Barolo Chinato was once peddled as a cure-all elixir, said to heal miscellaneous daily discomforts. Appropriately, the ingredients in the Fantino brothers’ Chinato read like a potions book: there’s Calissaja Quinine, Genziana, Colombo, and Centaurea. The details are intriguingly vague—Italian legislation insists that the vintage of the wine remain unknown, and herb sources are a guarded family secret. The result is a deliciously aromatized Barolo, fascinating and complex with a long, herbal finish. Though medical claims were long ago dispelled, this can still be honestly touted as the ideal digestivo.
|Producer:||A. & G. Fantino|
|Winemaker:||Alessandro & Gian Natale Fantino|
|Vineyard:||21 years years, 8 ha in total|
|Aging:||Aged in large oak barrels for 4 years; after aging, fortified and blended with the family’s secret recipe of spices|
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch