Figli Luigi Oddero
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For those capable of being awed by great wine’s ability to make the very grain of the earth itself tasteable, Oddero’s cellar offers a potential lifetime’s worth of enthralling elixir.
The Oddero family, active in the Barolo wine trade since the 1800s, was among the first to commercialize wine from the zone. Through the years they amassed a staggering 70 hectares of land—with Nebbiolo comprising over 50 hectares. These acquisitions proved to be remarkably prescient over time as Barolo’s stature and value have skyrocketed over the past thirty years. Keep in mind, though, that it was not exceptionally long ago that the area was mired in struggle; in the 1950s, a time when the price of a hectare of Dolcetto and a hectare of Nebbiolo here were roughly equivalent, the booming factories of Alba and Torino presented far more attractive job and lifestyle options for local youths than did the toil-intensive hillside vineyards of rural, rustic Barolo. Maintaining an estate of that size in such non-lucrative times required commitment, vision, and a great deal of hard work, and larger-than-life Luigi helmed his family’s operation for many years under these conditions.
Luigi and his brother Giacomo co-owned the Oddero estate until 2006, when insurmountable tensions drove them apart. The family holdings were divided roughly equally between the two. Giacomo retained the old cellar, and Luigi set up shop in the former winery of local figurehead Luigi Parà, barely a kilometer away in Santa Maria di La Morra. Luigi Oddero passed away in 2010, leaving behind his wife Lena, and their two children Maria and Giovanni, all of whom are involved with the management of the estate.
In 2012, Lena hired a man named Dante Scaglione—a local who had worked for 25 years as the winemaker for the legendary Bruno Giacosa—and it is through Dante’s guidance that the estate’s wines have reached new heights of expressiveness and complexity, building upon the honest, blood-and-guts traditionalism that had always informed them. Today, Dante is in the process of a gradual torch-pass to his protégé Francesco Versio, who worked alongside him at Giacosa toward the end of his tenure there, and who garnered the Giulio Gambelli "Young Winemaker of the Year" award in 2015. The future of this enviably landed estate is gleaming.
Luigi Oddero’s complex and extensive holdings encompass vineyards in La Morra, Castiglione Falletto, and Serralunga d’Alba with smaller plantings in Barolo and Monforte d’Alba as well as a rented parcel in Treiso in Barbaresco—comprising 31 hectares in total, 21 of which are Barolo. In addition to their classic Barolo (a blend of many parcels), they produce several single cru wines: Specola (from the Rive cru in La Morra, just next to the winery); Rocche Rivera (from the pure-south-facing upper part of the Scarrone cru in Castiglione Falletto); and Vigna Rionda—a legendary Serralunga d’Alba cru widely considered one the greatest sites in all of Barolo.
Vineyard practices had been evolving toward a non-reliance on chemical treatments for some time, but under Dante and Francesco’s stewardship they have become steadfastly organic. 2014 was the last vintage chemicals were used, and in the years before that, they were only used sparingly. Nothing that happens in the winery is particularly flashy or sexy: fermentations proceed spontaneously and patiently in cement vats with maceration periods ranging from around 15 to 25 days based on the character of the vintage. Aging takes place in used oak botti varying in size between the large and the gargantuan.
Jeb Dunnuck 5/2021
"Located in Santa Maria di La Morra, the Figli Luigi Oddero estate was established in 2006 with the split of Luigi and Giacomo Oddero. The holdings of the estate were divided, and the estate today is comprised of 31 hectares, with 21 of those in Barolo. Luigi passed away in 2010, and today his wife Lena and children Maria and Giovanni look after the estate. Lena brought on Dante Scaglione, who for 25 years was the winemaker for Bruno Giacosa and Francesco Versio, to oversee the winemaking. Fermentation occurs in cement, with maceration lasting 15-25 days, followed by aging in large botti of various sizes."