Michele Chiarlo, founded in 1956 by Michele and Giuseppina Chiarlo produce some of the most interesting Barolo (Brunate, Cannubi, Cerequio, Tortoniano) in the Piedmont. Michele Chiarlo vineyards are located amongst the finest terroir the region has to offer. One of the larger producers in the Piedmont, and one of the few in the area to experiment with blended wines, Michele Chiarlo commands a lot of respect for his innovative style. Perhaps not in the first flight of famous Barolo producers, his Barolos are reasonably priced around the €40 mark, yet his wide ranging selections of wines are all first class and a visit to the estate is worth a look for a great overview of the Piedmont. It’s fair to say that thru the vintages Chiarlo wines can fluctuate quite wildly, some years producing stunning wines and others a disappointment, so it’s really important to know which vintages are the best for which wines. This “hit and miss” production does keep the wines at a reasonable price, so if you’re in the know, you can pick up a real bargain.
Michele Chiarlo wines, most importantly represent great value, for those into ratings, his Barolos have scored as high as 95/100 with WineSpectator magazine and have won value awards with the British magazine, Decanter. For those looking to get into quality Nebbiolo at a fair price Michele Chiarlo would be the first producer from my lips. So, which wines does Michele Chiarlo produce? *takes deep breath*
2 Barbarescos (Asili and Reyna)
3 Barberas (La Court, Cipressi Della Court and Le Orme)
3 Gavis (Gavi, Fornaci and Rovereto)
3 Moscatos (Smentiò, Rocca Uccellette, Nivole)
1 Roero Arneis
5 Blended wines (Montemareto Countacc, Airone, Le Monache Rosso & Bianco and a Chard Plenilunio)
In case that wasn’t enough the company also make a fine range of grappas.
I have tasted a lot of Michele Chiarlo wine, Chiarlo is one of the first producers we stocked and so naturally I took the time to read up on his wines and taste as many of them as I could with several of the above stuck in my cellar in Venice. I have not tried any of the blends and am fascinated about the possibility of trying an “Airone” (consider Airone is the name of Italy’s low cost carrier, think Ryanair – bad joke? nah)
So no person is actually going to try all those wines but for a starter on the Piedmont I would highly recommend going for the Barolo Cerequio and Cannubi, one of the Barberescos, Barberas, Dolcetto and Grignolino. This will give you a really nice entry into the wines of the Piedmont as you are sampling the grapes that make up the majority of the wine grown in the region. Look out for the whites and reds of the 2007 vintage, a really well balanced year that Chiarlo are bigging up already.
Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cannubi 2003 – BUY – €42
A feminine and delicate Barolo, a mid depth ruby red with some amber tones already, pleasing nose, quickly giving up balsamic vinegar, leather, licorice and cherries. Good texture but quite acidic on the palate but not displeasing, silky smooth finish. Looks like a wine to drink young. 90 Points.
Michele Chiarlo Dolcetto d’Alba 2006 – BUY – €10
Pretty nose of vanilla and cherries. Medium-full bodied with polished tannins and a smooth distinctive finish. 85 Points
Michele Chiarlo Barbaresco 2001 – PASS – €40
Ruby red with brown hues. An interesting bouquet, a little gamey and a little vegetal with some earthy tobacco notes. On the palate the wine is mid bodied and quite tannic but in a mouth enveloping way, silky and filling, not the longest finish but good pleasing flavours, cherries and leather, quite complex and structured and a little coffee on the mid-palate too. Not enough on the finish or the nose to recommend this wine, from this vintage you can get better. 89 Points
So, lets go for the Cannubi from the HOT HOT 2003 vintage.
Where can I buy this wine?
Europeans – Alla Corto di Bacco – €42
Americans – Liquor Outlet Wine Cellars – $71
Brits – Alla Corto di Bacco – €42
Question of the Day?
Which wine makes you smile!? and why?