by Fred McMillin
for February 11, 1997
The Best of Barbera
Prologue: "At its best, in northwest Italy, Barbera can produce genuinely thrilling wines." From "Vines, Grapes and Wines" by Jancis Robinson.
The Rest of The Story: Michele Chiarlo is determined to make some of those thrilling wines.
He recently increased his commitment to that varietal by purchasing two more premier Barbera vineyards in the highly-regrarded Asti district of northwestern Italy, where he already has significant holdings. In Piedmont during his four decades with the Chiarlo family firm, he's spearheaded the introduction of modern winegrowing techniques.. lower yields.. .aging in small oak barrels.. etc. He's determined to make a superior Barbera. My Scott's-on-Lombard panel concluded that he's done just that with...
1994 Barbera D'Asti Superiore, DOC, Piedmont
Postscript: Michele does not live by Barbera alone. He turns out more than a million bottles a year of top-rated Piedmont wines, including a noteworthy white (Gavi) and some elegant reds, e.g. a big Barolo. Chiarlo is a name to remember.
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