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 harvested up to 15 days 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.
This summer was one of the most surprising and bizarre of the last decades: after a normal June, there arrived a capricious July with several rainy, dull days and below-average temperatures, conditions which made us fear there might be problems with the vintage. In the first week of August there was a sudden, radical change in the weather, with splendid, sunny days and above-average temperatures, conditions that continued uninterruptedly up till the first week of September, when on the upper part of south-facing hills with decidedly calcareous soil, only the Barbera and Dolcetto grapes showed initial signs of withering due to lack of water. Fortunately, on the 4th and 5th September, we witnessed two fairly intense storms that in Monferrato and the Langhe resulted in rainfalls that varied from 25 to 35 mm. This fact helped enormously to rebalance the ripening process and was a real godsend for the varieties that still had to be picked, Barbera and Nebbiolo in particular. A very important factor this year has been the management of the vineyards: decisive has been the working of the ground under the vine rows (between one rootstock and another) that enabled the ground to be aerated and to store both rainwater and nighttime dew without loss; moreover, given the climatic conditions, our agronomists wisely avoided carrying out any defoliation in August, thus ensuring that the bunches of grapes were better protected from the sun’s rays. The aforementioned climatic conditions led to the grapes ripening earlier, on average by two weeks. Truly excellent the quality of the white grapes, extremely rich in sugar, optimum acidity and with a very high aromatic ensemble: the Moscato d’Asti is undoubtedly the richest in the last ten years and possesses extraordinarily delicate fragrances. The Gavis and the Arneis are all excellent, and we would rate them no less than the great 2009 and 2010 vintages. As for the red wines, at the end of the fermentation stage the Barbera d’Asti impressed us by its richness and freshness: we gathered the Nebbiolo grapes in wonderful conditions of ripeness and uniformity, thus we feel that they will not fail to bring forth excellent wines, even if the complexity of these wines means that it takes one or two years before a definitive judgment can be expressed The yield was on average 10% lower, but we are extremely satisfied at having, without doubt, another prized vintage.
The wine shows layered aromas of mint, fennel, plum and spices before rich red currant flavors, with rose petal and more mint notes. On the palate the acidity is balanced and the tannins are silky, leading to a long finish.
This wine is a superlative pairing for beef roasts, lamb, game and hard cheeses
Crushed violet, herb, wild berry, leather, exotic incense, eucalyptus and balsamic aromas carry over to the elegantly structured palate underscored by a mineral vein. It's bright and fresh, with young, tightly wound tannins that need time to unfurl. Drink 2018–2031. - Wine Enthusiast Magazine 93 Points
The 2011 Barolo Tortoniano shows savory characteristics of cured meat and spice with some balsam herb intensity to lift the bouquet. The mouthfeel is streamlined and tight. This wine clearly reflects the warmer conditions of the 2011 growing season and you easily recognize that extra intensity and concentration throughout this wine. The results are softer, rounder and more generous than you normally get from Michele Chiarlo's Barolo Tortoniano. - Robert Parker 91 Points
Michele Chiarlo's 2011 Barolo Tortoniano makes for a great introduction to the year. Soft, supple and impeccably polished, the 2011 impresses for its balance. Silky tannins support a refined finish laced with rose petal, mint, plum and sweet red cherries. There is a lot to like, including the wine's open, fruit-driven personality. - Antonio Galloni 89 Points
A saline, savory element underlines the cherry and plum fruit in this red. Soft and relatively open, with moderately firm tannins on the finish. Best from 2017 through 2025. 6,500 cases made.–BS - Wine Spectator Magazine 88 Points