Since its debut in 1967, Gaja’s Sorì San Lorenzo has established itself as one of the truly iconic wines in Piedmont and Italy.
Sorì San Lorenzo is the most powerful, structured and masculine of Gaja’s three single vineyard wines from Barbaresco. Costa Russi is always about suppleness, while Sorì Tildìn speaks to finesse above all else. Sorì San Lorenzo is a totally different animal. Here the wines are intense, brooding and exceptionally long-lived, with a level of intensity that could easily be mistaken for Barolo.
The Sorì San Lorenzo site is located closest to the warm air currents that travel down the Tanaro River valley, and this vineyard site is always the first to ripen and be harvested. You get a stronger mineral note here with iron rust, pencil shaving and potting soil intertwined with the primary fruit, showing dazzlingly intricate complexity and depth.
The term Sorì indicates the portion of the hillside facing south, while Lorenzo is the patron saint of the Cathedral of the city of Alba, whose parish benefice was the owner until 1964 of the vineyard subsequently purchased by the Gaja family. It is almost always the most powerful and perhaps the most majestic of the five single vineyards of Gaja, the one that later reaches full maturation in the bottle.
A bit of history now .... Angelo Gaja’s father, Giovanni, bought the vineyard in 1964 from the Alba church and christened it Sorì San Lorenzo, after city’s patron saint. Even then, Sorì San Lorenzo was known as source of top-quality grapes. As was the custom at the time, the vineyard was planted to both grapes and other crops, including fruit trees. Gino Cavallo, Gaja’s vineyard foreman, refused to cut down two old cypresses and plant the other half of the vineyard. The tree was known as a favorite spot of a local truffle hunter who was famous for the attention he lavished on his loyal dog. A few years later a rival truffle hunter who had a reputation for abusing his animals poisoned the dog. That was the last straw for Cavallo. In an act of retribution, down went the cypresses, and the rest of the vineyard was developed. In 1982 Gaja planted Barbera, which was later blended with Nebbiolo to create the modern-day Sorì San Lorenzo.