Simply put, these are two sensational Barolo Riserva from an estate that I am convinced is on the up. Barolo Riserva necessitate additional ageing and therefore these two wines have only come onto the market this year – they have been well worth the wait.
Poderi Oddero is an historic Barolo property, with roots going back to the end of the 18th century, making it one of the oldest established houses. You may not be familiar with the estate, and you may be confused by the name, as, in 2005, Giacomo Oddero and his brother Luigi split the estate, with Luigi heading off to create wines in his own name. As with any estate, such a division is never easy, and it took a little while for the dust to settle. When I visited to taste the 2016s, it was clear this famous estate was on a very fine trajectory, having crafted an exceptional Brunate and Rocche di Castiglione. I have followed them closely ever since. This La Morra estate’s wines have risen to real prominence under the stewardship of Mariacristina Oddero, Giacomo’s daughter, ably assisted by her niece Isabella and son Pietro.
One of the keys to Oddero’s success is its enviable holdings in some of the most heralded Barolo vineyards such as Vigna Rionda, Rocche di Castiglione, Brunate, Villero, and a more recently acquired small parcel in Monvigliero. Oddero has been a fascinating property to track; quality has not always been as high as it is today, yet we are now witnessing far greater consistency than ever before, culminating in, as I have previously commented, a stunning range of 2016s. The wines are made in a reassuringly traditional style that allows vineyard typicity to be clearly expressed. I fully expect the following that this estate has garnered to grow considerably over the next few years as the wines show purity and definition and are in a style that will surely appeal to followers of great traditional Barolo.
When commenting on the initial release of the 2016s, Antonio Galloni suggested they represented ‘another stellar set of wines from the Oddero family’. He went on to say that ‘Mariacristina Oddero, along with her son, Pietro, and niece, Isabella, has really taken these wines to another level in recent years. The 2016s and 2015s I tasted are all translucent, classic wines that capture the essence of place with stylishness and class’. I think those words are spot on – the winemaking is not intrusive and, stylistically, these wines belong in a select group of traditionalists. Oddero’s wines may not yet gain the same clamour as, say, those of Guiseppe Rinaldi or Giacomo Conterno, but the quality is moving higher while the prices remain fair…that should give any Barolo fan food for thought.
A little background on these two single Cru Riserva:
Vigna Rionda in Serralunga d’Alba is regarded as one of the great Barolo vineyards with a reputation for producing wines of great complexity and fine tannins, capable of ageing over the long-term. On account of the silkiness of the tannins, it is sometimes referred to as the Musigny of Barolo. Oddero first started making Vigna Rionda in 1985 – their parcel faces full south with the slope extending to 360 metres above sea level. Oddero age this wine in large oak for around 40 months, followed by one year in bottle before release. Production is invariably a touch under 3,000 bottles.
Bussia in Monforte d’Alba is a large and, to some extent, controversial vineyard area as there are sections that, according to many growers, should not have been included in this famous vineyard. This means that Bussia can vary stylistically and qualitatively. However, the Bussia from Oddero is one of the best I have come across; it shows the depth and power that is often associated with the best of this Cru. The Oddero family have holdings in several plots across the Cru with an average vine age of 35 years – their plots are largely oriented to the southwest at 380 metres of altitude. The assertive nature of Bussia really lends itself to a Riserva with extended ageing, rounding out the wine to create something really special – the 2013 is exceptional and the 2016 certainly follows suit. On average, 3,500 bottles are produced.
I have included Antonio Galloni’s two brilliant notes from vinous.com below – he had the chance to taste in February of this year. I tasted more recently and since so many of my sentiments chime with his, I have spared you the word count. It suffices to say that these are a remarkably fine couple of Riserva from Oddero and these notes surely lend weight to my argument that Oddero is an estate to watch.