top of page

LOUIS OUDART

In 1826, Louis Oudart arrived in Italy and began a collaboration with the Tenimenti Reali in Pollenzo with General Paolo Francesco Staglieno. The general himself was considered a talented enologist, and was in charge of the cellars of the Castello of Grinzane Cavour, where he worked with Louis Oudart. According to Camillo Benso: "At the beginning of 1847, there was wine made by Staglieno in the cellar as well as wine made in the French style".

After the sweet, fizzy, unstable and oxidised Nebbiolo wines of the previous centuries, General Staglieno was convinced that quality wines could only be obtained by fermenting in closed vats, hermetically sealed with bleed valves. The resulting wines were better but not rewarding: they were weak and lacked nose.

 

n contrast, Oudart proposed returning to more traditional vinification, but with rules that we share today and most of which could still be applied by today's winemakers. When asked about Nebbiolo, Louis Oudart declared: “The Nebbiolo grape is extraordinary; I don't understand why it isn't used to make a dry red wine”.


In 1853 Louis Oudart was elected member of what is now the Academy of Agriculture (along with Camillo Castelborgo), and began providing expertise to Castelborgo, as proven by many letters and documents. However, the two men probably knew each other beforehand through Cavour.
Louis Oudart also wrote this interesting essay, Modern Scientific Methods for the Vinification and Stockage of Wine, based on his knowledge of studies by Guyot, Gay Lussac, Lavoisier, Chaptal, Liebig, Pasteur, Maumeneé and others.

Here, some of his recommendations (which, for the most part, we still share):
 

GRAPES: use a single variety of grape, or at most two or three, which are complementary. All should be sufficiently ripe.
HARVEST: harvest only healthy and ripe grape clusters during dry weather; harvest with delicacy, deliver to the cellar and proceed with vinification as quickly as possible.
CRUSHING AND PUNCHING DOWN OF THE MUST: crush gently to avoid damaging the stems; aeration of the must.
FERMENTATION: not too long so as not to extract excess tannins.
RACKING: how to extract free-run wine from the press, fill the casks and keep them at the correct temperature, so as not to halt fermentation, adding sulfites.
POURING OFF: when and how, avoid excessively cold and damp days, malolactic fermentation, preservation of wine following the pouring off.

How can we disagree?

In the end, it has taken us 250 years to get to the same conclusions!


 

bottom of page