Michele Chiarlo 2011 “Le Orme” Barbera d’Asti Superiore ($16.99)

For today’s tasting report, let’s pull the cork from another first-rate contender in this month’s WineLovers’ Wine Focus on white, pink and lighter reds from Italy.

chia0128Dark reddish-purple shading to garnet, then clear at the edge. Good tart-cherry aromas and a hint of dried cherries on the nose. Mouth-watering flavors, dry and tart red fruit that follows the nose, cherries and a touch of tart cranberry, shaped with zippy, cleansing acidity. Good balance and food-friendly acidity with appropriate 13.5% alcohol make for a first-rate table wine. U.S. importer: Kobrand Corp., NYC. (April 15, 2015)

FOOD MATCH: The iconic pairings, as with its Tuscan neighbors, remain beef and tomato-based pasta dishes; as a (somewhat) lighter red, it’s also good with grilled chicken. Don’t push it aside with cheese-based dishes, though, or our choice, a savory wild-mushroom pasta with plenty of grated Grana Padano cheese.

WHEN TO DRINK: It’s delicious now, especially with food, and Barbera in general is not an ager, so it would be prudent to drink up this 2011 soon. Still, it is showing so well that I don’t expect it to go around the bend in the next year or two.

VALUE: This is an excellent table wine, and I’m content with this local price. If you have the option to shop around, however, Wine-Searcher.com reports a $15 average U.S. retail price, with some vendors offering it as low as $11. (Don’t even look at the prices that wine lovers pay in Italy.)

WEB LINKS Michele Chiarlo’s Web pages are available in six languages. Here’s a link to the home page in English. They’re also active (in Italian) on social media including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Their Facebook page is here. For more info in English, this link goes to importer Kobrand’s Michele Chiarlo page.


Find vendors and check prices for Michele Chiarlo “Le Orme” Barbera d’Asti on Wine-Searcher.com.


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