Isabella Oddero Visits New York


Isabella Oddero in the cellars
I had the pleasure of welcoming Isabella Oddero to New York last month. I have tasted with Isabella in the cantina at Oddero for several years but his was the first time we were able to sit down and share a few glass here in New York.

Preceding dinner was an in-store tasting at New York’s Chambers Street wines where I was able to revisit the 2007 Bianco and 2006 Barbera d’Alba that I had previously tasted in the cellars.

For those of you not familiar with Oddero it’s a historic Cantina of La Morra, in Piemonte, yet produced wines from many of the villages that constitute Barolo.

The wines are made in a fairly traditional style, though their base Barolo is quite fruity and they even produce a Cabernet Sauvignon based wine called Fureste: The foreigner in the local vernacular.

The real stars of the Oddero line-up are the single vineyard Barolo and Barbaresco. These are beautiful wines that may not be terrible expressive in their youth but blossom wonderfully with age. These earlier vintages are testament to the quality of the vineyards, coming from the family’s holdings in La Morra and Castiglione that are now bottled as Cru wines.

For more information on the wines of Oddero please see the previously published : A Killer Visit with Oddero

2007 Langhe Bianco

Fruity on the nose with floral tones and pear fruit. Huge acids in the mouth give this great cut with a faceted quality to the mineral laden white fruits. This is assertively mineral on the backend and into the long finish.  89pts

2006 Barbera d’Alba
Sweet and sour fruits on the nose are uncomplicated yet pure and bright. The classic Barbera acidity keeps this bright and zesty on the palate as well with a clear, slightly bitter black cherry tone and nice accents of tar, earth and violet than add nice length on the finish. 88pts

1961 Barolo

A bit high toned on the nose and showing some volatility yet very aromatic with leafy tones of tobacco some sweet medicinal notes and a lovely array of assertive truffle and sweet angelica root tones. There’s a touch of teriyaki that emerges with air as well. While this retains a nice tannic bite it is fairly well resolved with a clear quality in the mouth that allows the bright sweet/sour cranberry tones to take center stage with hints of licorice and tar adding some detail around the edges. The fruit is fading a bit and doesn’t have great persistence in the mouth with a limestone mineral note taking over on the moderately long finish.  A very enjoyable,, fully mature bottle of Barolo. 92pts

1967 Barolo
This starts off bit funky on the nose transitioning from the barnyard to a leathery, seaweed flecked bouquet that exhibits some classic mint and truffle tones before surrendering to a deep beef bouillon, dried onion and allspice tone. In the mouth this still has some flesh, which is well balanced by the relatively soft structure that remains. It gains more richness as it sits in the glass and the sweet edge of maderization gives an impression of sweetness to the cranberry/rhubarb fruit. There is a nice spice element that adds to the moderately long finish and a touch of burnished orange peel on the finale. The palate is fresher than the nose here but if this bottle is indicative these should be consumed sooner rather than later. 88pts

1970 Barolo
The aromatics here present quite a contrast with a fresh, crisp celery note intertwined in the sweet black cherry core of fruit. There are hints of sweet tea, veal stock and fresh shitakes adding complexity but there is also a touch of rum on the nose that is a little off-putting. On the palate this is large scaled if soft with a wonderfully plush texture to the cherry and rhubarb fruit with hints of tar and subtle spice tones drawing out the moderately long finish. 90pts

1971 Barolo
The cork on this bottle was pristine and the condition of the wine was exceptional. Such a deep color and such reticence on the nose that one would be forgiven thinking this was decades younger. The nose opens with a huge fresh celery note that is slowly subsumed by wonderfully sweet and fresh black currant and black cherry fruit tones.  With air the nuances of coffee, cigarette ash and burnt raisin tones add their detail to the bouquet though a touch of volatility does emerge, adding lift but also a bit of glue to the nose. In the mouth this is elegant with superb balance. The ripe, round tannins remain well concealed in a plush core of fruit. The lovely mouthfeel is complimented by the earthy floral tones and bitter cherry fruit the wine retains but the finish does reveal a bit of heat and the tannins gain a slight powdery edge with time in the glass. This is filled with fruit yet it lacks a touch a detail. It may very well continue to improve in the bottle. 91pts

1974 Barolo

This really has a lovely fruity quality on the nose with a lightness and brightness that still makes this smell quite youthful. There are nice notes of dandelion, pigskin, dry earth and licorice that add nice detail to the fresh black cherry fruit. In the mouth this has such purity and real finesse. It is clean and polished with a great core of mineral tinged black cherry fruit, superb length and a sleek, refreshing feel. It is elegant; a touch simple and perhaps even delicate by Barolo standards but is pure joy to drink. Each note is so precise and clear here that you don’t need any more complexity to be completely satisfied. 94pts

1978 Barolo

Reticent on the nose yet evolving rich hints of macerated flowers, sandalwood, tar and wet animal fur in the glass. This is continues to be decidedly matte feeling with plenty of fleshy fruit backed up by rich, slightly chewy tannins. The fruit is dark with earthy, leathery tones and excellent length but this still has a touch of an undeveloped feel. It’s rich and lusty if a touch rustic and may remain so. 92pts

1989 Barolo Vigna Rionda

The aromatic on this are superbly layered and still very fruity with hints of iron, smoke, smoldering herbs and dusty earth embedded in sweet notes of cherry, candied strawberry and strawberry and cream fruit tones. In the mouth the tannins remain ripe yet rigid giving the mouth an excellent, precise feel. This is rich and powerful and the fruit is just beginning to yield the stage to the emerging tertiary notes but remains wonderfully youthful. 93pts

2001 Barolo Mondoca di Bussia Soprana

The nose combines very fruity and intense notes of candied black raspberry fruit and cactus leaves with hints of cigarette smoke, clove and vanilla giving this a bit of a modern appearance. Big, rich and chewy in the mouth with big tannins and a dark core of confiture of black fruits. There are nuanced of espresso foam, licorice and backing spices adding accent notes on the long finish but this is still very youthful and showing lots of baby fat. 92pts

2004 Barolo
Spicy on the nose, with jammy red currant fruits and a touch of carob. Lovely fresh tannins and rich fruit give this a soft, round feel with ripe wild cherry and boysenberry fruit that is fresh and intense if a bit simple and dilute on the finish. A fine Basic Barolo 88pts

2004 Barolo Villero

A real step up in refinement over the base Barolo with red fruits on the nose accented with clay soil tones rose petals, sweet sassafras, spicy savory tones and a liquory black fruit top note. This offers up a really layered and complex. Set of aromatics.  Deceptively soft at first, the wine snaps together on the mid-palate with well-balanced, crisp, faceted tannins and prominent yet integrated acids framing the bitter cherry fruit. There are lovely herbal, medicinal tones that draw out the inner core of sweetness of the fruit and add resonance on the long finish. A very promising wine but one that is best left alone for a decade. 91pts

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