The Sandrone family farm a continuous three-hectare vineyard in the Valmaggiore area of Roero which they established in the early 1990s. This is an extremely steep (50% gradient in places!) and spectacularly beautiful terraced vineyard, planted to a relatively high density of 8,000 vines per hectare. The soil here—comprised of almost pure sand littered with limestone fossils (i.e. chalky sand)—gifts a remarkably perfumed and elegant expression of Nebbiolo, as distinct from the denser styles of wine produced in the clay-rich soils of Barolo and Barbaresco.
The Valmaggiore vineyard is farmed meticulously and organically, and a strict sorting occurs each year to reach the level of purity and intensity we see in the glass today. Of course, vine age is playing an ever-greater role in the quality of wine being released each year.
The note below captures this wine really well (although I’d add iodine, resin and leather to the descriptors) and as Larner points out, this really is like a medium-bodied Barolo, but with more freshness and high-grown notes. It’s already open and packed with complexity, so it will make for fabulous drinking young (although will no doubt age comfortably for a decade). Perfect drinking while you wait for the Barolos to slowly mature! Again, this is very classic in terms of its complexity and, like the wines above, should thrill lovers of traditional Piemonte.
“The Luciano Sandrone 2018 Nebbiolo d'Alba Valmaggiore shows a very fruity, fresh and accessible side of the Nebbiolo grape. This wine is open-knit and inviting with a steady succession of aromas that range from red cherry and plum to rosemary sprig and crushed mineral. On some level, you could call it Barolo Lite, although that does not do justice to the Valmaggiore vineyard in Roero that outperforms year after year. The wine is Barolo-adjacent for sure, but it offers its own bright and distinct personality. It's an exciting, new generation of Nebbiolo.” 94+ points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate