Michele Chiarlo dies aged 88
Winemaker Michele Chiarlo, one of the leading figures in the global promotion of Piemontese wine, died last week at the age of 88.
Born to winegrowers on 25 May 1935, Chiarlo attended the Scuola Enologica in Alba alongside the likes of Pietro Ratti and Franco Ziliani. In 1956, aged 23, he opened a bottling business with his sister, alongside taking care of the family vineyards.
In 1988, he acquired the La Morra hamlet of Cerequio and renovated it into the Palás Cerequio, a Barolo-themed resort. The following year he acquired two hectares of vineyard on the Cannubi hill, created the first terraced vineyard with grass cover in Langhe.
During the 1980s Chiarlo, a longtime advocate for the potential of Barbera as a grape variety, served as the President of the Consorzio della Barbera d’Asti e Vini del Monferrato. He was also the first president of the Associazione dei Produttori del Nizza DOCG after the DOCG was created in 2014, a role now occupied by his son, Stefano.
In 1995, Chiarlo acquired the 20ha estate Tenuta La Court in Castelnuovo Calcea, working with his friends to found Emanuele Luzzati and Ugo Nespolo Art Park La Court among the vineyards there in 2003.
Chiarlo, who had spent much of his career promoting Piemontese wines in Northern European and North American markets, continued to be a trailblazer late into life. Last year Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio 2018, produced by his winemaker son Alberto, became the first Barolo cru to be sold on La Place de Bordeaux.
Chiarlo passed away peacefully at his Calamandrana residence on Saturday. As well as his sons Alberto and Stefano, he leaves behind his sons Giuseppina. The Chiarlo family has asked people not to give flowers but instead to make a charitable donation to the AIRC – Foundation for Cancer Research.