Guido Porro may be the best Barolo producer you’ve never heard of. A quiet fellow most content to work away in his steep Serralunga d’Alba parcels, this Barolista prefers to avoid the spotlight. Guido is simply a hardworking traditionalist who makes Barolo the old-fashioned way: that means fermenting with natural yeasts, macerating the juice on its skins for at least three weeks, and aging the wine for three years in Slavonian oak casks. Lazzairasco is a sunsoaked amphitheater that gives correspondingly rich, lush, powerful Baroli, loaded with sumptuous ripe fruit and streaked with notes of tar and tea. It drinks well young, but there is certainly no hurry to uncork this big, bad beauty.
While the Barolo appellation features marl soils throughout, the town of Serralunga is home to particularly poor, limestone-rich marls that give especially potent, structured expressions of Nebbiolo. The steep Lazzairasco vineyard lies in the lower portion of the famed Lazzarito cru and enjoys full southern and southeastern sun exposure and shelter from prevailing winds. As a result, this site bakes in the summer heat, producing ripe, full-throttle wines with all the heft, concentration, and aging potential Nebbiolo can provide.
Reviews and notes on Guido Porro regularly refer to him as “under the radar”: his wines are worthy of a stellar reputation, but he is too easygoing and unassuming to worry about whether the wine-drinking public recognizes his name. Guido is the fourth generation at an estate that has always been passed from father to son, and although fifth-generation Fabio hasn’t reached middle school, he is already showing a keen curiosity 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. Guido sticks to traditional methods in the vineyards and cellar, and he never gets in the way of the grapes’ natural expression.
Kermit’s love affair with the great reds of Piemonte dates back to the early days of his career: the very first container he imported from Italy, in fact, featured legendary 1971 and 1974 Barolos from Vietti and Aldo Conterno. Regular visits since then have seen our portfolio grow to now nine Piemontesi estates, with a strong focus on the rolling hills of the Langhe.
Nebbiolo rules these majestic, vine-covered marl slopes, giving Italy’s most mystifyingly complex, nuanced, and age-worthy reds. When crafted via traditional production methods—long macerations and extensive aging in enormous oak botti—the powerful, yet incredibly refined Barolos and Barbarescos provide haunting aromatics of tar, raspberry, incense, tea, roses, and more. At times austere in their youth but well worth the wait, they pair beautifully with the hearty local cuisine starring veal in many forms, braised beef, pastas like tajarin and agnolotti, and of course, Alba’s famous white truffles.
Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Piemonte’s climate is continental, with baking hot summers and cold winters. Nebbiolo is only part of the story here: juicy, fruity Barberas and Dolcettos represent the bread and butter throughout the region, and other native grapes like Freisa, Croatina, and the white Arneis are also noteworthy. Value abounds in the Monferrato, while Alto Piemonte also has its share of thrills to provide.
Every corner of Piemonte is rich with tradition, especially when wine is concerned. It’s no wonder we have been singing the region’s praises for over forty years.
Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.
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