Figli Luigi Oddero, Barolo “Vignarionda”
Figli Luigi Oddero, Barolo “Vignarionda”

Figli Luigi Oddero, Barolo “Vignarionda”

Piedmont, Italy 2013 (750mL)
Regular price$150.00
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Figli Luigi Oddero, Barolo “Vignarionda”

When we last offered a Barolo from the Luigi Oddero estate, I “implored” readers to add it to their collections. That may have seemed a little extreme, but certain great wines of the world are so perfectly realized that anyone with the means—and the love—must own some. Yes, I’d deem this “investment grade” Barolo, but with Barolo, the “love” part is more important. You’re not going to get the financial returns you’ll get from elite Bordeaux or Burgundy, but from a sensual and intellectual perspective, the payoff is huge.

The Oddero Barolos are resolutely classic, timeless renditions of the Nebbiolo grape—wines capable of decades of graceful aging that still fetch comparatively less, in general, than their elite contemporaries. An added bonus with this property is that it is at once historic and, in another sense, a relatively “new” label. And then there’s the vineyard site, “Vignarionda,” which may be the most important piece of information of all: This famous parcel, in the village of Serralunga d’Alba, is unquestionably one of Barolo’s “Grand Crus,” with a lengthy track record of producing some of the longest-lived wines in the entire appellation. Acquiring up to six bottles of this wine today (which is all we can manage) is the equivalent of purchasing an iconic sports car at a below-market price. You almost don’t want to drive it, but rather just polish it and admire it like Cameron’s father in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” But, of course, that’s not what great wine is about—so act fast before it disappears!

Lovers of Barolo wine surely know the name Oddero: This is one of the founding families of the appellation 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) collections 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 Barolo, with winemaking assistance coming from one of the most respected cellar men in the business: Dante Scaglione, the longtime right-hand-man to Barolo/Barbaresco legend Bruno Giacosa. Scaglione, now a legend in his own right, has been gradually passing the torch to a young rising star named Francesco Versio, a Barbaresco native who worked with him toward the end of his tenure at Giacosa. Couple this team with a vineyard like “Vigna Rionda” and it’s impossible to expect anything but excellence. 

The star-studded list of producers who’ve made wine from the Vigna Rionda cru is long, and includes Bruno Giacosa (“Collina Rionda”), Massolino, and Luigi Pira, to name a few. Like most of the top vineyard sites in the village of Serralunga (which also include the likes of Conterno’s “Cascina Francia”), Rionda has a south-southwest orientation and soils of Helvetian-era origin: limestone marls mixed with reddish sandstone, which tend to produce wines of more structure and intensity compared to the more clay-rich marls further west in La Morra and Barolo. If I were to compare it to a Burgundy Grand Cru (kind of unnecessary but irresistible), I’d probably go with “Le Chambertin” in Gevrey-Chambertin: The power and profundity of wines from these sites is unparalleled.

Sourced from a single hectare of vines at about 350 meters’ elevation, the 2013 “Vignarionda” bottling spends a total of five years aging in barrel and bottle before release—36 months in “medium-sized French oak” and another 24 in bottle. It is effectively a riserva without being labeled as such, and it is instantly recognizable as a wine of incredible structure and refinement. In the glass, it’s a deep garnet-red moving to pink and orange at the rim, with an exquisitely perfumed nose of dried red and black cherry, red currant, blood orange, leather, sandalwood, tobacco, rose petals, pulverized stones, and so much more. It is a densely concentrated, very compact wine right now, with very fine-grained tannins—harmonious and beautifully constructed, but in need of a good hour in a decanter if you choose to enjoy a bottle soon. Serve it at 60-65 degrees in Burgundy stems with a beautiful risotto, and try to squirrel away at least a bottle or two for re-visiting in 5-7 years, when it should be entering its peak drinking window. It has at least 20 more years of positive evolution ahead of it, without a doubt—a cornerstone for your cellar no matter what its size. Enjoy!

Figli Luigi Oddero, Barolo “Vignarionda”


Northwestern Italy


Italy’s Piedmont region is really a wine “nation”unto itself, producing world-class renditions of every type of wine imaginable: red, white, sparkling, name it! However, many wine lovers fixate on the region’s most famous appellations—Barolo and Barbaresco—and the inimitable native red that powers these wines:Nebbiolo.



The area known as “Chianti” covers a major chunk of Central Tuscany, from Pisa to Florence to Siena to Arezzo—and beyond. Any wine with “Chianti” in its name is going to contain somewhere between 70% to 100% Sangiovese, and there are eight geographically specific sub-regions under the broader Chianti umbrella.

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