The Barolo Chinato: The Birth

Peoples have been adding aromas to wine since the dawn of time. The Egyptians typically mixed it with curative herbs, the Persians with spices and sometimes with cannabis or poppy seeds. The Romans loved their wine with resin from pine trees or mastic, or with myrrh, occasionally with honey and rose or violet petals. How to forget the Vermut, first made in Turin in the late eighteenth century, and likely to have inspired the creation of Barolo Chinato.

After all, the originality of my great-great uncle Giuseppe Cappellano, the pharmacist, was not so much the idea of adding aromas to wine; rather of blending together a particular and well-balanced mix of spices (called “drugs” in the early twentieth century) and an extraordinary wine, Barolo. Why exactly a pharmacist? In the late nineteenth century, pharmacology made extensive use of herbal medicine and the pharmacist had complete knowledge of the therapeutic and organoleptic properties of each spice. Barolo Chinato was born as a medicine, and aromatic wines featured on the suppliers’ catalogues of pharmaceutical companies.

The combined effect of all the spices brings about the most interesting benefits: the synergy of the elements extracted via maceration in alcohol develops bitter-flavoured active principles which help the digestion by the stimulation of the secretion of saliva and gastric juices.

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