92 Points Wine Advocate: The 2007 Barolo Tortoniano is quite bold and powerful in this vintage. It reveals surprising muscle to match its dark red fruit, flowers and spices. As always, the Tortoniano shows the more perfumed, feminine side of Barolo, but the 2007 has an extra level of richness and body. This is a gorgeous, overachieving wine in its category. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.
Michele Chiarlo has technologically refined traditional vinification methods to produce a Barolo of greater elegance and accessibility at an earlier age but without sacrifice of structure and dimension. His principal focus, however, is on the inherent quality of the soil, the vineyard site and exposure, and the vine. Cluster thinning and harvesting the grapes an average of 10 to 15 days later than most producers yields fruit higher in sugar and concentration and lower in total acidity. Vinification is carried out under strictly controlled temperatures, and malolactic fermentation is carried out during the spring to further reduce acidity. Barrel aging, the length of time of which is determined according to the wine’s intended ranking, is accomplished primarily in Slavonian oak, with selective lots aged in French Allier oak. The wines are then bottle-aged in the Chiarlo cellars under perfectly stable conditions of temperature and humidity.
Tortoniano is named for the tortonian-era soils in which the vines are planted, which contain a high percentage of magnesium and manganese. Grape clusters are thinned and are harvested somewhat later than usual so that the fruit attains higher concentration. Temperatures are strictly controlled during vinification and the wine is aged for two years in large oak casks and one year in bottle before release.