No matter what side of the ‘traditional or modern Barbera’ fence you’re on, Luciano Sandrone’s 2018 Barbera d’ Alba is awesome. Dark fruits, rich and juicy. Fabulous sensuality. Abundant freshness foils the dark fruit perfectly, with coal dust, reminding us of the Hunter Valley, spice, flowers and driving tannins. Perfect Barbera and for anyone who hasn’t tried one, this will get you off to the best start possible!. Waters Wine Co
Sandrone’s layered and polished Barbera is drawn from four sites: Cascina Pe Mol; Ravera and Rocche di San Nicola (in Novello); and Albarella (in Barolo). At between 350-450 metres, these are some of the highest, most exposed vineyards in the region. As per the Dolcetto, Sandrone runs some of the region’s finest sites for this variety and does so organically. Rocche di San Nicola is an extremely steep vineyard at the very end of the Novello promontory, its sun-trapping location helping to deliver ripeness and texture to balance Barbera’s natural acidity.
To balance the structure for which this wine is noted, Sandrone mature their Barbera in 500 litre tonneaux (40% of which are new). The Estate has special, untoasted barrels made in Burgundy for this cuvée, to ensure the wood impact is as discreet as possible. Of course when the wine is young, some wood shows through on the nose, but it is seriously classy oak and in the 2018 it is hardly noticeable.
The Luciano Sandrone 2018 Barbera d’Alba is a wine of remarkable smoothness and integration. There are absolutely no sharp edges here, as this Barbera is polished and buffed over twice for good measure. It is packed tight with luscious dark fruit and blackberry preserves. That dark core is framed by light touches of Indian spice, campfire ash and truffle. There is a note of cherry sweetness on the close, but it is beautifully softened by all that rich intensity. If you are a fan of the Barbera grape, let me draw your attention to this tremendous value. 94 points, Monica Larner, The Wine Advocate