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Producer: Michele ChiarloGrape Varieties: Barbera 100%Optimum Drinking: Within 6 yearsWine Style: Elegant complex fruity redAlcohol by Volume: 14%Closure: Natural CorkCountry: Italian
An exceptional Barbera showing a 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 texture and pleasing savoury finish.
Michele Chiarlo is one of Piedmont's truly great winemakers. The family owns 60 hectares of vineyard in three of the classic growing areas - Langhe, Monferrato and Gavi and have access to a further 50 hectares through long-term relationships with their growers. Michele has insisted on total quality since his first vintage in 1956, an ethos which his sons Stefano and Alberto adopt today. The Chiarlo style is highly elegant, they make complex wines that can age for decades but above all reflect their provenance - some of the finest vineyard sites in Piedmont.
2017 saw a mild winter with less than average rainfall, which led to limited soil water reserves. Mild spring temperatures set the growing season off early; however an extremely unusual night frost occurred during April, which led to significant frost damage in some areas. This has not occurred on this scale for 50 years. The summer was dry, temperatures stabilised and the growth cycle continued. Harvest took place earlier than usual, although the yields were down the quality of the remaining grapes was high.
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 was employed to disperse the cap extracting colour, flavour and structure in the wine. Fermentation started at 30°C which was reduced to 27°C followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine spent a minimum of 12 months in large oak casks followed by at least six months refinement in the bottle.
An ideal match with cured meats, filled pasta or red meats.
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