Barolo Chinato

Sunday I was disappointed because I wanted to go to Vinitaly but it was just too hard to work out.  We tried to make the best of it by keeping with the theme and visiting the wine country. Because all the winemakers would surely be in Verona for the event, it wouldn’t even be wine to stake out a winery. Luckily I spotted an advertisement for both kite flying in Barolo and a seperate Barolo Chinato/chocolate tasting at the Enoteca Regionale di Barolo So we drifted over on over to Barolo!

Once we got to the enoteca, our senses were drawn immediately to the trays of dark chocolate ranging from 70% cocoa all the way to 99%! Then our eyes roamed over to the table of about 25 open bottles, each one available to try. How to choose out of so many!? I had never even tried Barolo Chinato.
The story of Barolo Chinato goes all the way back to the late 1800’s when Pharmacist G. Cappellano infused such a precious wine like Barolo with China Calisaya bark, to make a sort of elixir with medicinal properties. It eventually gained popularity as an aromatized wine with the addition of spices like rhubarb, cinnamon, cloves, and other alpine herbs. What is surprising to me is that very few wineries make this type of “digestivo” and it is rarely exported. 
Personally I am not a big fan of these kind of sweet digestifs. But I must admit that the marriage of dark chocolate with this velvety smooth wine is a hedonistic pleasure! 
Our first choice was Rivetto’s Barolo Chinato. Perfumes of cloves and cinnamon radiated from the glass and smoothed out as chocolate coated our mouths. 
Although each winery has their own “secret” recipe, they are all quite sweet. When asked which one was least sweet, we were nudged towards Schiavenza. This was definitely more our style. Not overly spiced, with more of a stewed fruit aroma. It was softer and tasted just as good with dark chocolate! 
It was no Vinitaly, but still a fun experience!
Enoteca Regionale Del Barolo
Castello Falletti
12060 Barolo, Cn


Filed under barolo, barolo chinato, piemonte wines

6 responses to “Barolo Chinato

  1. Anonymous

    Very interesting subject. Claudio brought a bottle to us three or four years ago. Cantina Terra del Barolo, Barolo Chinate (vino aromatizzato) – Castiglione Falletto. As a Fernet fan, it is always fun to experience alternatives. The one we have is a bit sweet, so happy to hear they have a range of flavor profiles. Enjoyed the post.

  2. i remember that “anonymous”! how's your artisanal fernet by the way?

  3. I went to Piedmont last fall. Tried this chocolate with wine. Now I dream to go back and take this chocolate with me!:0)
    But wine with chocolate?!Eager to try too!
    Your posts are so yummy!:0)

  4. thanks nina! the chocolate is amazing! thanks for reading

  5. Great article and attention on a virtually unknown product. Actually, while also great with chocolate for dessert, Chinato can be used in place of sweet Vermouth in making cocktails. Our winery produces (as far as we know) the only domestic version of Chinato and we've found a new place for this old-world beverage with bartenders all over. Yummy on its own as a digestivo, explore with it in the appertivo setting, this wine has amazing range. It mixes beautifully with bourbon and bitters or just a splash of soda and your citrus of choice. Check it out!!

  6. annette

    I sell a Merlot chinato CHINOMORO and whenever I go to fairs or tastings I pair it of course with some fine dark chocolate. People like it all over the world and are really fascinated but it is a product that needs to be introduced in one way or another. The Merlot chinato is a little bit more gentle than the Barolo chinato and I also use it mixed with our demi-sec rosè sparkling wine for an aperitif. If you like to get some information about Merlot chinato than search for Chinomoro on the website thank you Anna for the interesting post.

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