Guido Porro Barolo Lazzairasco 2013


With the price of great traditional Barolo (is there any other kind of Barolo?) pushing way past $100 a bottle the last 5 years or so, closer to $200 in Serralunga, finding values like this one is truly exciting. I've been buying Porro's under the radar Barolos consistently the last few vintages and they more than hold their own against the handful of rock star producers here. 

This is traditional Barolo meaning long fermentations on the skins, 20+ days here is the norm, in glass lined cement tanks and three years aging in giant Slavonian oak botti. Guido is the fifth generation of Porro's to farm the steep Lazzarito cru (Lazzairasco is a parcel of Lazzarito) in the shadow of the Serralunga castle, squarely in the center of the famed strip of vineyards known as "the golden mile" of Serralunga which starts with Baudana and Cerretta to the north and finishes with Falletto and Cascina Francia in the south. In other words, source of the most expensive Barolos on the market. These aren’t the flowery, softly tannic wines of La Morra and parts west but rather the perfumed, intensely deep and structured Barolos that really speak to the greatness of the Langhe. 

The 2013 is a once in a decade sort of vintage that's turned out some spectacular Barolos and Barbarescos. It wasn't an easy one with a very wet spring making things difficult right out of the gate. Big rains early on are great to ward off drought issues later (and it's great for the truffle harvest) but soaking wet vineyards in the Langhe are a real headache since vines need treatments to ward off rot and mildew and unlike Burgundy for instance, this has to be done by hand since you're not getting a tractor onto those steep, muddy hillsides without taking your life in your hands. A warm and dry but not excessively hot summer ripened the Nebbiolo beautifully and wide day/night temperature swings a few weeks before harvest created the perfect conditions for a late harvest of perfect, mature fruit. These conditions are crucial for Nebbiolo in terms of balancing fruit and structure.

Of the three Barolos Guido currently bottles, this is easily my favorite. These are the oldest vines he owns and with the best south-soutwest exposure. There will be a Vigna Rionda bottled at some point, the first in 2014 I think, and that will almost certainly become the star of the cellar but almost certainly much pricier too. The 2013 Lazzairasco is just brilliant with the telltale Serralunga camphor and tar on the nose with just a hint of dried rose petal and licorice. The clay over deep hard limestone here makes for fairly austere wines that really develop not just in the cellar but in the glass with air. Small, ripe red and black fruit and mineral flavors with a dense, detailed finish with bright acidity and prodigious but fairly soft tannins. This is a long ager for the cellar but won't kill you to open one in its youth. Limited.

Type: Italy

Vendor: Eno Fine Wine

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