We have been importing the soulful Langhe reds of the Porro family since the 1997 vintage. Guido took over from his father, Giovanni (still a permanent presence at the azienda), in 1996. Their cantina is at the entrance of the eastern Barolo fortress town of Serralunga d’Alba as you approach from the north. It hangs over the top of a steep western-facing slope, overlooking their vineyards in the Lazzarito cru, from which they craft two Baroli, a Barbera and a Dolcetto. For the past twenty years these wines have, for the very most part, remained firmly off the radar of most serious collectors of Langhe wines; instead they get snapped up faithfully by fans of authentic, affordable, trattoria wines who enjoy them young and old. The family’s acquisition of the historical heart of Serralunga’s most famous and qualitative cru (and one of the best in all of Barolo) stands to change all this. Guido remains the same humble contadino, but the buzz surrounding this fortuitous turn of events—at the azienda, within the region, and beyond its borders—has been significant. This is Guido’s inaugural vintage of Vigna Rionda, and it will be a lot of fun to follow the evolution of this great terroir as he continues to unlock its full potential over time. I have now tasted the next four vintages in cask, and, suffice it to say, the future is very bright. The nobility of this terroir is immediately evident, as the vinification is the same as for his other crus but the wine is not! It simultaneously has more finesse and more concentration, with beautiful aromatics, length, perfume, density, and noble structure. There is an extra gear here on every level.
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