Michele Chiarlo 2007 “Tortoniano” Barolo

Posted by Keith Wallace

Barolo is a luxury that no one should do without. In the world of wine, it is like royalty. When a bottle of Barolo is priced under $40, it’s often worth picking up. When it’s under $40 and this good, it’s essential.

Michele Chiarlo is one of the larger producers in the Piedmonte and offers up a wide range of wines. While typical for most wine regions, in Northwestern Italy, it is highly unusual to have such diversity from a producer. However, the heart of Chiarlo is in Barolo production. Here, the economics of diversity pays off, especially in great vintages like 2007.

The greatest quality of this wine is its balancing act between a sexy roundness and an icy steel sharpness. These are two opposites that attract, like two tongue magnets in a quantum paradox.

Aromas of forest floor, raw iron, nougat, and red fruit abound. The richness of the fruit is quite evident on the palate, with deep cushions of raspberry and cherry that are held up with crisp minerality and those infamous tannins of the Nebbiolo grape. In the mid-palate, the varietal notes of cut roses come into play, along with a whiff of tarragon and sage. The finish turns up the spice and sultry richness of the fruit. I would hold onto some bottles for a few years, as this will only get better until about 2018.

For food pairings, wild game birds in rich demi-glace sauces are the way to go.  Braised veal cheeks with rosemary and red wine is another.

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