Of all the iconic wine styles in the world, Barolo has been much-copied but never mastered outside Piedmont in north-west Italy.
Many people have tried to grow Nebbiolo, especially in the New World, in an attempt to replicate Barolo’s evocative aromas of tar and roses, but nobody has (so far) been able to capture them in a bottle.
If you’re keen to try it for yourself, you’re best off sticking to the real thing – and one of the finest exponents of the finicky Nebbiolo grape is Sordo, located in the Langhe. Sordo is one of the larger wineries in this sub-region of Piedmont, and has been in existence more than 100 years.
Sordo produces Dolcetto D’Alba, Arneis and sparkling wines, but it is its Sordo Perno 2016 that captured the hearts of the IWSC judges. This big-hearted red scored 95/100pts and drew praise for its “mesmerising minerality” and notes of strawberries, raspberries and plums, with a “dashing” tannic structure.
The Sordo story is one of knowledge being passed through the generations – and here’s Export Manager Elia Rabino with more on the history of the winery, and how best to enjoy their award-winning Barolo.
Sordo is found in the heart of the well-known Barolo region, in the municipality of Castiglione Falletto – just a few kilometres from Alba, in the province of Cuneo. We are a family-run winery, between the third and the fourth generation, now in the capable hands of Giorgio – Giovanni’s son, pictured below – the third generation of a family which has been tending and producing wines for more than 100 years.
The estate was founded in 1912 by Giuseppe Sordo, but the real change came with his son Giovanni – together with his wife, Maria – bought several vineyards of Nebbiolo for Barolo. They were among the best in the region, known as Sorì in Piedmontese dialect (a term used for a favourable, south-facing slope). It was Giovanni Sordo who began to take an interest in Barolo production, and he started to seek new information from cutting-edge producers. Giovanni was fundamental in laying the foundations for the philosophy of the winery, but we must also thank our great consultant Armando Cordero.
Sordo is the only existing winery that boasts eight different types of Barolo – the crus – whose vineyards are located across five municipalities in the Barolo region. Today the Sordo family owns 53 hectares, spread out over Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, Monforte d’Alba, Barolo, Novello, La Morra, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour and Vezza d’Alba.
First of all, the soil in our vineyards is rich in nutrients which, together with the unique microclimate of the Langhe region, creates a perfect environment for the growing of Nebbiolo grape. It is a vigorous and difficult grape which can give amazing wines with powerful aromas and great ageing potential.
Big barrels, made with Slavonian oak, are the secret of our winery: this wood, thanks to its gentle nature, is not invasive with the wine, which means it keeps its authentic taste so that what you will find in your glass is the real taste of our terroir. This is what tradition means – to carry on a habit that our ancestors taught us – just like the Sordo family has been doing for more than 100 years.
Our wines are known for being particularly rich, especially our Barolo wines, which are long-lived and elegant. They go perfectly with the typical cuisine of the Piedmont tradition, such as braised and roasted game, but it is also perfect with tajarin and ravioli del Plin pasta dressed with meat sauce – two must-have Langhe dishes.