GIOVANNI SORDO

Sordo HQ is nestled in the corner of Castiglione Falletto comune on the last stretch of the Alba-Barolo road before it takes that left fork up to Barolo village. You take this track (Frazione Garbelletto) just to the left for Paolo Scavino and Azelia, or right another 100 metres to the entrance of the Sordo family’s quite spectacular and beautiful new cellar. The new; a remarkable & architecturally superb new cellar for Sordo, created under the custodianship of Giorgio Sordo (pictured) – is certainly a contrast to their essentially unforced, traditional wines.

A BAROLO DISCOVERY

While the sheer impact and architectural quality of this new facility is eye-catching, it’s the wines that must demand most attention. For sheer consistent excellence of this number of wines made in an essentially traditional and unforced style, it is impossible not to take note of the wines of A A Giovanni Sordo. These wines have been described as ‘transparent’ and they are made by people who want their wines to speak of where they come from.

REVIEWS

PublisherProducerWineVintageReviewScore
SordoNebbiolo d’Alba2016Nebbiolo can be tough work. All that acid and tannin with savoury fruits can make them a bit of a shock to the uninitiated. But wines like this are sure to turn them thanks to its powerful character and personality, at a bargain price. From the great 2016 vintage this is a delicious and generous expression of nebbiolo bursting with baked earth, violet, spice and red cherry aromas supported by old oak. It’s hearty on the palate where earthy, dried tea and bitter orange flavours are supported by quite supple tannins so is ready for drinking right now. It’s all topped off with fantastic fruit length which makes this wine the complete package for a mid-week Nebbiolo
The Wine FrontSordoNebbiolo d’Alba2016Quite the charmer here. Ripe raspberry and strawberry, some liquorice, slight alpine herb perfume and some sweet dusty spices. Medium-bodied at most with fine slightly dusty tannin, though the feel is supple and fruit pleasingly concentrated, albeit in a discreet way. Finishes with a fine dusty trail and some juicy strawberries dusted with pepper. Lovely wine.91
Wine DecodedSordoNebbiolo d’Alba2016Along with Benevelli’s Langhe Neb this is Australia’s new house Neb! Grown on the sunny and steep vineyards of the Roero region in between the left bank of the Tanaro river and the nearby Langhe region. It sees 9 months in large old oak before a short spell in tank and some bottle time. Bags of fun! A beautiful fragrance with a backbone of juicy fruit. Nice élévage sees it drinking beautifully now. The acid balances beautifully to give it that thirst-quenching dimension. With a dusting of slatey tannin, it is just so easy to hook a glass. Layers of liquorice, woody earth, and a little spice rest around the core of fresh cherry fruit.
James SucklingSordoBarbaresco2017Roses and ripe strawberries on the nose with hints of dried citrus. It’s full-bodied with chewy tannins and a light balsamic note to the finish. Needs time to soften. Better after 2022.90
The Wine PilotSordoNebbiolo Spumante Brut RoséNVI’ve always been a huge fan of the Sordo wines since being introduced to them a few years ago. This Spumante Brut Rose is a welcome addition to the list in my head titled ‘Italian sparkling wines that I should drink the next time I want to be seriously impressed’ (or something like that). It screams freshness and vibrancy – delicate pink fruits, spiced ginger, pomegranate and freshly baked muffins with strawberry compote. The palate is lively but has a lovely core of savoury complexity that indicates this would be an exceptional food match. Think vitello tonnato, or a simple platter of fennel taralli and hard salty cheese.
James SucklingSordoBarbera d’Alba2018Another fun Barbera, destined for early consumption, showing raspberry compote, cherries and citrus with some herbs. Light and fun. Drink now.89
The Wine FrontSordoLanghe Rosso Rapuje2010Deep, earthy, spicy thing this is, all black cherries and tar, with a little liquorice top note. It’s fleshy and grainy in tannin, bottle age character coming in to lend a spicy beefy character, but bright acidity keeps it fresh, and the finish is pretty crisp, fresh strawberry acidity and poached berry character. Very interesting. 91
Wine DecodedSordoNebbiolo d’Alba2016The Nebbiolo d’Alba is from the Valmaggiore region of Roero. A beautiful perfume, with fine dusty tannins, and, what I’ve discovered is Sordo’s hallmark, excellent élévage. Great drinking and the perfect intro to the range. Lythe, elegant, refreshing. Valmaggiore is just outside the area classified and Langhe Neb. There are some cracking Neb’s coming from the area. The other one you may know is Sandrone’s.
Wine DecodedSordoBarbaresco2016A blend from Treiso, Barbaresco and Nieve with exceptional energy and vitality. Lively, balanced acidity. Vibrant juicy cherry fruit, excellent mouthfeel. Incredibly transparency. Wicked complexity so much going on. Layered. Showing just how good 2016 Barbaresco is. Such a refreshing wine.
James SucklingSordoBarbaresco2016A fresh and delightful Barbaresco that opens with incense, rose petals and spices. Finely knit and tangy on the medium-bodied palate. Round and attractive on the finish. Drink now or hold.91
The Wine FrontSordoBarbaresco2016Spicy, red fruit, liquorice and almond, fragrant. Crisp, red fruits with a savoury mineral and earthy edge, fine grip of emery tannin, fresh with again a wet clay thing happening on the finish. Needs a few years. 94 Points - Gary Walsh, The Wine Front94
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo2015Savoury, earthy, rich, plush tannins, plenty going on. A great intro into Sordo Barolo. Dark and generous showing the dominance of La Morra in the blend. Beautiful élévage. Great drinking.
James SucklingSordoBarolo2015Bright aromas of strawberries and raspberries, leading to dried herbs and leaves. The palate reveals a classically refined style with acidity making a strong push into the tangy cherry on the mid-palate. Fine and chalky tannins to close. Lovely tautness.93
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo201680% La Morra. Immediate generosity has it open for action but so much more. A little chocolate and little coffee, savoury bits on dark fruit. There is a lot going on here with layers of flavours and tannins. The depth and length are impressive. Wonderful harmony and presence. Full, dense and obviously really bright. Rose, maraschino, fleshy red plum/red prune. More fragrant than earthy- forcefully fragrant. This is fabulous, just keeps opening; violets now, more dried rose. Palate is explosive, very full, up and lively, textured and complete. Notable, tingling acidity woven through. Masterful blending. A great summary of this vintage.
James SucklingSordoBarolo2016A very fine-tannined red with creamy, polished tannins that run the length of the wine. It’s medium-bodied with pretty length and finesse. Drink or hold. 92
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo Ravera2016A wonderful example. Crunchy red fruits with the energy of 2016, there’s the overlying perfume and incredible length just goes for every. The sophistication of the front mid-palate tannin is there. The refreshing balanced acidity. Playful yet leveling up to serious. A lythe yet present flavour profile. Aha – this red cherry and brick-dust opening is becoming familiar; the Ravera trademark. Then some gorgeous classy, sappy note, some rose perfumes and back to the recurring essence; red things. Lush, saturated red things dominate, with whatever might be underneath, mostly swamped for now. A lot of wine. Palate is expansive, nervy and savoury – in fact quite grippy. Reminds a lot of 2013. Great potential, not bad now!
Wine EnthusiastSordoBarolo Ravera2016Truffle, weedy underbrush and baked plum aromas form the subtle nose. On the assertive palate, you'll find unripe sour cherry, rusty nail and a green note of powdered sage alongside grainy tannins that leave an astringent drying finish.88
James SucklingSordoBarolo Ravera2016Sweet-berry and strawberry aromas and flavors. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, polished tannins. Chewy and balanced. Drink after 2022.93
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo Monvigliero2016Superb, the flint, the slate, the dark sour cherries, such length. Incredible wine. A hint of macerative, grape marc character, again energy, vibrancy. Nice florals. Tannins that almost remind me of a little whole bunch will resolve. Should be a fun evolution for this one. This has a wonderful personality. Very recognisable again; the graphite and generous almost smoky black cherry/prune announces a Monvigliero. Often the most ready and giving of the Sordo Cru, this is both expressive now, yet clearly very classy. Maybe a bit of orange liqueur today? Probably shows more dense and complex than previously. Even a touch glossy. Moderately grippy as expected, and with a nice fine acid tingle.
The Wine FrontSordoBarolo Monvigliero2016Smells deep, brooding, spicy, dark cherry, suede leather, mineral, alpine herb. Red and black cherry, firm graphite feel to tannin, roundness but straight lines of flavour delivered within a stream of pure acidity, long finish all suffused with more mineral tannin and latent perfume. Wow.97
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo Villero2016Crystal clear. Darker more broody than the 2015 which had a few more months off the boat when I first saw it. Fresh and vibrant / energetic. Bold, yet very good long, layered slatey tannins compared with the 2015. Wonderful texture here. Perfume comes up in the glass with air. Intoxicating. Such a beautiful wine. This will be epic in 5 years! I can still taste it. Power and beauty! There’s a trick.
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo Rocche Di Castiglione2016Such a complete wine yet tightly coiled and the moment, everything in it’s place and place for everything. Incredible tannin profile this year. Such lovely ripe nutty tannins of serious depth. The core of fruit is exceptional and long. Mouth filling, I so want to see a bottle of the 2010 to see where it is at right now. It feels like a young 2004. Just restrained enough to stop it blowing your mind. The length of tannin is incredible. Persistance+++. The structure here builds a notch beyond Villero and Monprivato. After 3 hours in the glass it’s just starting to show itself. Sordo’s Rocche always takes a long time to show itself. 2015, 2013, 2006 and 2004 drinking wonderfully. 2004 still in the 2nd phase of development. All take hours to open up.
The Wine FrontSordoBarolo Rocche Di Castiglione2016Rich, floral perfume, dark cherry, raspberry liqueur, liquorice, five spice. Dense, juicy but deep fruit, wide grain tannin, mouth-perfume, very long and savoury, all the mineral and good stuff.97
Wine EnthusiastSordoBarolo Rocche Di Castiglione2016Woodland-berry, new leather and forest-floor aromas shape the nose. On the fresh linear palate, bright acidity accompanies juicy morello cherry, licorice and a hint of tobacco. Taut polished tannins and fresh acidity provide support. Drink 2024–2033.93
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo Monprivato2016Started dense and fragrant…then shut down. All about delicacy, almost Barbaresco-like with roses, strawberry, orange and musk. Slowly opens, to cranberry, fading flowers and more dense elements of cherry liqueur cinnamon and tobacco. A brilliant classy sappiness tell-tales on a red of essential tightness, but evolving complexities. Palate is big; bigger than Rocche and with some clear ripe red fruit flavours and that Castiglione acid/tannin bonding. Has energy. Should do big things. Slowly.
Wine EnthusiastSordoBarolo Monprivato2016Aromas suggesting truffle, leather and camphor form the nose. On the full-bodied palate, grainy tannins accompany dried cherry, cranberry and licorice. It's still youthfully austere and will benefit from more aging. Drink 2026–2036.92
The Wine FrontSordoBarolo Parussi2016Black raspberry, new leather / tobacco, deep, floral, fresh red fruits, vibrant, deep bedded mineral/graphite tannin, pure sweet fruit, long and mineral tannin to close. Ripe and fullsome for a Monprivato. Beauty.95
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo Perno2016Excellent, immediately took me to the 2010 Riserva. Wonderful density. Every sniff sees another scent wafting out of the glass. The tannins show the benefit of a long ripening season. Yes, they have structure, they are damn fine tannins of exceptional depth and length. Hints of tobacco, earth, savoury bits and such a long deep core of fruit. This will develop beautifully. Monforte d’Alba. Lustrous mid ruby. A nose bursting with minerals and saline hints. Muscular, gripping but polished tannins with supple crushed red-berry fruit. Very long and focused. (WS) Drink 2022 – 2036
The Wine FrontSordoBarolo Perno2016Liquorice, aromatic, mint, ripe cherry, a touch of earth. Big spread of flavour, tannin buried, fine brick dusty feel, very long, fresh and tannic to close. Big, but beautifully formed. 95-96 Points, Gary Walsh - The Winefront95-96
Wine EnthusiastSordoBarolo Perno2016Red-berry, truffle and crushed mint aromas follow through to the full-bodied palate along with tobacco notes. Tightly wound, grainy tannins lead to a firm drying finish. Drink after 2026. 91
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo Gabutti2016Insanely good, incredibly complete. Benchmark stuff. Such a fragrance! This is mind boggling. Wonderful flow length+++. The sophistication of tannins here is insane. Here we see an incredibly complete wine. Such sophistication and power. There’s an elegance and lithe nature to this incredibly powerful beauty. The flowers are intoxicating. Again length +++. The sophistication in the tannins this year is phenomenal.
The Wine FrontSordoBarolo Gabutti2016Ripe red fruit, cherry, tea and liquorice. So deep and resonant, thick in flavour, earthy spicy and rolling with black tea tannin, opulent on the finish. Pow. This is it.t97
Wine EnthusiastSordoBarolo Gabutti2016Underbrush, dark-skinned berry and ground clove aromas form the subtle nose. The palate starts off with juicy Marasca cherry and licorice before assertive, grainy tannins kick in, giving it an astringent, drying close. Drink after 2026.89
James SucklingSordoBarolo Gabutti2016Lots of candied apple and cranberry character on the nose. Medium-to full-bodied with pretty, juicy and chewy tannins. Cedar, mushroom and tobacco undertones. Better after 2022.93
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo Ravera2015‘Ravishing red’ as usual, a wave of roses and red cherry. Quite lush, but holds its shape as all that red rolls to the pinpoint, tingling finish. It’s no wonder Ravera has risen so much in people’s estimation over recent years. Serious Barolo of a distinct style.
James SucklingSordoBarolo Ravera2015Super fresh, vibrant and fragrant nose with roses and herbs, as well as lighter red cherries. The palate has a deliciously zesty, taut texture with fine, tight tannins holding a long, powerful yet elegant finish.94
Wine EnthusiastSordoBarolo Ravera2014This opens with aromas of underbrush, rose petal and a whiff of nutmeg. The savory solid palate delivers juicy raspberry, clove and star anise alongside firm tannins and fresh acidity. Drink 2022–2027.89
James SucklingSordoBarolo Ravera2014Subdued red-berry aromas on the nose, but the tannins and alcohol are a bit obvious on the palate. Drink or hold.87
Wine DecodedSordoBarolo Ravera2013Big and dense in colour, and all other respects. Big and chewy in mouth, yet fine line and varietal shape, with rich fruit core, and very correct. Chestnut-fine tannins again, drive great length with complex flavours of iron, brick dust, and good savouriness. Excellent acid and tannin back-palate tweak. Complex, still a lot to show, needs time to uncoil.
Jancis RobinsonSordoBarolo Ravera2013Maturing, lustrous ruby with orange tinges. Spicy and a little dense and fruitdriven on the nose. Lots of fruit as well as acidity and firm, chalky tannins. Seems accessible already but the succulent acidity and the firm tannic structure bodes well for the future.17+
The Real ReviewSordoBarolo Gabutti2015From Serralunga. The bouquet is voluminous and already displays a great array of attractive aromas. Dried flowers, dried herbs, dried berry fruits and tinges of brandied-cherry and star anise, while the palate is big and plush, full-bodied and full-volume with richness, density and generosity to match its abundant tannins. A profound wine whose tannins are massive but not as dry or pointed as the Perno's. Drink: 2019 to 2035.97
The Real ReviewSordoNebbiolo d’Alba2917Light to medium red/purple hue. Faded rose-petal aromas of typical nebbiolo. A trace of tobacco and a rumour of leather. Light-bodied and lean, finishing with tight, firm, edgy tannins. It needs protein, and would be very good with food - but lighter protein-based food. A more fruit-driven nebbiolo.89

TESTIMONIALS

"I liked all of Giovanni Sordo’s 2015s. The wines are delicious well-made classics, finely-nuanced and all reasonably priced for wines of this quality and provenance"

Michael Hill-Smith MW August ‘19

"These are superb wines…A feature of the Sordo wines is their moderate prices. They are substantially cheaper than other producers of comparable quality"

Huon Hooke – June ‘19

"What a lovely traditional producer Sordo is. These wines age gracefully for many years (tasted from the 1980s+). They have purity, refinement and loud terroir expression. It is particularly fun to try the single vineyard cru wines all together as they show the added structure of Limestone/sandstone vs clays, The cooling effect of altitude, and the different Cru complexities. The 2013 vintage is a lovely classic vintage with wines of fruit and terroir purity, and lots of fine tannins that are inclusive of the fruit and terroir expression. They should age very well."

Chester Osborn – November ‘18

"Wines are beautifully made, with understanding and sympathy for the fruit, and what it can deliver - they don’t try too hard and are better for it. Really good sense of place – they express the vineyards well. They have an ease and a charm. They are super bright, pure and fresh, perfumed and elegant, varietally right on the money, but also have a serious depth and well-judged levels of extract (both white and reds). The oak is really well handled and is never a feature. "

Peter Godden – April ‘18