Guido Porro Vigna Rionda, Barolo DOCG, Italy 2017
VINTAGE : 2017
COUNTRY : Italy
REGION/APPELLATION : Italy, Piedmont, Barolo
VARIETALS : Nebbiolo
Six miles north of Benevelli, Guido Porro has been laser-focused on the slice of Barolo called Serralunga d’Alba for decades. A few years ago, Guido seized an opportunity to farm a tiny sliver of Serralunga’s historic Vigna Rionda vineyard. He paid dearly for half an hectare of what is the Romanée-Conti of Serralunga, and his rendition of this hallowed site is worth every cent. His other Baroli are outstanding. This one is a masterpiece you will want to enjoy at several stages throughout its decades-long life.
Reviews and notes on Guido Porro regularly refer to him as “under the radar”: the wines he makes are worthy of a stellar reputation, but he is too easygoing and unassuming to worry about whether the general wine-drinking public recognizes his name. Guido is the fourth generation at an estate that has always been passed from father to son, and now fifth-generation Fabio is starting to lend a hand in the family business. The Porros continue to work just as their predecessors did—the only major change over the last few decades has been the decision to bottle at the estate instead of selling the wine in demijohns or barrels—and they like to keep things simple and down to earth. The Porros are gracious hosts, and Guido’s wife Giovanna is known for her stellar renditions of classic Piemontese dishes, which shine when paired with the family’s wines.
The limestone-heavy soils of Serralunga d’Alba are known for providing the most long-lived and full-bodied Barolos. The cantina overlooks Porro’s vineyards in the Lazzarito cru, a gorgeous amphitheater that faces south-southwest and offers the grapes full sun exposure and protection from the wind. The sub-zones of Lazzairasco and Santa Caterina share the same soil but differ in exposure and altitude, resulting in two very different Baroli—the former regal and structured, the latter more floral and elegant. Even Porro’s Dolcetto and Barbera, grapes usually planted in lesser vineyards, enjoy a privileged place in Lazzarito. Guido expanded the family’s holdings in 2007, acquiring land in the nearby cru Gianetto, where the sandier soil yields a more immediate, open-knit Barolo. He then inherited a small slice of Serralunga’s fabled cru Vigna Rionda in late 2010. After replanting the vines, which were in poor state, he welcomed his first harvest in 2014, adding an undisputed grand cru to his already impressive stable of wines. Guido sticks to traditional methods in the vineyards and cellar, and he never gets in the way of the grapes’ natural expression.