This stylish, integrated wine is marked by ripe wild cherry and red currant flavors with spicy notes of pepper, grilled nuts, tar and a hint of violets set in structure balancing refined tannins and high toned acidity.
The vineyard, overlooking the town of Barolo, stretches north and eastward, and is comprised of five plots: Cannubi (proper), Cannubi Muscatel, Cannubi San Lorenzo, Cannubi Valleta and Cannubi Boschis (also called Monghisolfo) with a collective area of just under 85 acres. While many contend that there is little qualitative difference among the vineyard plots, nor from one extremity of the slope to the other, true purists insist that only wines from Cannubi proper should be entitled to the name as such, and that the four sub-zones should always be differentiated by name, much as Le Chambertin is distinguished from Charmes- or Griottes-Chambertin. Cannubi (proper) lies near the northern end of the hillside extension, below Boschis, on a contiguous plot of 35 acres, exposed principally southeast, at an altitude rising from 750 to 900 feet.
The soils are dry, meager and complex, composed primarily of sand and a siliceous white loam soil known locally as "tov," with a near absence of clay. Their particularly thorough drainage, which lends the wines an exceptional elegance and deceptive approachability, is in years of severe drought so stressful to the vines that they yield wines of uncharacteristic backwardness. In 1989 Michele Chiarlo was able to purchase 3.7 acres on the central part of the slope in Cannubi proper. Just under one-third of the vineyard at that time supported 20 year-old vines and the rest, due to its extreme, 50-degree slope, had been unplanted for the previous eight years. Michele Chiarlo returned it to production by creating the first terraced cultivation in the Langhe. His first Cannubi, the 1990, was produced solely from the older vines; the young vines will not figure in the blend until the 1993 vintage.
Vinification takes place on the skins over a period of approximately two weeks at a temperature of 85 degrees fahrenheit; two years in small oak barrels follow