Luciano Sandrone Tasting

7 June 2012, New York Vintners, Manhattan

Diane and I, along with a few friends, attended a wine-maker dinner at New York Vintners with Luciano Sandrone. In addition to some great stories about his life and his theories on wine-making, we were able to try some great vintage wines – tasting notes below:

Wines at the tasting

1. ** 2009 Luciano Sandrone Barbera d’Alba – Strong acidity, bright red fruit, tart cherries, light tannins.

2. ** 2007 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne – Light, earthy Barolo nose. Massive tannins, explosion of fruit. Spice and dark fruit. Way too young right now.

3. *** 1998 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Cannubi – Still surprisingly young and just reaching its drinking years. Smooth attack followed by firm tannins, leather, earth. Very long finish.

4. *** 1999 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne – Finessed, rounded structure. Still powerful but not as explosive as the ’98 Cannubi. Drinking better now but maybe less aging potential.

5. *** 1998 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne – Herbal, smoother tannins starting to integrate. Still showing great acidity.

6. *** 1997 Luciano Sandrone Barolo Le Vigne – Almost sweet, red berries, earth, soil, integrated tannins that finish long but easy.


Two wines, One birthday

Diane loves to celebrate her birthday.  Over the past week she’s had countless birthday dinners, presents, cards and reasons to celebrate, but this puts her in a good mood so I relent.  We had two wines together that were new for both of us and worked for their respective meals.

18 November 2011, Aquavit, Manhattan

Diane’s birthday dinner this year was at Aquavit – a Nordic style restaurant in midtown. I recently ordered a few Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from Kistler through a work friend who’s on their mailing list so we decided to try one of their single-vineyard chardonnays:

2009 Kistler Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard

To put this in perspective, Diane and I went to a white burgundy tasting this past Monday so we were drinking very subtle, acidic whites that night. This bottle was explosive compared to the French wines – big oak aroma and palate but had enough acid and fruit taste to finish with good balance. The drinking window on this wine is 2012-2017 and I’d find it interesting to see whether it gains a bit more balance after a few years in the bottle. Few notes from the producer:

  • Vineyards range from Western Sonoma to Carneros – all chardonnay vines are the same clone and made in the same fashion so all differences among the single-vineyard productions are due to terroir
  • All wines are produced using native yeasts and aged in French oak – bottled unfiltered and unfined
  • All chardonnays are barrel fermented with sur lie aging in those same barrels for 11-18 months before bottling

19 November 2011, 1117 Woodruff Ave, Hillside, NJ

For Diane’s actual birthday, we went to New Jersey and spent the day running some errands and relaxing at her home. Her father and I were more interested in eating the delicious corned-beef and cabbage he prepared in the afternoon but that night we ordered pizza and we decided to go with a lighter, fruitier red:

2008 Bruno Giacosa Barbera d'Alba

A good wine for pizza and a great wine for Thanksgiving. It was light bodied with low tannins, reasonable acidity and tons of fruit on the palate, easing into a simple but long finish. It has enough flavor and fruit to hold up against the abundance of Thanksgiving sides and turkey but doesn’t have the astringency that would leave a bitter taste after eating lighter meats.

*** 2009 Kistler Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard, $75

** 2008 Bruno Giacosa Barbera d’Alba, $25