Saturday, September 8, 2012

the Amari file: even more from along Barolo's Spice Route

Well, although it is formidable and the progenitor for much of what followed, Cappellano Barolo Chinato is not the only Barolo Chinato. And I learned little bits and scraps about a few others during my recent trip to Piemonte. Tidbits which I duly turn over to you.

At Schiavenza they have made a Barolo Chinato for the last 30 years now. The fruit for theirs comes from Serralunga, just as Cappellano's does, but the two offerings taste very different from each other. Shiavenza's is sweeter, with a 20% sugar level, which is higher than Cappellano's. And the spices are macerated in ethanol and water for 2 months, which is twice as long as Cappellano's maceration time. The final alcohol level is 17%. The current release is based upon Schiavenza's 2006 Barolo Serralunga, their normale Barolo.
Only 2,000 bottles of Schiavenza Barolo Chinato are produced each year, and all of it is sold locally, some of it at the Schiavenza restaurant. No Schiavenza Chinato has been exported, although I was told that the Japanese market has expressed an interest in doing so.
At the Schiavenza cantina they favor drinking the Chinato in purezza, without any club soda or such, and they recommend drinking it as a digestivo, which makes sense in terms of how sweet it is.

At Marcarini the alcohol level of the Barolo Chinato is 16%. The recipe includes cloves, cinnamon, rhubarb, china calissaya, and several mountain herbs from the area. The wine base is sometimes from La Morra's La Serra, and sometimes from Brunate. Or it can be a mixture of the two. The next bottling of the Marcarini Barolo Chinato will be based upon wine from the 2008 vintage.

Luca Roagna told me that his family's Barolo Chinato is based on a recipe of 33 herbs, and that it becomes "every year more wild." Some of the herbs used are grown in Roagna's own vineyards, while others are alpine. The wine base is sourced from La Pira in Barolo, as there is no DOC available for Barbaresco Chinato.



Eric Hastings said...

Chinato is a really fun wine. Fontanafredda's is a drier style that is foolproof with dark chocolate. This wine needs more exposure. Thanks for reporting!

Anonymous said...

Here are pictures of some old Cappellano Chinato bottles:

Bricap said...

I just wanted to mention that I had a glass of the Roagna Barolo Chinato tonight with my dessert. Thanks for posting about this drink. Absolutely incredible. I had it with a dessert that featured orange peel, and the pairing couldn't have been better. If you had never mentioned this drink, I don't know if I ever would have gotten to trying it this quickly. Thank you.