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Figli Luigi Oddero, Barbaresco “Rombone”Piedmont, Italy 2017 (750mL)

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Figli Luigi Oddero, Barbaresco “Rombone” Piedmont, Italy 2017 (750mL)

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Great Barolo and Barbaresco wines are like iconic pieces of classical music. They put you in a different frame of mind, more serious and contemplative, because they demand it. Traditionally, Barolos are the cellos and Barbarescos the violins, and today’s wine not only embraces this tradition but epitomizes it.


This is the only Barbaresco produced by the Barolo-based Luigi Oddero estate, but that doesn’t make it any less important in the winery’s lineup; in fact, Oddero’s “Rombone,” from the celebrated cru vineyard in the town of Treiso, happens to be crafted by a winemaking team with major Barbaresco bonafides: Cellarmaster Dante Scaglione, who built his reputation as the right hand to Barbaresco legend Bruno Giacosa, and young Francesco Versio, a Barbaresco-area native and a rising star in Piedmontese wine. What they coaxed out of the Rombone vineyard in the challenging 2017 vintage is enough to make you stand up and cheer: This is perfectly ripe, perfumed, high-toned Nebbiolo straight out of the Classic Barbaresco textbook, so true to traditional form it should be taught in schools. Whatever the vintage reports may say, just about every ’17 we’ve tasted so far has been on the money (and, in this case, downright resplendent). I say keep ‘em coming, especially at bargain prices like this!  



Lovers of Barolo (and Barbaresco) wine know the name Oddero: This is one of the founding families of the region and one of the first to bottle wines under their own label. Up until 2006, brothers Luigi and Giacomo Oddero co-owned the estate founded by their grandfather, Giacomo, in the late-1800s. When the brothers and their respective families decided to go their separate ways, they divvied up one of the most enviable (and extensive) collection of prime vineyard sites in Barolo, which included parcels all over the appellation—not just in the family’s home base in La Morra. While Giacomo (the younger) and his family retained the original winery in La Morra—and whose wines are now labeled as “Oddero Poderi e Cantine”—Luigi and family acquired the historic Luigi Parà winery, about a kilometer away. Following Luigi’s passing in 2010, his wife, Lena, and children (figli), Maria and Giovanni, took over management of the estate.


Overall, the Luigi Oddero family farms an impressive 35 hectares of vineyards throughout the Langhe hills, with Scaglione and, increasingly, Versio shaping the house style. Given that both men are Giacosa disciples, it should come as no surprise that they are devoted classicists. For this Barbaresco, sourced from a 2.5-hectare parcel 30-year-old vines near the top of the southwest-facing “Rombone” cru, it’s “old school” all the way: aging is for 18 months in a single gigantic cask with a capacity of 85 hectoliters. It is then rested another year in bottle before release.


There is a taut, cool-vintage character to this ’17, which shimmers a medium garnet-red in the glass. After a 30-minute decant, get ready for a torrent of perfumed aromas, including wild strawberry, black and red cherry, red currant, blood orange, sandalwood, rose petals, leather, and crushed rocks. Although we’ve found the Oddero Nebbiolos to have exceptionally fine-grained tannins across the board, the Barbaresco Rombone is especially refined. The conventional wisdom on Barbaresco is that, from a structural perspective, it’s the “queen” to Barolo’s “king”—a gender-stereotyped way of saying the Barbaresco is a touch lighter and softer. For all its slenderness and bright perfume, however, you will not find this wine to lack for power—it’s got plenty of it, and plenty of persistence on the palate, too. Serve it in Burgundy stems at 60 degrees and take it slow if you’re enjoying a bottle now; this is the kind of classic Piedmontese red that only gathers momentum the longer it’s open. Pair it with the savory, woodsy pasta preparation attached and you’re in Nebbiolo heaven. Enjoy!




Figli Luigi Oddero, Barbaresco “Rombone” Piedmont, Italy 2017 - SommSelect

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionPiedmont
  • Sub-RegionBarbaresco
  • SoilSandstone & Marl
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendNebbiolo
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • OakLarge Neutral Barrel

  • CountryItaly
  • RegionPiedmont
  • Sub-RegionBarbaresco
  • SoilSandstone & Marl
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendNebbiolo
  • Alcohol14.5%
  • OakLarge Neutral Barrel
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2028+
  • Decanting30 Minutes
  • PairingTagliatelle w/ Chestnuts, Pancetta & Sage