Why haven’t more people heard of Guido Porro? I catch myself posing this question each time I exit Guido’s cellar in Serralunga d’Alba, the decadent, perfumed essence of his deep, saucy Barolos still coating my palate. A quiet, hard-working traditionalist who happens to own land in some of Serralunga’s best vineyards, Guido does not seek the spotlight, and as a result, his wines fly under the radar of all but the savviest connoisseurs of the Langhe’s noble reds. And yet, with each cork I pull, it is unquestionable that Guido’s reds express Piedmont in all its glory. By hand-crafting wines just like his father did—fermenting them naturally, aging them in Slavonian oak botti, and bottling unfiltered—he brilliantly captures that magical marriage of the Nebbiolo grape with these undulating calcareous hillsides, creating an irreplicable whirlwind of aromas and textures. Guido vinifies two Baroli from the Lazzarito cru, one of Serralunga’s top sites prized for its combination of perfect exposure and limestone-rich soils. Santa Caterina, slightly higher on the slope, is all about finesse: its trademarks are delicate floral aromatics, savory nuances, and elegant but grippy tannins promising a graceful evolution over time. Lazzairasco, on the other hand, lies slightly lower and sees more direct sunshine, yielding powerful wines marked by luscious ripe fruit, its ample mouthfeel balancing the contrasting elements of tar and glycerin. This high-octane Barolo can be held for many years. The two vintages featured here offer very different personalities. The 2013 is already heralded as one of the best in recent memory, on par with 2010 and 2008 for its precision, purity, and beautifully delineated aromas. Tightly structured and boasting the freshness of a cooler year, it promises superb cellaring potential. The 2012, on the other hand, gave mid-weight wines with forward fruit of utter deliciousness. Already alluring today, these wines will also stand the test of time. This splendid foursome represents a terrific introduction to Guido Porro for those unfamiliar with the name, and a chance for all to stock your cellar with some of the finest Nebbiolo around.
Let the brett nerds retire into protective bubbles, and whenever they thirst for wine it can be passed in to them through a sterile filter. Those of us on the outside can continue to enjoy complex, natural, living wines.