Michele Chiarlo is one of the biggest estates in Italy’s Piedmont, producing a range of wine from Barolos and Barbarescos among the reds to Gavis and Moscato d’Astis among the whites. One of Chiarlo’s most familiar and popular wines in this country is the Barbera d’Asti Superiore “Le Orme.” For a simple pasta sauce I made using some of the season’s last tomatoes, I picked up a bottle of the 2007 the other day for about $16 and was not disappointed.
Barbera, with its signature acidity, happens to be one of the great food wines, especially for tomato-based sauces, which have their own high acidity. Add to that the concentrated fruit of Chiarlo’s wine, and you’ve got a winning combination. Sometimes the acids can be a bit over the edge in Barbera, but that’s not the case here with everything in balance. Black cherry and blueberry notes dominate with some cedar, herbs and a vanilla touch on the smooth, long finish. The fruit was even prettier the next day, the wine benefitting from a day of breathing. I thought to myself that this would also be an excellent Thanksgiving wine, holding up to the myriad tastes on the holiday table. Alcohol is 13 percent. Imported by Kobrand Corporation, New York.