Flavio Roddolo, Bricco Appiani

The Great Wines of Flavio Roddolo

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“Entrare nella cantina di Flavio Roddolo e un po come varcare la soglia di un luogo in ciu il tempo si e fermato. Fare il vino, nella cascina di Bricco Appiani, vuol dire saperlo aspettare pazientemente. Flavio e la sintesi perfetta del vignaiolo che ascolta e osserva, schivo ma capace di comunicare la sua filosofia produttiva. Un grande vecchio di Langa che vale la pena conoscere, per i vini che ci regala e la sagezza che riesce a trasmettere.” Slow Wine (2015)

We last visited Flavio Roddolo in 2012, and it was memorable – a special person, and very special wines. In recalling our visit I looked up what had been written about Roddolo – very little, it seems, but I realized that I couldn’t say it better than the authors of the Slow Wine guide: “Entering Flavio Roddolo’s winery is a little like crossing the threshold of a place where time has stopped. To make wine at the farm of Bricco Appiani, you need to know how to wait patiently. Flavio is the perfect synthesis of a winemaker who listens and observes, shy but fully able to communicate his philosophy of production. He is a grand elder of the Langa who is worth the effort of knowing, for the gift of his wines to us and for the wisdom which he shares.”

 

Bricco Appiani in May

I think Roddolo’s wine is in the top tier of traditional Barolo producers. You would already know all about the wines if he had a big-name importer, but Roddolo has hit perfect synthesis with another reticent Italian, our friend Jan D’Amore (ask anyone in the NY trade who really knows something about Italian wine which importer they respect most, and Jan will be in the top 3). Jan will pour the Roddolo wines here on April 29th from 5-7pm – an unusual chance to taste the lineup.

Roddolo farms without using any products other than copper and sulfur. The winemaking is old-school. The wines are not flashy or ingratiating. The Nebbiolos in particular need a lot of time. They represent to me the best of local type – clean but earthy with a rustic edge, demanding of our patience and attention. Jamie Wolff

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Roddolo 2011 Dolcetto d'Alba Superiore

An unusual Dolcetto: first, it’s Superiore, and gets a year more of age, but it’s likely much more important that the vines are at least 60 years old. The wine has much more depth and savory character than any other Dolcetto I know, and complexity that comes from the naturally high acid of Dolcetto being enrobed in ripe extract. 13.5° alcohol but light on the palate. This is quite a remarkable wine – superior indeed. Jamie Wolff

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Roddolo 2008 Barbera d'Alba Bricco Appiani

Barbera made like Nebbiolo: 30 days fermentation / maceration, and 18 months of aging in used barriques (make that: very used barriques). An austere Barbera with notes and flavors of dried red cherry, brambly raspberry, savory herbs, and leather. Firm tannins frame an elegant, persistent finish.  Jonas Mendoza

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Roddolo 2009 Nebbiolo d'Alba

The Nebbiolo is from vines that are just over the border of the Barolo zone. From a terroir point of view it might as well be Barolo, and as wine, Roddolo’s Nebbiolo far surpasses most Barolo. The 2009 is a bit more forward than more austere vintages, aromatic, medium-bodied but rich on the palate with very ripe tannins and none of the heat found in so many wines of the vintage. Jamie Wolff

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Roddolo 2009 Barolo Ravera

This is Ravera di Monforte, not the more familiar Ravera of Barolo / Novello (of Cogno and G. Rinaldi fame). Ravera di Monforte is off the beaten path – hidden in a fold of the land just west of Boscaretto and Cascina Francia; it’s not a spot you would go by accident unless you were very lost. This Ravera is quite small, and is surrounded by woods; the atmosphere is idyllic and kind of magical – a mood that’s strengthened by the organic and non-interventionist style of farming practiced there by Roddolo and by Ferdinando Principiano. Roddolo’s Ravera 2009 is surprisingly open and drinkable now – extremely suave and lifted, with depth and structure giving length to what initially might seem like an easy wine. I can only imagine this getting better and better. Jamie Wolff

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