Flavio Roddolo: A True Langhe Legend
“I bottle the wines when I feel like it”.
He showed us his poor vineyards which unfortunately this year are suffering from the disease called peronospora. It is a serious fungal disease which dries out the leaves. Together with the combination of hail, he estimated that he would come out with only about 50% of his usual production this year. Maybe this is was why he was especially grumpy. However, we did get to taste some 100 year-old table grapes which beautifully covered the side of his house.
The tasting was interesting. The wines were bold, tannic, austere and rustic, just like the man himself. His Dolcettos were hard, aged in stainless steel and not your easy-going-juicy-drink-as-soon-as-possible Dolcetto. Even the Barbera was quite tannic, and it was a 2007! Normally Barberas are drunk young, but since he tends to “forget” about his wines, this was the current vintage he wanted to drink with us. As we tasted his Nebbiolo 2009, he told us he was used to his dad’s old style of wines and just kept on making them that way. Roddolo’s one and only Barolo Ravera was a 2008. Without hesitation, I bought one of those since it is one of my favorite vintages. Like all his wines, this one needs to be cellared for quite a long time IMO! Lastly, we tasted his 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. A little smoother than the rest, it was a nice change from the usual local varieties.
We ended up talking to him for at least an hour. I have to admit, he made us laugh with his all too honest answers but he couldn’t hide his frustrations. When trying to look at the bright side of a poor vintage he said there are normally at least good mushrooms in the mountains. Then he exclaimed, “there aren’t even those this year!”. My heart went out to this older man who is so raw and old-fashioned that he doesn’t even have a computer. I wish him the best of luck to stay positive and keep making his excellent rustic and real Piemontese style wines. We thank him for taking the time to spend with us!