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, Guido rarely goes on tour with his wines, and his website has been “under costruction” for at least the last five years. There is no secret formula that makes his wines taste so good; Guido is simply a hardworking traditionalist who makes Barolo the old-fashioned way. Lazzairasco is a sun-soaked 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.
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.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch