The Barbera grape is no stranger to Piedmont. For centuries, this zesty, medium bodied grape has been at home in Alba and especially Asti. However, with sub-delineations expanding across Italy it was only natural that Barbera would follow. As a result, in 2014 the Nizza sub-zone was carved out within the Province of Asti.
Centered around the town of Nizza Monferatto from which the DOCG draws its name, Nizza was created in 2014. Comprised of 250 hectares, the zone of production is limited to 18 commune. By law, Nizza must be 100% Barbera and may also be bottled as Riserva if additional aging requirements are met.
Since 1956, Michele Chiarlo has been vinifying the essence of Piedmont across it’s entire portfolio. It’s property in Nizza, Tenuta La Court, was acquired in 1995. Encompassing just 20 hectares, this tiny estate rises over two hills with ideal exposure for growing Barbera grapes. At the summit stand a majestic ring of cypress trees which perfume the surrounding vineyards. An ideal selection is made from 3 hectares to produce the Riserva.
The 2015 Michele Chiarlo La Court Nizza is 100% Barbera and a striking deep purple color. In order to meet the Riserva aging guidelines, it is aged for a full year in barrel and 30 months in total prior to release.
Winemaker Stefano Chiarlo offered some insight on the 2015 vintage from La Court’s perspective: “2015 was characterized by a long, dry summer. Fortunately, the mid-August rains arrived and helped to restore the water balance in the vines. By adequate thinning of the bunches the vines were able to channel all their energy to the few remaining clusters during the last month of ripening. Along with sunny days and fresh nights, this resulted in a splendid maturation.”
The aromas from the wine are expressive and attractive. The taster is greeted by dark berry, vanilla, blue flowers and cocoa. I love this! On the palate, the black cherry notes are met with cypress, eucalyptus, vanilla and cocoa. Elegant, fresh and lively, this has wonderful structure and sapidity. Medium to full bodied, the finish is silky and long. Very impressed and although not inexpensive relative to other Barbera, I am a buyer. 94 points. About $41. Find this wine.