Monday, September 10, 2018

Elio Sandri Barbera d'Alba Superiore, 2012

On the domaine's website, Elio Sandri calls this wine "a typical expression of the power of the Langhe." To produce it, "we have sacrificed a site of Nebbiolo da Barolo grapes to plant a vineyard of only 1,200 Barbera vines in 1996. A perfect soil for Nebbiolo, used to grow barbera, allows us to produce an amazing wine!"

This is my first taste of a wine for which I have great expectations. Deep ruby with purple tints. The "Superiore" on the label indicates that the wine has been exposed to some new oak. Barbera is typically a low-tannin, high-acid grape, and many traditional producers such as Sandri use new oak for Barbera, even if they avoid it for Barolo. As a result, this is a very large scaled wine: big fruit, big acid, big tannin and big alcohol. Sandri is proud to point out that this is "an extremely robust wine, which touches the 14 degrees (alcohol) almost all the years, and 14.5 in particularly generous vintages." What's important is balance, and this wine has good balance even though it feels a bit aggressive on the palate right now. Five years from now? I can't wait.

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