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50 Years of Gaja's Sori Tildin

Sorì Tildìn was the first Italian wine to be sold en Primeur!

Fifty years ago, the first vintage of a truly special wine emerged from our cellars. Sorì Tildìn, a wine we are particularly fond of, is named after Angelo's grandmother, Clotilde Rey, also known as “Tilde”. And Tilde certainly knew how to sow the values that still inspire us today.

The vineyard was purchased in 1967, six years after the passing of Clotilde, from Marchesa Gherzi Paruzza, wife of the brilliant automobile designer Dante Giacosa who created the Fiat “Topolino” in 1936 and, after the second world war, the Fiat 500, or “la Cinquecento”.

The vineyard is in the shape of an amphitheater lying on top of a hill three kilometers from the town of Barbaresco, offering an extensive view over a spacious valley. One of the highest vineyards near the town Barbaresco, it reaches an elevation of 290 meters and enjoys full western exposure and a partial exposure to the south-west, assuring the vineyard a warmer and drier microclimate compared to others in the area.

It was after the third harvest, in 1970, when we decided that those grapes deserved to be granted life as a single vineyard and the first vintage of Sorì Tildìn was thus born. A half century later it has kept its promise in producing a character of equilibrium and gentleness. Two characteristics are distinguishable right from the start and are already noticeable in the first four or five years after its release: perfect balance and drinkability.
Sorì Tildìn’s distinctiveness is the result of proper exposure and light, its proximity to the Tanaro river (ensuring nocturnal humidity which is very useful for the maturation of Nebbiolo’s phenols), and good soil composition with abundant draining sands and magnesium, clearly visible in the form of small bronze-colored grains, which gives flavor and minerality to the wine.
Vine density is also notably above average, around 6000 plants per hectare. All of this points towards concentration, maturity, fullness and density, the distinctive features of this wine. Tasting Sorì Tildìn offers ripe fruits, fleshy and earthy notes, hints of scrub vegetation and a vague notes of saline flavors in the mouth.

During the first twelve years of Sorì Tildìn, the harvest was conducted much later than usual. This was because Angelo, after a discussion with the famous wine and food critic, philosopher Luigi Veronelli, accepted a challenge. Veronelli maintained that in the past, wines were made with grapes harvested in late November and that today’s producers had a tendency to anticipate harvesting times and no longer had the courage to wait for the grapes to fully ripen.
So, for this single vineyard, Angelo decided to wait until mid-November to harvest. It took courage since it meant risking adverse weather that could arrive at any moment and jeopardize losing the harvest, but he wanted to demonstrate that he was patient and respectful of time. He managed to do it in the years 1970, ‘71, ‘74, ‘78, and ‘82. But he eventually had to stop. The vineyard is next to a road, where in October, passersby would see the grapes still hanging on the leafless vines and stop to pick and help themselves. Angelo attempted to dissuade the people by placing signs asking please not to take the grapes, stating that the grapes were not forgotten and that they were still to be harvested, but it was to no avail.

Sorì Tildìn was the first Italian wine to be sold en Primeur, meaning that the person who purchased a certain number bottles after the harvest was entitled to customized labels. Our archives show a list of thirty people from Milan, Rome, Turin, Bologna and even New York, who purchased quotas during the first three years

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