Monday, July 21, 2008
Wine Country Piemontese - Definitely a Wine Frolic
A trip through the Piemontese wine country, le Lange e Roero is a sight to behold. The stops for this tour were Grinzane Cavour castle and regional wine store, Mango (hills of Moscato) and their regional wine store, Barolo and it’s regional wine shop with an off the track stop at i Vignaioli di S. Stefano and the cantine di Vallebelbo.
Grinzane offers a great little self guided tour of the castle, which includes the history of Le Langhe and after that there is a cute little bar for coffee and a book, a restaurant for suggestive dinners and a super-duper wine shop!
The storekeeper was wonderful allowing us to taste (without paying) three types of Barolo Chinato, and various grappa. Of the two Chinato, we preferred the drier one so on that note, she gave us a taste of one by Ceretto and what a great suggestion that was! Barolo Chinato is a splendid, unique digestive and dessert wine.
This little known beauty goes back close to the end of the 1800’s to the heart of the Barolo territory. The drink stems from an ancient recipe, which has been carefully preserved through the centuries. The infusion of China Calissaya bark and several aromatic alpine herbs with aged Barolo wine has long been considered a remedy for several diseases. Aged for quite a long time in oak barrels, this aromatic wine becomes a low-alcoholic "elixir", amber-colored and with ruby-red reflections. The spicy, intense and persistent nose coupled with the bittersweet taste of the China bark make it a lovely and inviting wine. A rare specialty for connoisseurs!
Granted, Barolo Chinato debuted as a medicinal wine but quickly found popularity for reasons other than medicinal. Production of this wine comprises a natural infusion of China Calissaja bark, rhubarb root, and about ten other aromatic herbs where the alcoholic content is deliberately kept low in order to highlight the wine’s Barolo component,
Colour: Deep garnet red. Bouquet: Full, rich, heady, and opulent, exuding spices and aromatic herbs. Palate: Sweet, full-bodied, velvet-smooth, pleasantly bitterish in the finish.
Grape variety: 100% nebbiolo Alcohol: 16.5 % vol. Residual sugar: 18% Serving temperature: 18 – 20° C.
Cesare Pavese’s book “Il Diavolo sulle Colline” was chosen to represent the wine’s magnificent sensory complexity, its power, its aromatic pleasures, as well as its profound relationship to the land from which it originated. The Barolo base wine for the “Il Diavolo sulle Colline” Chinato is produced from grapes from the comuni of Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d’Alba, and Monforte d’Alba, which yield Barolos of pronounced character and structure, to which are added others from the areas of Barolo, La Morra and Verduno, rendering wines of greater fragrance and elegance. After a 20-day, 30oC maceration, the wine goes into the traditional oak casks where it matures for at least two years.
There are diverse and excellent ways to serve this wine: mixed with mineral water and ice, as an aperitif; neat, as a delicate after-dinner liqueur; or warmed up and served with orange peel, becoming the ideal drink for frosty winter evenings. Barolo Chinato is a fantastic companion with chocolate desserts expressing its diversity as something more than a meditation wine. Barolo Chinato is best served in a long-stemmed wine glass.
To be continued…;-) so much more to come!