The Sordo Barolos from Eight Different Crus

The Azienda Agricola Giovanni Sordo is a family run vineyard with a century long history in Barolo. With 8 vineyards covering 53 hectares in 5 different municipalities, no other winery in Barolo has access to as many crus as does Sordo. The winery recently sent us their portfolio of wines, including the entry level Barolo Clasico blend and an Arneis white from Roero, for tasting. Our reviews follow.

Sordo’s vineyards are in some of the very best Piedmont locations in the municipalities of Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, Monforte d’Alba, Barolo, Novello, La Morra, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour and Vezza d’Alba. Managed today by Giorgio Sordo, the great grandson of founder Giuseppe, Sordo’s winemaking is old school. Grapes are given long maceration times and the wine is aged in old Slavonian botti, 110 of them, for 24 months. The wines are authentic, but they are also traditional with firm, dry tannins in their youth. Most of the wines reviewed here would benefit from additional bottle aging, something that few consumers do these days.  Since there is some question as to how these wines and their tannins will evolve, our scores are given as a range for most of the wines tasted. The higher end of the range assumes the wine achieves its potential.  If consumed now, they should be paired with creamy, rich foods that do well with tannic wines. The US importer is LNJ Brands.

Cru Monvigliero

The Wines

 Sordo 2016 Clasico Barolo ($35) 90 This vineyard blend sourced from 16 different vineyards reveals excellent Barolo character with a nose of rose petals, cherry, and spice. Less dense than Sordo’s single vineyard Barolos, it offers excellent balance and harmony on the palate and more accessible tannins than the single crus. It finishes with lingering, rich dark fruit and earth flavors. While made in considerable volume (over 10 thousand cases), it’s offered at a very reasonable price.

Sordo 2016 Gabutti Barolo ($65) 91-92  The Gabutti is a savory, earthy wine showing a nose of tobacco leaf, soil, and fresh dark red berry and plum. It’s soft on the attack with delicious dark red cherry accompanied by hints of forest floor and herbs. The finish is rich, extracted and very long, accompanied by thick but supple tannins. Gabutti is located in Serralunga d’Alba at 250-300m with a south-southwest orientation.

Sordo 2016 Monprivato Barolo ($80) 92-94  The Monprivato cru opens on an especially savory note showing scents of dried fruit and freshly turned dark loam. The attack is soft and accompanied by a dense, layered palate of dark red fruit, herbs and tobacco. It’s a big, dark, mouth filling wine, roundly textured and with a remarkably rich and long finish where savory notes of earth and minerals stand out. This is the most evolved of the Sordo crus with fine firm tannins. Monprivato is in Castiglione Falletto at 240-320m elevation.

Sordo 2016 Monvigliero Barolo ($65) 90-92  The Monvigliero is a study in contrasts. It begins with high-toned, floral and berry aromas, but the palate is very firm and reveals darker fruit complemented by earth and tobacco notes. It’s concentrated and mouth filling with a big, extracted and tannic finish. It would pair beautifully with wild game. Monvigliero is in the Verduno commune with a south-southeast aspect at 280-320m.

Sordo 2016 Parussi Barolo (Castiglione Falletto) ($65) 91-93  The Parussi from Castiglione Balletto begins with light scents dried herbs, earth and dark red fruit followed by a flavorful attack accompanied by up front, gripping tannins. The mouth feel is especially smooth and delicate with pronounced fresh red cherry, spice and berry flavors that linger on an extra long finish. One of the most elegant of the Sordo Barolos. Matured 24 months in large Slavonian botti. The Parussi vineyard has a west-southwest orientation at 270-290m.

Sordo 2016 Perno Barolo ($65) 89-91  The Perno cru offers an attractive, spicy nose of red and dark red fruit complemented by a dusty earth note. It’s medium weight but mouth filling with a dry finish of ripe, dark earthy fruit. The Perno cru is located in Moforte d’Alba at 270-400m.

Sordo 2016 Ravera Barolo ($65) 90-92  The Ravera Cru comes from the Novello commune and sits at 450m. It opens delicate and soft with a spicy nose of roasted blackberry and a note of sottobosco. It’s a full flavored wine of woodsy herbs and dried cherry and a medium long, richly extracted dry finish.

Sordo 2016 Rocche di Castiglione Barolo ($65) 90-92  The Rocche di Castiglione reveals scents of leather, cigar box, and dried red fruit followed by a suave attack and a backward palate of dark red fruit accented by dried tobacco. The tannins are firm and round and would benefit from more time in bottle. Rocche is in Castiglione Falletto at 320-350m.

Sordo 2016 Villero Barolo ($70) 89-91  The Villero opens to scents of dried dark fruit, herbs and soil. After a soft attack, it reveals dense flavors of dark red fruit with an accent of sottobosco. The palate is rich and dense with a chunky, slightly rustic feel. Finishes very long with firm tannins. A big wine that will benefit from more aging. Villero is located in Castiglione Falletto at 230-350m and has a southwest aspect.

Sordo 2019 Garblet Sué Arneis Roero 91   Very pale straw color. This excellent Arneis from Vezza d’Alba evokes chalky minerals from the first whiff to the final aftertaste. There are accompanying light citrus aromas and flavors and a broad, lingering palate, but minerals infuse this wine from start to finish.

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