Robert Parker 100
Here it is: the newest creation to emerge from the talented hands of Luciano Sandrone and his family. To be released in 2019, the 2013 Barolo Vite Talin is a wine born from a single vine. They noticed one plant that behaved differently than the others. It produced dark and concentrated fruit. Unlike common Nebbiolo, its leaves showed shallow sinuses between the lobes. Its vigor was different, producing fewer very loose clusters with small berry and seed size. The Sandrone family first noticed this vine in 1987 and named it Talin (a dialect version of the Italian name Natale) after the farmer who originally had the vine. For years, they vinified fruit from this vine separately in order to study its progress. They had a hunch that this mysterious vine was indeed genetically Nebbiolo, and they eventually received confirmation of this from the University of Turin. With this, they earn the right to call this wine Barolo. The massal selection is from Le Coste, and Barolo now results in less than one hectare of vines (6,000 square meters) and less than 2,000 bottles produced per year. This first vintage celebrates the 40th anniversary of the estate (1978-2018). The wine opens to an intense, dark color with extra pulp, power and structure in the mouth. The tannins are soft and rich. The wine is fermented in oak with maceration times that range from 20 to 25 days. It is then aged in tonneaux for two years before going into oval-shaped bottles for another two years before its commercial release. In total, it completes six years of aging at the winery. This is a game changer for the Sandrone family and for Barolo. What I find fascinating is that Barolo Talin takes us away from the discussion of vineyards and crus. It reminds us that the Nebbiolo grape is ultimately what is behind every great Barolo that we love. This wine takes us to the heart of Nebbiolo.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2050
Sandrone’s 2013 Barolo Vite Talin is just as fabulous from bottle as it was from cask. Rich, unctuous and deeply layered in the glass, the 2013 possesses tremendous density and voluptuousness. Today, it is a bit closed down following its bottling about six months before this tasting. One of the things I admire most about the 2013 is the juxtaposition of translucence and power, which, at its essence, is what great Barolo is all about. The Vite Talin (previously reviewed here as a Riserva) is new to the range. The Vite Talin emerges from a parcel within the Rivassi cru known as Talin with heavily virused vines that produce a minuscule crop. For many years I have tasted the Talin Barolo from cask as one of the potential candidates for Le Vigne. During all of that time, Sandrone ultimately decided to sell the entirety of the production off in bulk. Until 2013, when the Sandrones decided to bottle the wine on its own, with an old-school label that celebrates the Sandrone family’s history prior to the founding of the Luciano Sandrone winery.
Anticipated maturity: 2023-2043