The 2013 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their Italy 2019 supplement as part of an article on Barbera (see blue link below).
Michele Chiarlo, La Court 2013 - February 2019 Decanter review
A richly textured wine with nuances of coffee and chocolate together with red fruit flavours, elegant and beautifully balanced.
Michele Chiarlo is one of Piedmont's truly great winemakers. The family owns 60 hectares of vineyard in three of the classic growing areas - Langhe, Monferrato and Gavi and have access to a further 50 hectares through long-term relationships with their growers. Michele has insisted on total quality since his first vintage in 1956, an ethos which his sons Stefano and Alberto adopt today. The Chiarlo style is highly elegant, they make complex wines that can age for decades but above all reflect their provenance - some of the finest vineyard sites in Piedmont.
A not-excessively-cold winter, but heavy rain and snow created an abundant water reserve. A mild spring led into a warm summer with a complete absence of rain from mid-June until 10th August, which contributed to the grapes' perfect ripeness. September saw excellent diurnal temperature differences leading to the development of vibrant aromas and excellent phenological ripening of the red grapes. 2015 is being hailed as one of the greatest vintages of the last two decades.
The grapes come from the La Court vineyard. A prestigious site originating from the 1800s, the single parcel covers three hectares. The vineyard has a southeast to south western exposures at 240 metres above sea-level and produces very low yields. The vines are Guyot trained. The soils are designated as ‘Artisane Sands’ which consist of calcareous clay marl of sedimentary marine origin with high lime and sand content. They produce ample, intense and elegant wines with good structure and longevity. Manually harvested.
The grapes were fermented on the skins in 55 hectolitre oak barrels for 15 days at controlled temperatures of between 27° to 30°C. A gentle shower system of submerging the cap was used to extract flavour, colour and structure. Malolactic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks. The wine was refined for 30 months. Oak maturation lasted for 12 months: 50% in 55 hectolitre French oak barrels and 50% in Allier oak barriques, followed by a further 18 months in bottle prior to release.
An appealing and structured wine, which is complex and elegant with layers of black cherry, cocoa and coffee. Harmoniously balanced, it has a velvety palate and a long, silky finish. Its richness and elegance places it amongst the finest wines in Chiarlo's portfolio.