Oddero, located in La Morra in the Piemonte region of Italy, is run by two sisters, Mariacristina (Cristina) Oddero and Mariavittoria Oddero. The Oddero family has been producing wines at their estate since the 18th century. At the dinner, I had the good fortune to meet with Christina and her niece, Isabella, who is the winery’s spokesperson.
Over the course of the evening, we tasted seven wines expertly paired with four courses by Undici’s executive chef Giovanni (this man is one great chef!). There were actually five courses and eight wines, but I missed the dessert course. Great Italian wine plus great Italian food resulted in a great wine tasting experience.
Prior to the start of the event, Undici decanted all wines to be tasted for several hours.
The first wine sampled was the 2009 Oddero Barbera d’Alba.
This wine was 100% Barbera and was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. The label listed ABV was 13.5%.
The aromas from this wine were strong and pleasant. At the forefront, I sensed minerals and terroir. Black and red fruit rounded out the nose. Tasting the wine brought on flavors of red fruit, cherry, chocolate, and a bit of pepper. The wine had a nice, medium finish, with hints of pepper tagging along. It retails for about $15.
For this course, Chef Giovanni prepared Vitello Tonnato. Thinly sliced veal top round, served cold, topped with a sauce made from tuna and olive oil. This course was delicious and went perfectly with the wine.
The next wine to taste was the 2009 Langhe Nebbiolio.
This wine was 100% Nebbiolo. It was aged in a combination of Slavonian and French oak of various sizes for 18 months. The Nebbiolo had a listed ABV of 13.5%.
The nose of this wine was predominantly minerals. There was a touch of red and black fruit, but much less that the Barbera. A taste found blackberry, vanilla, and strong tannins. The tannins were very pronounced, although a few years in a cellar may help tone them down. The wine had a medium finish, with the tannins dominating it. The cost of this wine is approximately $20.
For this wine, we were served house made ravioli (Giovanni began making the pasta at 2 pm that afternoon). The ravioli contained a mixture of ramps, morels, and Robiola cheese. They were covered in a rich, wine reduction. Not only were the ravioli out of this world good (we’re talking off the charts good), but they expertly cut the strong tannins of the Nebbiolo. Before the course arrived, the tannins were overtly present in the mouth. Now, with the food, they were much less oppressive. The difference was noticeable by everyone at the tasting. Well done, Giovanni!
The 2007 Oddero Barolo was 100% Nebbiolo (all Barolos are Nebbiolo). The wine was aged in Slavonian and Austrian oak barrels of various sizes for 30 months, and for an additional 6 months in the bottle prior to release. This wine’s listed ABV was 14.5%.
Unlike the first two wines of the evening, the aroma from this wine found more fruit than minerals. While there minerals were present, strong cherries were at the forefront. Taking a sip, the same cherries filled the mouth. There was a slight undertone of pepper as well. The finish on this wine was long and enjoyable.
The 2007 Barolo Villero was 100% Nebbiolo. The wine was aged in 20-hectoliter barrels for 30 months, and for an additional year in the bottle prior to release. Its listed ABV was 14.5%.
The nose of this wine found minerals and red fruit. Taking a sip, the first taste to fill the mouth was licorice, followed by tart cherries and red fruit. This wine had fairly strong tannins as well. It needs more time. The finish was medium, carrying tannins and cherries with it. I definitely preferred the Barolo over the Barolo Villero. Retail costs for these wines are $35 for the Barolo and $51 for the Villero.
These two wines were paired with Risotto al Barolo. Rustichella vialone risotto was prepared with Oddero Barolo. The risotto was outstanding (I can’t prepare it for two, Giovanni did it for 40+ people!). Mixing the wine with the risotto, made a perfect canvas for this course. The cheese in the dish brought tremendous flavor and the risotto was cooked to perfection. This course went fabulously with both Barolos.
Finally, we were treated to a vertical tasting of Oddero Barolo Bussia Soprana Vigna Mondoca. The vintages sampled were 2007, 2001, and 1999.
These wines were all 100% Nebbiolo (being Barolo). The wine was aged in 30-hectoliter Austrian oak barrels for 30 months, with an additional 12-24 months of bottle aging, depending on the vintage. The winery produces a maximum of 3500 bottles per year for this product. The ABV for this and the other vintages was 14.5%.
I found minerals, red fruit, and pepper on the nose of the 2007. The palate had black fruit and strong tannins. The finish was short. This was a nice wine, but it definitely needs a bit more time to come together.
The 2001 Bussia Soprana was my favorite of the vertical, and of the evening. The prominent aroma was sharp cherries, accompanied by more subtle notes of eucalyptus and roses. The mouthfeel was fantastic. Cherry, red fruit, and chocolate. The finish was very long and pleasing.
The 1999 found black fruit, cherry, and chocolate on the nose. Flavors from a sip were chocolate, red fruit, and cherries. My final note on this wine reads “massive finish”.
These were three terrific Barolos. Tasting them together was an exceptional event. Retail prices for these wines range from $60 to $75, depending upon vintage.
For these Barolos, we were served grilled dry-aged prime sirloin, Porcini mushroom, and gnocci di semolina. The steak was cooked perfectly (medium rare) and was seasoned to perfection. While it went beautifully with the wines, a bigger surprise was the outstanding pairing of the Porcini mushroom. I discovered that Porcinis and Barolos go together like bread and butter (see, wine tastings are very educational!). If I can make one suggestion, buy a nice Barolo, sautee some Porcini mushrooms, and give them a try together. You will be in heaven.
In closing (yes, I am almost done!), I thank Cristina and Isabella Oddero for some fantastic wines, Chef Giovanni for an outstanding meal and superb pairings, and Victor Rallo, Jr. for hosting this event (and you for reading, if you’ve made it this far!).
Until the next time,