May 21, 2006

Michele Chiarlo Barbera D’Asti Superiore Le Orme 2003

Michele Chiarlo Barbera D'Asti 2003

On the nose: Although this is an amazingly drinkable wine, especially for the price, the nose it not very impressive. You can detect some red fruit, but the aroma is light.

On the palate: The Barbera grape, which hails from the Piedmont region in Northern Italy, is known to produce a wine with high acidity. Aging the wine in oak, though, (six to eight months in this case) helps to balance out some of the acidity. This light bodied red starts off with bright cherry and raspberry flavors. Although there’s a hint of vanilla from the oak, the wine displays a refreshingly tangy and zesty acidity. The finish is bone dry.

On the wallet: This wine is an incredible value. The PLCB offers a lot of inexpensive wines, but the gamble often doesn’t pay off. This time it did. The Michele Chiarlo goes for a mere $11.99. You are getting a lot for your money, and it will be hard to find a wine this good for the same price or less.

On the table: Typically, oak-aged Barberas are rich and should be paired with more fuller flavored meat dishes. There is not enough oak in this wine to take it to that level, but lighter style Barberas, such as this one, are more versatile and perfect with lighter fare. It's best slightly chilled.


Bruce said...

Thanks for this recommendation. We took it to Salento (2216 Walnut St.) Saturday night and enjoyed it with the gnocchi with mushrooms (the small gnocchi were finished with a light searing, were not heavy, and besides the intense mushrooms there was not much more than olive oil in the dish--delicious and addictive) and pappardelle with wild boar (also very good).

We started with the excellent pugliese antipasto (bruschetta topped with swordfish carpaccio, halved sweet grape tomatoes and a couple leaves of greens, and white anchovies with a slice of grana cheese, plus bitter cooked dandelion greens in a fava bean paste), which went well with the interesting Mastroberarino Fiano di Avellino Radici Chairman’s Selection $14.99 (PLCB #25340).

There is a lot of terrific-looking menu there to work through and I hope to do just that.

PhilaFoodie said...

Bruce: You had me at "pappardelle with wild boar." Very glad you enjoyed the Le Orme. Even with the 04, the Le Orme remains one of the best values at the PLCB.