Chinato takes its name from China also known as cinchona, the native South American tree from which quinine is extracted from the bark. The drink's bitterness is derived from the cinchona bark. The bark of this tree is one of the principal flavourings of Barolo Chinato, along with gentian root, camomile, cardamom and clove.
Even the best vermouths are usually made with a basic, cheap white wine. Barolo Chinato does not use cheap wine, its base is certified DOCG Barolo wine. Barolo Chinato is a flavored wine, not fortified: this means that most alcohol content and sweetness are due to herbal and spice infusions in alcohol and together with the sugar added to the Barolo.
Dr. Giuseppe Cappellano, a pharmacist by trade, developed the first Chinato, taking vintage Barolo and adding herbs and spices steeped in alcohol back in the late 1800s—literally as a digestive aid and stomach-settling concoction. Each Barolo house has its own secret recipe of herbs and spices.
Serve chilled after dinner in a wine glass (great with chocolate desserts). Some also serve warmed with orange zest. Keep opened bottles in the refrigerator for up to a month.
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Cappellano Barolo Chinato....$69.99
One cannot say much, certainly not enough, about the Chinato from Cappellano since the production and recipe are closely held secrets within the family. Suffice it to say that the family has produced an iconic version of this wine infused with spices, herbs and other earthly elements that make for a ravishing sensory experience.
Here are a duo of ways to enjoy the Cappellano Chinato …
As an aperitif: 4 parts gin, 4 parts Campari, 2 parts Chinato, a touch of ice plus a slice of orange.
As a “thirst quencher”: cold sparkling water plus 10% of the volume in Chinato with the juice of a freshly squeezed lime accompanied by a slice of lime.
And, Augusto Cappellano reminds us: don’t forget the pleasure of drinking the Chinato accompanied by the best chocolate one can find!