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
Michele Chiarlo Winery
Piedmont, Italy
Importer: Kobrand Corp.
Contact: Kimberly Charles, N.Y., (212) 692-4710
CATEGORY: Recommended, particulary with pepperoni pizza
$10 (good value)

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.

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

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