£12.99, $19.49. HK$168, 21 Swiss francs, CA$23.95
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I don’t think I’ve ever recommended a wine of the week that seems to be as widely available as this one. According to www.winesearcher.com, it is not just on what looks like every street corner in the US, and available in almost all European countries I can think of (including Liechtenstein), it’s on sale in Brazil, Hong Kong and Russia. BRICs a gogo [as in the economics of the future, Brazil, Russia, India and China].
Yet it certainly doesn’t taste like a mass-produced wine in any way at all. Like all wines from Luciano Sandrone in Piemonte, it bursts with flavour, yet the sort of flavour that obviously derives from ripe grapes carefully grown and thoughtfully vinified. Many producers’ 2008 Dolcettos are already on the market – I enjoyed Vajra’s last night – but this 2007 seems to be in its prime at the moment with the youthful acidity having settled down a little and with perhaps a little more body than some 2008s.
You can see from my last set of Piemonte tasting notes, written in early September, that I was also very impressed by Roberto Voerzio, Priavino 2007 Dolcetto d'Alba that formed part of Justerini & Brooks’ Italian and Iberian offer then, but this Luciano Sandrone 2007 Dolcetto d’Alba is just gorgeous now. Wonderfully fragrant and silky, it is almost like an extra spicy top Cabernet Franc from the Loire – and just 13% alcohol. The 2007 vintage was especially warm, dry and short in Italy, but this wine is quite juicy enough.
We shared a bottle in Juveniles wine bar in Paris, cheek by jowl with dozens of other wine lovers watching owner Tim Johnston, somehow, managing to squeeze between the tables dispensing bonhomie and some deliciously simple food. The Sandrone Dolcetto was no wimp. It stood up quite confidently with a super-stinky, white and creamy St-Felicien cheese, as well as with the house’s pâté de foie gras and toast.
Nick and I are off to the annual white truffle auction in Alba this weekend (as observers rather than bidders). I hope we get to sample some of the Langhe’s superbly digestible young wines such as this, as well as being treated to the odd senior bottle of Barolo and Barbaresco.
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