Just when we thought Luciano Sandrone might have been ready to put his feet up and enjoy a much-deserved retirement, he astounded us (and the rest of the wine world) in late 2019, with the release of a new wine that has the potential to redefine his eponymous estate, a wine that may have created a world-first by getting two 100-pointreviews from key critics (Antonio Galloni and Monica Larner) on its first release (the 2013 vintage).
In 1987, Luciano noticed one vine in his rented plot of Le Coste, Barolo, was behaving in a very surprising manner, producing much smaller bunches and berries and growing leaves with a different morphology. Growers have long associated smaller berries andbunches with higher quality (remembering also that Nebbiolo typically has the opposite problem) and so Luciano was very interested in what he had stumbled upon.
He took cuttings and planted them in several different places to see if they would behavethe same way. They did, and so in 1991, Luciano and his brother (vineyard manager Luca Sandrone) began planting out cuttings taken from these vines in two Crus: Drucà and Rivassi. Later, Sandrone acquired the original parcel of Le Coste and planted it out with this cultivar—so there are three tiny sites today.
In 2017, when the vines were finally able to be verified by DNA testing, it was discovered the vines were indeed Nebbiolo, but a unique strain that had never been identified before. The Sandrone family have named it Vite Talin—‘the vine of Talin’ (Talin being the name of the grower who originally owned the vineyard). Today there are 8,000 vines in production, only leading to around 2,000 bottles of wine.
Luciano Sandrone Barolo ‘Vite Talin’ 2016
“This is a wine I have jealously followed since its birth. The Luciano Sandrone 2016Barolo Vite Talin is another superstar. This is a complete wine, with depth, intensity and a fully generous and embracing personality. It’s like a warm hug. The tannins are tight and the wine needs more time to fully soften. At this young point in its life, itoffers plenty of dark primary fruit, spice and black licorice.” 98 points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate