Valmaggiore 2017 Nebbiolo d’Alba, Italy
Sandrone’s wines are sometimes described as straddling the modern and traditional styles in the region: elegant, attractive and easy to appreciate right from their first years in bottle, but with no less power and structure than traditional Barolos.
Valmaggiore is the product of Luciano’s incredible passion for the Nebbiolo grape variety and its different expressions. Just 15 miles away from Barolo, in the Roero region, Nebbiolo produces a lighter structure and ripe, smooth tannins that are not unlike those of Pinot Noir. This is not a “baby Barolo” or a second wine at all – it is a distinct interpretation of Nebbiolo from a completely distinct geographic zone.
The grapes used to make this wine are cultivated in one of the historical cru vineyards in the Roero district – Valmaggiore – situated in the municipality of Vezza d’Alba. The Valmaggiore hill itself is incredibly steep: a 100% grade (45 degrees) in places. The soil is comprised almost entirely of sand from shallow sea and beach deposits – fossils are common.
Grape Varieties: 100% Nebbiolo
Fermentation: Each block is vinifi ed separately. After destemming and light crushing, the must is covered with CO2 for a gentle warm maceration of approximately a day. Alcoholic fermentation begins about 24-36 hours later from native yeasts. A gentle maceration takes place in upright open-top steel tanks for the first 7-9 days of alcoholic fermentation. Immediately after alcoholic fermentation, which takes around 25 days, malolactic fermentation takes place in 500 liter French oak casks.
Aging: French oak casks (25% new) for 12 months, followed by 9 months of bottle aging.
The 2017 Valmaggiore is characterized by a nose of red fruits with licorice and cola. The wine is delicate and shows great typicity of the vine. In the mouth, there is an initial burst of sweetness framed around the expressive red fruit. Excellent tannin and acidity help balance the vibrant and ripe red fruit flavors of cherries and cranberries. This is a generous, open and sweet expression of the Valmaggiore. The finish is balanced and ripe, ending with a distinct mineral note.
92 Jeb Dunnuck 92 Wine Enthusiast 90 James Suckling