In 1826, Louis Oudart arrived in Italy and began a collaboration with the Tenimenti Reali in Pollenzo with General Paolo Francesco Staglieno, who was himself considered a talented oenologist. General Staglieno was also in charge of the cellars of the Castello of Grinzane Cavour and worked with Louis Oudart there, 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 be obtained by fermenting in closed vats, hermetically sealed with bleed valves. The resulting wines were better but not rewarding, weak and lacking 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, attested to by many letters and documents. However, the two men probably knew each other beforehand through Cavour.
Louis Oudart wrote among others 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 that we don't know of.
These are some of his recommendations, which for the most part, we 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 not agree?
It has taken us 250 years to arrive at his same conclusions...