B-21 Top Recommendation
"Now 74, [Luciano] Sandrone has produced more than 50 Barolos earning outstanding scores from Wine Spectator, with nearly half of those rating a classic 95 points or higher. He no longer works out of the garage below the house in which he and Mariuccia, 69, still live. Since 1999, he’s owned a state-of-the-art gravity-fed winery, built to resemble a classic old farmstead, where he makes 8,000 to 10,000 cases a year, selling his production in 50 countries… Sandrone speaks of the site as 'romantic landscape,' and of his Nebbiolo d’Alba Valmaggiore as though it were a second—but no less loved—child. 'The Nebbiolo of Valmaggiore is much closer to Pinot Noir, with softer tannins and finesse,' he says."
–Robert Camuto, Wine Spectator
"The Sandrone family counts 3.5 hectares in this location. As an alternative to Barolo, this wine presents a soft and graceful side of Nebbiolo with delicate fruit nuances and distinct mineral etchings. Indeed, the wine is almost salty in taste. The sandy soils of Valmaggiore contribute to shaping the wine's lively ruby appearance and those tangy wild berry aromas. This wine is only aged in neutral oak."
–Monica Larner, Wine Advocate
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, Wine Advocate (Jul 2020)
This floral-scented, red-fruited nebbiolo is bright and lifted, its flavors of red cherry and raspberry brimming with vibrant acidity. Notes of thyme and mint further enliven the flavors, making it impossible to resist now—but keep a few bottles in the cellar to track its development over the next several years.
93 points, Stephanie Johnson, Wine & Spirits (Oct 2020)
Underbrush, blue flower, leather and dark-spice aromas are front and center on this fragrant red. Elegant and focused, the savory, chiseled palate features juicy red cherry, spiced cranberry and star anise alongside polished tannins and bright acidity. Drink through 2026.
92 points, Kerin O'Keefe, Wine Enthusiast (Nov 2020)