“Wines that come from the heart stand out because they tell a story.” …… Luciano Sandrone
Founded in 1976, the Sandrone family has more than 40 harvests under their belt. It’s a large number and filled with experience, though in terms of many Italian wineries, Sandrone is still an infant. The family considers themselves original “Garagistes”, having started their family business in a garage! Today, the Sandrones farm 27 hectares spread throughout the Langhe and Roero. The family philosophy revolves around three core principles: Heart, reasoning and experience and while focusing on three local grape varietals, Barbera, Dolcetto and Nebbiolo, produce five distinct wines.
Today we’re reviewing the most recent release of one of those five wines, the 2013 Dolcetto d’Alba. Sourced from vineyards in Monforte d’Alba and Novello, the Sandrone Dolcetto is vinified completely in stainless steel tanks and then bottle aged 3 months prior to release. Typically, this is among my favorite Dolcetto for it’s bright, pure, almost precocious nature. I buy some each vintage because its accessible and affordable. I don’t know that it has ever let me down, but the 2013 is not up to its normal standard nor does it approach the level of the excellent 2012.
In the glass, the wine is a deep purple color so typical of Dolcetto. It’s pretty to look at. Generally I love the forward, precocious nature of Dolcetto; it’s why I seek it out. However, that vitality and energy I love so much seemed mostly absent from this bottle. On the nose, there were muted aromas of white flowers, white pepper and faint plum aromas. Nice, but nothing more. On the palate, the wine was fresh and zesty with cracked pepper, and soft black plum flavors that were fairly one dimensional. Light to medium bodied with a sense of being somewhat watered down. The general feeling around the table was “this is ok” and I agree. While it won’t get me to avoid Sandrone in the future, he’s simply way too good for that, I do recommend finding other Dolcetto in 2013. 85 points, about $19.
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