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1996 Piedmont: A Retrospective

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In an exclusive tasting, Decanter’s Michaela Morris looks back at 1996 Barolo and Barbaresco, offering a fresh perspective on Piedmont’s modern winemaking revolution. The 1996 vintage was a crossroads in winemaking philosophies: the traditional v.s. the Piedmont modern revolution, epitomized by the ‘Barolo Boys’.  Morris explains that, “It is symbolized by the renunciation of large, old Slavonian oak casks (the traditional ageing vessel of choice in Piedmont) and the espousal of small French oak barriques, often new. However, proponents also adopted non-traditional techniques such as rotary fermentations and short maceration times of mere days. The goal was to craft wines with greater international and immediate appeal.”

The wines tasted fell predominately into the modern camp and included bona fide ‘Barolo Boys’ – producers like Luciano Sandrone, Paolo Scavino and Domenico Clerico. More traditional examples were represented by Brovia, Bruno Giacosa and Aldo Conterno.

The 1996 Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne was featured in the tasting, receiving 96 points in a rave review, ” Well-defined aromas of mint, cocoa, rosehip and tar emerge from the glass. The fruit is sweet on the entry becoming progressively savoury as it glides across the palate. Wrapped in layered, silky tannins and buoyed by appetising acidity, this has aged gracefully. It surely has another 7-8 years ahead of it but there is no reason not to crack a bottle today. ”

To learn more about Sandrone and the 1996 vintage read the full article HERE.


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    Sandrone Le Vigne Barolo


    Le Vigne is a wine created from four different Nebbiolo vineyards, each of which brings its own contribution. This union generates an exceptionally complex wine that is round and harmonious on the palate, with fruity and spicy notes, and this approach of blending together plots is in fact the traditional one in Barolo.

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    The late Luciano Sandrone was an iconic figure in Barolo, with an extraordinary story of determination. In the bottle, Sandrone’s wines straddle the modern and traditional styles of the region: elegant, attractive and easy to appreciate right from their first years in bottle, but with no less power and structure over time than traditional Barolos.