2006 Michele Chiarlo Barbera D' Asti Le Orme

Year: 2006
Appellation: Piedmont
Country: Italy
Wine Spectator: 88
Wine Advocate: 89
Red Wine
Price :
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"This is very jammy, with lots of blackberry and raspberry. Full and soft, with plenty of fruit on the finish. Straightforward and delicious. Drink now. 35,000 cases made." (WS)

"Chiarlo’s 2006 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Le Orme is a delicious, fragrant Barbera. Made in a medium-bodied style, it offers notable harmony in its ripe red fruit, minerals and spices. Silky, refined tannins round out this terrific effort, which is a steal for the money. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2010. Michele Chiarlo is one of the better-known names in Piedmont, and particular in the province of Asti, where he is based." (WA)

Winery Notes:
The Barbera is one of the most widely planted grape varieties in Italy, and with the Dolcetto, is the representative vine of Piedmont. It accounts for 52 percent of the region's acreage under vine, and nearly half the total annual production of red wine, averaging 2,457,000 hectolitres. There is a proliferation of Barberas produced within Piedmont, designated according to geographic area, as well as a number of new wines based on the Barbera grape which are vinified white, rose and sparkling in various degrees of sweetness. However, only four Barbera wines have been given D.O.C. status: those of Alba, Monferrato, Colli Tortonesi and Asti, grown in the provinces of Cuneo, Alessandria and Asti, in southern Piedmont. Together, they comprise only fifteen to twenty-five percent of the annual Barbera production.

Although the Barbera vine is believed to have originated in the Monferrato area from a spontaneous cross of seeds from ancient vines, it is generally agreed that the area producing the best Barbera wines is that of Asti. This small zone immediately surrounds and extends to the north of Asti, Nizza Monferrato and Calamandrana. The excellent southerly-exposed vineyards, lying on limestone and clay soils, produce the most elegant and refined of all Barberas, which in lesser designations can be rustic, acidic wines.

Michele Chiarlo selects his Barbera d'Asti from the best of these vineyards planted in older vines and harvested at peak maturity. Vinified at the Chiarlo cellars in Calamandrana, the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and is then aged a least one year in oak. The result is a brilliant ruby-red wine with an intense yet airy, vinous bouquet and a medium-bodied, bone-dry robustness that is exceptionally pleasant on the palate. The best vintages, with age, tend to garnet in color, and show a velvety, harmonious quality of considerable elegance.