While La Morra is responsible for a large part of today’s production of Barolo such a significant portion of dominated by the modernist movement that it is at times surprising to reflect back on the incredible historical influence of the region. While lying in the Frazione of Santa Maria just to the north-east of La Morra Cantina Oddero is one of a handful of historically important cantine in the region that continues to fly under the radar.
In many ways this historic estate offers a view into the past that is unique. Their recent decision to bottle crus Villero and Brunate, in addition to the extant bottlings from Vigna Rionda, Bussia Soprana Mondoca, and Rocche di Castiglione, offer the amateur of Barolo a unique chance to “hear” from some of the finest parcels in Serralunga, Monforte, Castiglione as well as La Morra, not to mention Gallina in Barbaresco!
When I say to “hear” I am not trying to use a fancy literary function but rather am trying to convey the intention of enologist Luca Veglio. During a long morning conversation with this young ma we touched on many subjects but, as is the case in many favorite cantine, returned over and over to the idea that the job of the enologist is to allow the vines to express what they have each year. It is refreshing to see that the movement away from an enologist imprinting his or her style on a wine is in full force though at Oddero this was never the case.
Currently run by the fifth and sixth generation of Odderos there has never been the need for “another” way. The well worn path is duly followed by the descendants of the Odderos who first bottled their wine in 1878. While not averse to tweaking the wine and making subtle improvements in the cellar and particularly in the 35 hectares of vineyards, this century plus of tradition has given the family a foundation on which to build. And build they have and continue to do. In fact they have just recently begun an expansion project that will equip them with a new production facility just under the current cantine but rest assured that the wines they will produced from this new facility will carry on their grand tradition.
2007 Langhe Bianco -89pts
This is a new bottling which begins where the story of Oddero Langhe Chardonnay ends. The previous white was a pure chardonnay from Serralunga that saw barrel-aged. This wine proved too big, alcoholic, and over-ripe for the Oder’s taste so they have switched to a blend, Currently 80% Chardonnay from La Morra, and 20% a changing mix based on Riesling that is aged primarily in Stainless though a tiny percentage o overflow sees some wood. In a effort to emphasize the bright and fresh character desired the vines are planted low on the hillside to prevent hydric stress and significant leaf cover is allowed to preserve the bright acids and mineral character of the grapes.
Smoky mineral tones dominate the nose with the fruit hinting at banana peel before opening with notes of apple, pear and lemon 3
Pretty in the mouth with w rich yet elegant feel balanced with ripe acids that offer god cut 2+
White peach upon entry then turning flinty, a bit tight still 2
Really rounds out on the finish with a wave of fruit that extends the length, excellent purity 2+
Dolcetto d’Alba 2006 - 88pts
A blend of fruit from Castiglione Falleto and La Morra
All Stainless 10-12 day fermentation/maceration.
Good intensity on the nose with a core of crisp, red berried fruit, lightly vegetal/floral top notes and a base of chalky earth 2+
Crisp tannins and very bright acids give an elegant mouthfeel with rounded edges, a bit polished 2+
Almost plumy fruit on the attack with deep soil tones and a refreshingly classic touch of bitter almond 2+
Lovely mouthgrab on the finish, which is of medium length and ends with a finale of wild red berries and mineral. 2+
Barbera d’Alba 2006 - 87pts
A blend of fruit from Castiglione Falleto and La Morra
15-20 day fermentation and maceration
70% is aged in big, neutral wood
1 month in bottle
The nose is greeted with Slavonian oak tones joined my meaty notes and red plum skins over a dry soil base. A touch rustic yet with good complexity and depth 2+
Softish acidity creates an opulent and broad mouthfeel that is well balanced but lacks a bit of definition 2
A bit closed still with lightly floral inner mouth perfume and notes of red apple skins and plum skin. 2
Finishes with a touch more acidic support yet still round, subtle notes on the finish reveal excellent potential for improvement in the bottle 2
Barbera d’Asti 2006 - 89pts
Clay and soil tones dominate the nose upon opening with a spicy/woodsy character adding complexity to the emerging dark prune notes with an animale edge 2+
Great acids keep this dark almost brooding wine from falling flat, lovely balance and weight 3
Tight and a bit closed yet with dark mineral tones and a core of dense wild red berried fruit that is just hinting what this has to offer 2+
A very taut finish with great acidic cut but very tight 2
Langhe Nebbiolo 2006 - 90pts
Not declassified Barolo but a separate and distinct bottling inaugurated in 2002 as an effort to work with that vintage. Harvest a week or so before the grapes for Barolo.
10-12 day fermentation/maceration at a slightly lower temperature than for the Barolo in an effort to preserve freshness and limit the extraction of green tannins. Aged 9 months in Botte then 6 months in bottle. A blend of fruit from La Morra and Castiglione.
The nose offers a curious yet appealing notes of confected green fruits, think candied watermelon rind, over baked clay tile that adds layers of rosewater, pomegranate, balsamic forest floor and a strong top note of angelica root. Very expressive and fresh 3+
Lovely and lithe in the mouth with juicy acidity and ripe tannins on a well proportioned medium weight frame 2+
Fresh berry fruit in the mouth which is bright and pure with a very refreshing green note but not particularly complex 2+inishes a bit short and tight with peach skin tannins pooping up and clipping the finish 2
Barolo 2004 - 88pts
A blend of fruit from Castiglione Falleto( Bricco Fiasco) and La Morra (Bricco Chiesa and Capalot) 20 day fermentation/maceration. Each cru vinified separately, aged in separate botti then assembled.
Very taut nose revealing subtle notes of tobacco and leather then a bit of seared cherry and chalky, powdery earth. 2+
Luxurious and elegant in the mouth with ripe acids and tannins, lithe and sinewy 2+
Moderately intense notes of cherry pit fruit and soil tones escape the reticent palate 2
Mouth grabbing structure dominates the finish, this needs 3-5 years to come into it’s own and while it finishes short today there is evident depth to the nettle, green herb and dense fruit on the finale 2+
Barbaresco Gallina 2005 - 92pts
20-25 day fermentation/maceration
Spicy and floral on the nose with a big woodsy, sottobosco character and a balsamic edge 2+
Sweet tannins are very fine and fill the mouth, the very well integrated acidity adds to the velvety mouthfeel 3
Very plummy up front then turning more cherried with excellent purity of fruit, gentle suggestions of watermelon and strawberry tops add a bit of complexity 3
Showing some incipient minerality on the finish which is a bit short with it’s abrupt finale of strawberry/strawberry tops, needs 2-4 years 2+
Barolo Villero 2004 - 90pts
Great intensity on the nose with a syrupy edge to the raspberry tones that are joined by notes of nettles, white clay, smoky, smoldering wood notes and an undertone of dark, pruney,fudgy fruit 2+
Velvety and round in the mouth with perfectly integrated acidity and fine grained tannins 3
Lovely fruit reveals the dark, earthy side of Villero with emerging notes of herb and mineral 2+
Finishes a touch simple yet with sneaking length and echoes of the core of dark, earthy fruit 2+
Barolo Rocche di Castiglione 2004 - 88pts
Floral/vegetal notes dominate the nose over an underlay of almost slate like minerality, light note of cherry in alcohol, good freshness 2+
A touch soft yet elegant with an austere character, well balanced and approachable 2+
A touch low intensity on the palate with easy notes of lingonberry/mulberry fruit with a sandy, mineral edge 2+
Tannins grow a bit on the finish, which features pure, light fruit with good length, the tannins offer a bit of a matte, flannel feel to the finish 2+
Barolo Brunate 2004 - 94pts
Great complexity on the nose with drying plum, light smoke tones, green herbs and almost salty minerality, closes up a bit in the glass but still offers up great intensity and complexity 3+
Very linear in the mouth with excellent balance, tannins embedded in the fruit and the acid cruising just under the surface. 3
Deep and bright in the mouth with a sour cherry/ green melon jolly rancher acid driven fruit quality above notes of peach pit, mineral, herb and a bit of dried citron 3+
Tight on the finish with a lingering layered finale of bright fruit 2
Barolo Bussia Soprana Vigna Mondoca (Pianpolvere) - 95pts
The smoky nose opens slowly revealing a bit of Ivy, some gravel dust, fresh green herbs then darker notes of old wood, dried flowers and subtle dried fruit tones. 3+
Round with a big, powerful entry very ripe tannins and excellent supporting acidity 3
Great intensity of flavor in the mouth weight any excess weight, melon rind and spicy almost gooseberry fruits that develops a more red fruited aspect with time yet retains the spicy, almost exotic edge 3
Very focused finish with great intensity of mineral tones and huge reserves of fruit on the long, lingering finale 3
Barolo Vigna Rionda 2003 - 88pts
The nose opens with a huge note of wild strawberry confiture and billows of church candle and incense with just a bit of alcohol showing 2+
Round in the mouth and a touch soft though the slightly astringent tannins offer a bit of a bite on the back end 2+
A bit muddled on the palate, lacking a bit of precision with a bit of detracting heat showing through the fairly rich and spicy strawberry fruit edged in dry soil tones 2+
Very grippy finish shows a bit of bitter tannin that offers contrast to the sweet fruit that ends on a finale of savory seeds 2+
Langhe Rosso Fureste - 2007 87pts
From La Morra 60% Cabernet/20% Merlot/20% Dolcetto)
15 day fermentation/maceration, elevage in stainless
Herbaceous cab dominated nose with gentle cassis notes, leafy edges and an interesting and unusual mineral tone 2+
Soft and fleshy in the mouth yet packed with tannins 2
Darkly fruited with a top note of minty herbaciousness over dark rich blackberry/cassis fruit 2
Finished a bit short with a hint of toasted almond in the finale 2
Moscato d’Asti 2007-88pts
Lovely fruit on the nose with a touch of sage, lemon rind, lime leaf, and juicy sweetness 2+
Nicely balanced acid/sugar levels 2
An almost creamy aspect to the Meyer lemon core is gently shaded with sage and candied lime zest 2+
Finishes round and juicy 2
A killer visit with Oddero.
- Reply by Nicolai Soegaard, Oct 21, 2008.
Yet anoter interesting tasting report. I don't have a lot of experience with Oddero, but my few experiences have been quite disappointing. It has always annoyed me that they haven't managed to get more out of the prestigious Rionda vineyard. But last Saturday my views were changed somewhat. I tasted some of the recent releases from Oddero, and I was very positively surprised. I had the following wines: 2004 Barolo, 2004 Barolo Villero, 2004 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione, 2004 Barolo Bussia Soprana Vigna Mondoca and 2003 Barolo Vigna Rionda.
I think the best of the bunch I tried was the Vigna Mondoca. It was very powerful and with lots of acidity - a very intense wine with a long finish. I think it will really be a wine for the ages.
I also liked the 2004 Villero and found it to be quite a bit better than the 2004 Rocche di Castiglione. The Villero is not the most complex Barolo I've had, but it was a very pleasant and well balanced wine. Very fruity and perhaps it was drinking a bit too easy - but I really liked it.
The 2003 Rionda also performed quite well. In fact I found this to be better than the 99 Rionda which I had last year. Neither of the two were great Riondas, but I found the 03 Rionda to be drinking pretty well now.
- Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Oct 21, 2008.
I just wrote that Brovia can be underwhelming in their youth and the same is true for Oddero. I do not think Oddero has made better wines then they currently have on offer. It looks like our ranking, if not our scores, may be similar here. The last bottle of Oddero that really surprised me was the 96 Rionda. I have a bottle waiting for consumption and will check in on it soon to see if it has fulfilled it's early promise or if it may still benefit from additional time in the cellar. I am hopeful that it is just breaking through to a mature stage.