Renowned in Piemonte since its introduction in 1891, Cocchi Barolo Chinato is a wine of DOCG Barolo infused with quinine bark, rhubarb, ginger, cardamom, cocoa, and a variety of other aromatic spices. Round and rich, yet with the deep back palate one expects of Barolo, this wine possesses the definition necessary to be an ideal digestif or pairing with dark chocolate. Serve as you would a high-quality port or Madeira, or use in lieu of sweet red vermouth in a luxurious Manhattan. You would not be alone in finding this to be the Rolls Royce (or Maserati) of Italian dessert wines.
Cocchi has produced wine-based aperitifs and traditional Piemontese sparkling wines since 1891. Since 1978, the company has been owned and operated by the Bava Family, themselves renowned producers of sparkling wine in Monferrato and Langhe. Giulio Cocchi was a young and creative pastry chef from Florence, where he worked in a popular bar located in Piazza del Duomo. In the late nineteenth century he moved to Asti, a small but lively town in northwest Italy, not far from Torino, and established himself as a distiller and winemaker. His Barolo Chinato, Aperitivo Americano and vermouths became well known during the Belle Epoque and the Italian Futurist period. By 1913 there were twelve Cocchi tasting Bars in Piemonte. Today the winery maintains its artisan character and follows Giulio’s original recipes to craft the distinctive wines that have made Cocchi a cult name worldwide. In the last 30 years, Cocchi has revived the forgotten wine categories Barolo Chinato and Vermouth di Torino. It was also a leader in establishing the appellation Alta Langa DOCG for traditional Piemontese spumante. FULL DETAILS
The beneficial properties of the cinchona tree were originally discovered by the Quechua, a people indigenous to Peru and Bolivia, who found it an effective muscle relaxant to calm shivering due to low temperatures. The Quechua would mix the ground bark of cinchona trees with sweetened water to offset the bark’s bitter taste, thus producing tonic water. Jesuit missionaries in the early 1600s brought this back to Rome, where quinine in unextracted form came into use to treat malaria, which was endemic to the swamps and marshes surrounding the city of Rome and responsible for the deaths of several popes, many cardinals and countless common Roman citizens. Quinine was isolated and named in 1820 by French researchers, the name being derived from the original Quechua (Inca) word for the cinchona tree bark, quina or quina-quina, which means “bark of bark” or “holy bark”. Large-scale use of quinine as a malaria preventative started around 1850, consumed in tonics or aperitif wines such as these. With other spices and wines selected to balance, many of these quinine aperitif wines became famous and sought out first as delicious and refreshing aperitif drinks.
Round and rich, yet with definition enough to be a digestif.
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