Barolo Cannubi Boschis:
In recent years, many of Piemonte’s so-called modernists have modified their approaches, incorporating traditional techniques that they rejected when seeking to redefine Barolo. Thus, the once stark and controversial divide between “tradition” and “modern” has largely been eradicated. For Luciano Sandrone, however, there’s never been an issue. While Sandrone is often classified as a modernist, in actuality, his style has always constituted an exemplary, seamless integration of both orientations. Sandrone’s impeccably balanced bipartisan protocol is most demonstratively illustrated in his consistent delivery of wines that afford early accessibility, yet possess the formidable structure that ensures long-term ageability.
Sandrone showcases his astute grasp of Nebbiolo through an esteemed pair of Barolos, Cannubi Boschis and Le Vigne. Through the former, representing one of Barolo’s foremost crus, Sandrone has effectively established a reference point for the region—a standard bearer that marries the virtues of terroir and artisanal craft. Le Vigne is a veritable benchmark in its own right, being one of the few remaining high-caliber blends still in production. While Cannubi Boschis is a single-vineyard expression, its conception is intimately connected to the philosophy and principles informing a blend’s composition. Each of the vineyard’s subplots is harvested and vinified separately, followed by an individual aging period of one year. This careful treatment of each as a distinct entity is not in the least gratuitous, as the vineyard is multifaceted with respect to its composition and elements, rendering the differences among the subplots substantive rather than slight. For example, sandy soils in one area provide for an aromatic, lean expression, while the plot containing Cannubi’s oldest vines expresses delivers a rich and dense persona. Following blending of the constituents, the wine is aged in 500-liter tonneaux.
Cannubi Boschis (or Monghisolfo as it was originally labeled, in recognition of its former owner) has attracted marked attention given its propinquity to the historic Cannubi Vineyard. Technically, it is not a subplot of the legendary vineyard as some theories suggest, but rather, a neighbor of Cannubi “proper.” Monghisolfo became known as Boschis after the family bearing the latter name took control of the territory—an attribution that followed a tradition of the Langhe Hills. In the early seventies, Renato Ratti identified the similarities between Cannubi Boschis and Cannubi “proper,” while also setting the former apart.
Typically coming in at half the legal limit, Sandrone’s signature low yields constitute the crux of his ability to fashion Barolos that provide pleasure early in their tenures. Of the two Barolos, Cannubi Boschis tends to offer approachability earlier in its development: in ripe vintages, it is known to extend such provision upon release, while those representing more structured vintages are best encountered on an initial basis a decade into their tenures.
Producer: Luciano Sandrone Varietal(s): Nebbiolo
Vineyard(s): Cannubi Boschis
Altitude: 250 meters
Classification: Barolo DOCG
First Year: 1985
Case Production: 700–1,000 (depending on the vintage)
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