In her debut column as Wine Advocate’s Italian reviewer, Monica Larner asserts that Piedmont producers have dramatically raised the profile of the region, with the generational transition from father to son as the common thread.
In considering Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera wines, Larner posits the common thread that has catapulted the region of Piedmont “from relative obscurity to greatness in a remarkably short amount of time… is the passing of generations, specifically the transition between father and son.”
Michele Chiarlo is a seventh-generation winegrower in Piedmont. Michele’s son, enologist Stefano Chiarlo, is the next generation of a family that has focused on high quality, terroir-driven wines. The Chiarlos have made superior Barberas since the 1950s and the family was the first to use malolactic fermentation to vinify Barbera, helping to raise the profile of the wine. Today, many Piedmont producers make “serious” Barbera wines that can age well. In the 1960s, the Chiarlo family added Barolo wines made from the appellation’s most prestigious crus, including Cerequio and Cannubi.
The following excellent scores are from Wine Advocate #207, Jun. 2013.
2009 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio 94 pts.
The 2009 Barolo Cerequio is a richly layered expression that sees mint and licorice meld into underbrush and forest berry. This medium-bodied Barolo plays its elegance card well and will undoubtedly continue to do so as it evolves. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2028.
2009 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cannubi 92 pts.
The 2009 Barolo Cannubi takes its own sweet time before it starts revealing the hidden undercurrents of its bouquet. Once it does, it displays a bold quality of fruit with shapely tones of cherry, plum and licorice. This vineyard cru is renowned for the elegance of its wines and the firm silkiness of their structure. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.
2009 Michele Chiarlo Barolo Tortoniano 91 pts.
The Chiarlo family achieved nice results with its 2009 Barolo Tortoniano. True to the varietal, it shows tar, licorice, black fruit and brimstone that shape a light and elegant feel. It takes its time to warm in the glass, slowly growing in intensity as it does. A medium build and bright berry end-notes complete a pretty picture of Barolo. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2022.
2010 Michele Chiarlo Barbera d’Asti la Court 91 pts.
The 2010 Barbera d’Asti La Court shows a soothing dark color with bright acidity and loads of cherry, blackberry and savory spice in between. The wine is crisp and easy to drink. Good balance is achieved between its natural freshness and its softer, fruitier side. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2020.