (Merli) and a new source in Castiglione Falletto – the renowned Villero. Sandrone has taken a long term lease on 1.5 hectares of this latter cru (perhaps best known for Giacosa’s ‘Villero’ bottlings between 1978 - 1996). The vines here average around 30 years of age and Sandrone credits the Villero fruit as adding depth and structure to the blend. Regarding the winemaking, the wild yeast fermentation commenced in tank before the malo and aging in mostly used 500 litre French oak casks. The maturation in cask lasted 26 months, followed by 18 months bottle aging before release. A really delicate and fine Le Vigne - extremely classical in style with vibrant, savoury and spicy fruit, fine tannins and plenty of perfume. Already delicious.
Wines of Piedmont
In the North-Western corner of Italy, with a backdrop of the visually stunning Alps, Piedmont is a great place to visit for wine tourism. It is also home to some of the most sought-after wines in the country.
Nebbiolo is the region’s most prestigious grape variety, a red variety not seen much in Australia. Wines made from this grape are powerful with remarkably high levels of tannins but a balancing acidity. The Piedmont region offers the grapes with a reliable autumn fog that provides a cooling effect which is particularly beneficial to the growth of Nebbiolo. This pre-harvest fog (“nebbia” in Italian) is actually where the grape’s name comes from. The fog is vital in that it prolongs the time spent on the vine and allows the grapes to achieve full ripeness.
The most famous examples of Nebbiolo come from the appellations (subregions) of Barolo and Barbaresco, known for their ability to age well, firm tannins and distinct smell of tar and roses. Barolo is a big tannic expression of Nebbiolo, while Barbaresco only about 15km away makes a more elegant style. Barolo wines are generally the more expensive of the two and are known to cellar for decades.
By volume however, Barbera is the most planted red grape in Piedmont. This grape makes a juicy, low tannin but high acidity easy-going red. Perhaps somewhat like a lighter style Shiraz.
While there are quite a few white varieties planted in the region, the most notable is Moscato d’Asti, made in a sparkling style in the Asti subregion.