Reviews and notes on Guido Porro regularly refer to him as “under the radar”: the wines he makes are worthy of a stellar reputation, but he is too easygoing and unassuming to worry about whether the general wine-drinking public recognizes his name. He rarely bothers to send samples to wine writers. 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 instead of selling the wine in demijohns or barrels—and they like to keep things simple and down to earth. The door is always open, and Guido’s wife Giovanna never looks quite as happy as when she’s serving enormous platters of classic local dishes to a full table of guests.
The limestone-heavy soils of Serralunga d’Alba are known for providing the most long-lived and full-bodied Barolos. Porro’s vineyards are located here in the Lazzarito cru, a gorgeous amphitheatre that faces south-southwest and offers the grapes full sun exposure and protection from the wind. The sub-zones of Lazzairasco and Santa Caterina are both monopoli and share the same soil and similar exposition and altitude, although the very old vines in the former give a more powerful, masculine wine, while the latter brings out the delicacy and elegance of Nebbiolo. Even Porro’s Barbera, a grape that is usually planted in lesser vineyards, enjoys a privileged place in Santa Caterina. Guido sticks to traditional methods in the vineyards and cellar, and he never gets in the way of the grapes’ natural expression.