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Michele Chiarlo

Michele Chiarlo founded his winery in 1956 in Calamandrana in the province of Asti in north-west Italy. His first cru of Barolo was bottled in 1958. As an adolescent, his father used to wash out the muslin used to filter Moscato. Michele had to persuade him to let him study oenology, which he only agreed to do on the condition that Michele always did well at his studies; and he certainly did that! In the 1950's he took the leadership of the Cooperative Winery of Calamandrana, holding the offices of President until 1980. In the mid-1960's he was one of the first producers to start to export, and success followed, leading to a new larger, and more functional winery being built in 1972. He also began to select the best parcels of land in Lange, Monferrato and Gavi, acquiring some of the most prestigious crus in Piedmont. Michele's dream was to boost the image of the Barbera grape variety and in 1974 he was amongst the first to craft a Barbera using malolactic fermentation. From then on he was instrumental in raising the profile of Barbera d'Asti across the globe. He was one of the founders of the historic Consorzio Grandi Vini, the first supraregional association of wine producers formed to promote the export of quality Italian wines. Michele did not forget Barolo, continuing to acquire parcels of prestigious land: in 1988 Cerequio in La Morra, one of the most lauded vineyard sites in the whole of Barolo, and the following year, Cannubi, perhaps the most famous of all the Barolo crus, mentioned in historic documents dating back as early as 1700. In the 1990's Michele's two sons joined the family business with Stefano managing the vinicultural and oenological side, and Alberto in charge of sales and marketing. In 1995 Michele acquired the prestigious 20 hectare Tenuta La Court estate, originating from the 1800's in Castelnuovo Calcea, one of the most important vineyard sites for the cultivation of Barbera. This enabled him to continue his mission to elevate the status of this grape variety and the following year he was one of the founding members in the creation of Hastae. This is a project to show the world just how good the Barbera grape variety can be and, to this end, “Super Barbera” wines are crafted from a collaboration of top estates in Piedmont. Michele's dedication came to fruition in 2014 when Nizza finally achieved DOCG status for the production of Barbera d'Asti Superiore Nizza. Michele also concentrated on his other love, Barolo, and in 2012 became a founder member of the Accademia del Barolo. They now own 60 hectares of vineyards, spread through DOCG Barolo, DOCG Barbaresco, DOCG Nizza and DOCG Gavi, but also source grapes from long-term growers to augment their own fruit. Only native grapes are grown (Nebbiolo, Barbera, Cortese and Muscat). Each vineyard parcel is vinifed separately, and wood is used judiciously so as not to overpower the character of the grape varieties. Michele Chiarlo is one of the most influential men and one of the best producers in Piedmont. His wines are created with passion, and you can taste that in every bottle.