Michele Chiarlo is one of Piedmont’s most prestigious winemakers, producing outstanding wines from some of the most exceptional sites in Piedmont, including Barolo’s world famous Cannubi and Cerequio vineyards. Founded in 1956 by Michele Chiarlo and now run by his sons Alberto and Stefano, the Chiarlo philosophy “is to capture the terroir” and with judicious use of oak they develop some wines for ageing and some which can be enjoyed earlier. Their stunning collection of Barolo and Barbera wines consistently receive 90+ points from Wine Advocate, James Suckling and Wine Enthusiast.
Spring saw abundant rainfall, which restored the depleted aquifers from the dry 2017 vintage. Excessive rain in May and June required vigilance in the vineyard; however the vines avoided disease. High temperatures in August were followed by cooler nights in the latter part of August and September, encouraging aromatic development. The wines are recognised for their great freshness, elegance and intense aromatic profile. 2018 was an excellent vintage for Michele Chiarlo.
The grapes are grown in the six hectare vineyard of Tenuta la Court in the commune of Castelnuovo Calcea. Castelnuovo Calcea is one of the 18 designated communes within the appellation of Nizza DOCG. Originally a subzone of the Barbera d’Asti DOCG, Nizza became a separate DOCG in 2014. The Guyot trained vines are planted at a density of 5,000 vines per hectare and are grown on a southeast to southwest facing slope at an elevation of 230 to 280 metres above sea level. The soils are known as ‘Astiane Sands’ and consist of calcareous clay marl of sedimentary marine origin, with a good presence of lime and sand and are rich in microelements, in particular magnesium. The vines are very low yielding with excess bunches thinned at the end of the summer in order to concentrate the flavours in the remaining grapes. A manual harvest takes place at optimal maturity levels.
The grapes spent 10 to 12 days macerating on the skins in stainless steel tanks, during which a gentle shower system dispersed the cap, in order to extract colour, flavour and impart structure to the wine. Fermentation started at 30°C which was reduced to 27°C followed by malolactic conversion, which rounded out the palate. The wine spent a minimum of 12 months in large oak casks followed by at least six months refinement in the bottle.
An exceptional Barbera showing wonderful clarity and elegance, with aromas of red berries, ripe cherry, wild raspberry and sweet notes of tobacco. Complex and structured on the palate with a rounded, silky texture and pleasing savoury finish.