As we headed out of Brunate and past the Sol LeWitt Chapel, Isabella informed me that Luca is honeymooning in the Champagne region, tasting the wines. I think it says a lot about a guy that he would want to go taste wine on his honeymoon, and it reinforces the thought that I had about Luca when I met him last year, which is that Luca is a real wine guy.
Isabella is herself planning a marriage, in this case her own, and to her longtime fiance. She will be wed this coming September. Many happy Congratulations are indeed due to those at Poderi Oddero.
After the Brunate tour, we drove over to Castiglione and got a chance to see some of Oddero's oldest vines in the Rocche cru there.
To give some context about where Rocche di Castiglione is, Brovia's Rocche is also Rocche di Castiglione, but at a different point along the road in. Above that road is the location of Ceretto's Bricco Rocche, while if you were at the very bottom of Brovia's Rocche you would also be close to Roagna's Pira vineyard.
Our next vineyard stop was actually in Monforte, at Mondoca di Bussia Soprana.
The trellising has been recently raised here. I personally haven't seen trellising this tall for Nebbiolo in any vineyard except perhaps Cascina Francia. I must say that the new trellising must be working well, because I tried the 2010 Mondoca from Oddero on this trip (it had just been racked, and returned to botti) and it was one of the most impressive Barolo I have tried. Not just from this trip, but from the modern day. I mean it was really superb. Impressive would be the correct word for the wine. Really impressive. Let's see what it tastes like after bottling, but please do as I will and keep your fingers crossed.
On a more serious note, it is Mariacristina who has overseen the changes at Oddero that have resulted in the likes of the 2010 Mondoca, and I think she deserves more acknowledgement for her excellent stewardship of the estate.
Seeing as recess was over, we headed down to the cellar.
This is the same subject that also came up during the Giuseppe Rinaldi visit this year.
Consider what that means for the so-called modern vs. traditional debate in Barolo. Is it all only about barriques and the size of the wood, or is there a significant role played by the style of maceration? I, especially after that tasting at Oddero, think that the style and length of maceration is a huge consideration. Say you use old botti for maturation of the wine, but you shorten the length of time the fermenting juice is in contact with the skins: is this still "traditional"? It is a question worth asking. Remember that in the old days some producers would keep the cap held down with a metal grate, and for very long periods of time.
Something else Poderi Oddero is experimenting with is longer time in bottle for certain wines before release. The Brunate and the Vigna Rionda bottlings will both now both be kept longer at the winery before sale.
A sample of 2007 Vigna Rionda, a wine which is still in botti, also showed the signature perfume of Rionda.
|Vigna Rionda in the middle distance.|
I'll be honest, it is an extremely exciting time to be following the wines of Poderi Oddero. This is a winery that is not only hitting real highs - highs as high as any of the great Oddero bottlings from the 50s and 60s - but they are also providing an excellent baseline of quality Barolo with the Barolo normale. Each year I become more convinced that a renaissance is taking place in Santa Maria.