We have already talked about the Sordo winery, describing the tasting of their 8 Barolo crus. Having already understood the attention paid to the vineyard management and their production philosophy in the cellar, we will see how their wines are able to evolve. In particular, we will describe five different vintages of one of their most iconic crus, the Barolo Perno.
The hamlet of Perno is in the north-eastern area of the municipality of Monforte d’Aba, about fifteen kilometers south of Alba, wedged between the municipalities of Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d’Alba. Other than being one of the Barolo GMAs (Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva), it has historically been recognised as one of the most prestigious and suitable areas of the entire area of Monforte d’Alba. The vineyard faces isouth-east, with optimal sunlight interception and is always affected by breezes, at an altitude between 270 and 400 metres above sea level. In Perno the soil is tuffaceous with layers of red marly clay. The bedrock consists of stones and compressed sandstone, clay and microelements dating back to the Helvetian period, over fifteen million years ago, and originated from the drying up of the sea. The maximum phosphorus and potassium levels in the soil of this area are found in Perno.
The Giovanni Sordo Winery owns a plot of about 7 hectares. The vineyard has an average age of 30 years, with a density of 4,000 vines per hectare and a yield of less than 80 quintals. At harvest, once the grapes arrive in the cellar, they are destemmed, pressed and then vinified. The fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperatures. A long maceration with a submerged cap follows for 4 to 7 weeks depending on the vintage. Malolactic fermentation starts spontaneously at a controlled temperature of 20 ° C. After racking, the Barolo Perno is stored in stainless steel for about 2-4 months and matures in large Slavonian barrels for 24 months. The wine then ages in stainless steel for 4 to 6 months and in the bottle for another 6 months.
Now let us move on to the wine vertical tasting story.
Barolo Perno 2018
The vintage had heavy rainfall until May, and the temperatures were average for the season, with just a heat peak at the beginning of August. September was hot, with moderate diurnal range. Significant variation in temperatures occurred between late September and early October, which increased the sugar levels, sped up the phenolic ripeness and achieved an optimal level of acidity, resulting in excellent harvesting parameters.
The wine is ruby in colour, with a deeper colour in the core of the glass and also has garnet glows. On the nose, we sense a wide range of aromas, from violet to ripe black fruit such as blueberry, plum and sour cherry, followed by chocolate, tobacco, oak and herbal and spicy notes. In the mouth, it is full bodied, warm with a firm and pronounced tannic texture; the wine is still very dynamic. The long finish is characterised by a licorice aftertaste.
Barolo Perno 2015
The winter snowfalls favoured the accumulation of water reserves in the soil, even if the vegetative cycle was anticipated, thus affecting the fruit set. The summer was characterised by above-average temperatures, but the heat did not cause significant stress to the plants thanks to water reserves stored in winter. The vintage can be evaluated “average” with healthy grapes.
This wine is bright ruby in colour with many garnet reflections. On the nose, it is pronounced ad complex, opening with floral aromas of violet and fruity blueberry jam, followed by tertiary nuances of coffee, mint and cloves. The wine is austere in the mouth, with powerful and smooth tannins that bind to the flavours and the fresh acidity. This is a wine with a long finish and herbal aftertaste.
Barolo Perno 2013
The beginning of the vegetative cycle of the vine was conditioned by the delayed start of spring, with low temperatures in March and April and heavy rainfall until the end of May. Since June, the weather gradually got better, with a very positive summer for the plant physiology. Nevertheless, the vine has not able to recover the delay in the vegetative development accumulated in the previous months, with Nebbiolo harvest at the end of October.
This wine ruby in colour with garnet reflections and the aroma the bouquet is wide and complex. On the nose, fruity aromas of plum and cherry jam are perfectly balanced with tertiary hints of tobacco, roasted coffee beans, spicy scents of cinnamon and vanilla, followed by forest floor, mint and licorice. In the mouth, the wine is warm and austere, with smooth tannins, a great minerality and freshness that envelops the entire mouth. Despite this wine has been produced ten years ago, it has just started its slow evolutionary path. The finish is log with a minty aftertaste.
Barolo Perno 2012
The winter of the 2012 vintage was cold until February, with heavy snowfall that helped to store water in the soil, but it also resulted in a delayed vegetative cycle. The cold winter and a rainy spring affected the fruit set. After a hot summer, the autumn temperature dropped, leading to Nebbiolo harvest in October.
The wine is garnet in colour with ruby glows. On the nose, the aromas are complex and pronounced. Aromas of red fruit jam are balanced with the tertiary notes, of forest floor, cocoa, tobacco, and hints of mint and spicy cinnamon. On the mouth, the wine is warm at the beginningwitha firm tannic texture, very perceivable acidity and savoury flavours. The finish isvery long with an excellent licorice aftertaste.
Barolo Perno Riserva 2009
The Barolo Perno Riserva matures for a year longer in barrels than compared the samples tasted before. During the 2009 vintage, heavy winter snowfalls and a rainy start to the spring ensured a water storage in the soil that was of essential importance to face the summer heat. In fact, there was no water stress, despite the strong heat and the almost absence of rainfall in summer. The grapes reached an excellent phenolic and technological ripeness, with acid levels below the average.
In the glass the wine is deep garnet in colour. The aromas are complex with hints of dried rose, blackberry and blueberry jam, which are balanced with the tertiary tones of sweet spice, mushroom and forest floor, followed by darker notes of tobacco and hints of cinchona. In the mouth, the wine is austere, full-bodied with powerful tannins and a clearly perceivable fresh-savory component. The long finish is stunning with a balsamic aftertaste. The wine is suitable for a long ageing.
This was an amazing vertical tasting of this Barolo Perno, one of the most iconic crus of Barolo in Monforte d’Alba. A major wine that, despite the differences in the vintages, maintains the character of the region, austere and mineral, a guarantee of the highest quality and indefinite ageing. When you live experiences such as this one, you hope to be able to taste the wine again in the future, and possibly even lengthening the vertical testing with other vintages.