Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Sandrone Le Vigne 2004 Barolo

Sandrone Le Vigne 2004 Barolo, $84.99-$139.99, 94 points, is a wine-tasting instigated by Susan, SS, and just about everyone else who has recently vouched for the greatness of Barolo. This is the oldest one I had in my cellar (Could sit there for another ten years). LeVigne has a bouquet of powerful floral cooking spice, with cedar and toasty caramel. 
My first taste left me with the immediate impression I'd just let some hostile into my mouth; the acidic and tannic tandem assault was intense to say the least, but as one who often likes my wines on the wild side, I was not daunted, but intrigued. Underneath these fearsome physical qualities was a layered complexity of smooth and juicy black fruits, plum, and espresso.
The finish was very long with a pleasant blending of black and red cherry, with hints of Tabasco, and just a slight awareness of heat (14% alcohol), but this wine does not appear to be about abundant alcohol, it is about the utilization of alcohol as a building material in a great edifice. 
As for how it paired with our roasted pork ribs: "like a hot knife through . . ."
Was this wine worth the big bucks? I'm not disappointed, and if the rumors of persnickety Pinot Noir-like attributes are true of Barolo, then a good Barolo maybe just how I needed to begin tasting this varietal.

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  1. Wow. I see you're diving head-first into this Italian thing. I'm assuming we will be getting notes on the Altesino and Chairlo Barolos in the pic sometime soon, as well?

    I remember having one precious Sandrone "La Vigne" back in the 90s. I forget the vintage, but for some reason I'm thinking it was a '94. From what I remember people saying back in the day, Sandrone makes a very modern, "international" style. Probably explains the toast, caramel, coffee, etc.

  2. Before I read your note Bill, I was thinking the same thing. Wow! He sure jumped into the deep end didn't he? :) And Bill's right. Sandrone is one of the "modernists", going for more extraction and using smaller barrique as opposed to exclusively older "botte". I like and appreciate both styles, but there are many who harbor and almost Arab-Jew hostility toward producers of new wave Barolo & Barbaresco. The Le Vigne is not Sandrone's top "Cru" as he reserves that for his Cannubi Boschis, which is even more money. :) But yes, I would agree that this was opened about 15 years too soon. I like my Barolo old, because I love the aromas that develop and that smoked meat, anise and rose petal palate that emerges. The youngest I have in my cellar are 2001's. I don't think I bought anything after that. I've probably got enough to last me until I shuffle off. :) Next time, some risotto, with truffle oil and lots of mushrooms... And I can either trade you for one of my 1989's or you can decant 12 hours in advance.

  3. Well gentlemen, my first plunge into Barolo barrique and it's not even an "Old school" archtypical expression of the wine!
    What's a poor-boy suppose to do? I do have a bottle of 2007 Dolcetto d'Alba in the wings, and since I have been lead to believe this is an alternative wine more approachable in its youth (Just my luck that it's probably past its prime),I better get at it. I'm expecting either austere or charming.
    See ya!

  4. Yowzza!

    You didn't bother to even dip a toe in that pool of ice cold water, did you. Talk about being all in! Let us know when you plan in doing that again! I'm sure we can arrange a mutually convenient time to gather (and contribute to the tasting). ;-)

    I also see from the pic that you have a Michele Chiarlo (possibly waiting in the wings). Try his Barbera (2009 is readily available)-- a great little wine for the money-- and nice I am sure with those pork ribs!

    Unfortunately for a Barolo of this stature (and I am no Barolo expert, though I have had a few over the years), it appeared young. And like you, I might have found that the temptation might just have been too much to endure...

    Life is too short to drink horrid wine.

  5. Dennis, if it's from a respectable producer, I doubt your 2007 Dolcetto will be past prime. I happen to like a year or two on Dolcetto. It gets rid of that little baby fat. You'll see. Very approachable and very food friendly. Look forward to your notes.