1989 Barolo Cannubi Boschis Luciano Sandrone

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Average critic rating : 97.0 points



Sandrone’s 1989 Barolo Cannubi Boschis is phenomenal. I have had the privilege of drinking this Barolo several times over the last year, and have never been anything less than deeply impressed. The 1989 Cannubi Boschis is gorgeous in so many ways, but one of the things I find fascinating about the wine is the way it captures a stylistic middle ground, with a modern approach to viticulture combined with elements of traditional winemaking. This deeply layered, sensual Barolo opens with captivating aromatics that meld into expressive fruit that continues to blossom on the palate in a stunning display of class and elegance. Sweet, silky tannins frame the fruit through to the long, exceptionally pure finish. The flavor profile is quite classic, with plenty of tar, licorice, plums, prunes, dried cherries and smoke, but very little if any perceptible French oak. This is a towering masterpiece from Luciano Sandrone. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2020. ||Luciano Sandrone was still working full time at Marchesi di Barolo when he made his fabulous 1989 Barolo Cannubi Boschis. In the spring of 1990 Sandrone left the Marchesi in order to devote all of his energy to his own estate, and the rest, as they say, is history. Sandrone’s Barolos were built on elegance from the outset. Although Sandrone was clearly one of the early leaders of the modern school, his wines avoided the excesses of the mid and late 1990s. These meticulously hand-crafted, artisanal Barolos were vinified in steel and cement with manual pumpovers and punchdowns, then racked into 500-liter tonneaux where the wines underwent malolactic fermentation and subsequent aging. I can’t think of another property where the stylistic shift from somewhat traditional to decidedly contemporary is as noticeable within such a short period of time as it is here between 1989 and 1990. While the 1989 Cannubi Boschis (and the Barolos that preceded it) still had a foot in the past, the 1990 is clearly a forward-looking wine. Much of that is attributable to the ripeness of the 1990 vintage and the introduction of new French oak barrels from the cooper Vicard that year. I tasted the 1990 Barolo Le Vigne and Barolo Cannubi Boschis at the estate, and have had the 1989 and 1990 Barolo Cannubi Boschis from a number of cellars, including mine and that of Robert Parker, over the course of the last few months. Wine Advocate.February, 2010

Azienda Agricola Luciano Sandrone is an Italian wine producer based in Piemonte. The winery is well known for the production of single vineyard Barolo: Cannubi Boschis and Le Vigne. In addition to Barolo, Sadrone also produces Nebbiolo d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba and a Langhe Rosso called Pe Mol.

The Sandrone winery was founded in 1978, with the simple mandate to make this best Nebbiolo possible. Luciano Sandrone was able to purchase a small portion of the famous Cannubi vineyard and began making the wine in the garage of his family home. In 1982, he attended VinItaly and sold almost the entire 1500 bottle production of his 1978 vintage. Soon after, the production grew with the slow and steady acquisition of more land, as well as the addition of wines made from Dolcetto and Barbera.
Upon release of the 1989 and 1990 vintages, the winery became a sensation. Both vintages of the Barolo Cannubi Boschis (made in tiny quantities) caught the attention of Robert Parker, who subsequently scored the wines 97 and 100 points respectively. At the time this was one of the few Barolos to ever obtain a perfect score from Robert Parker.

Today, the winery has a total of 27 hectares (75% owned) and produces an average of 95,000 bottles per year. All of the wines in the range are made in the same way, with painfully low yields and an emphasis on showcasing terroir. Minimal oak is used in the cellar and the resulting wines are elegant, pure and some of the most beautiful expressions of Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto.

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