arolo Chinato liqueur is one of the most famous traditional products of this small, exclusive area of the Langa region - almost a philosophy of life in itself. The principal characteristics of the production of Barolo Chinato liqueur are precisely set out and defined by the same disciplinary rules as Barolo DOCG (controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin) wine.
Barolo Chinato, as the name implies, is made from a base of fully-matured Barolo DOCG wine which is then carefully flavoured with numerous herbs and spices, including the China Calissaia (Cinchona) plant, from which its name derives.
Every Barolo producer has his or her own special recipe – always a well-guarded secret – including the fundamental Cinchona ingredient. Other flavours might include vanilla, rhubarb, orange peel, gentian root and many more. True Barolo Chinato requires the use of natural products, not just flavourings, meaning that the production process is a lengthy and meticulous one.
The carefully selected herbs are placed in an infusion of pure alcohol and left to macerate to extract flavour. This infusion is then filtered and added to the Barolo DOCG wine and the mixture is further aged in Slavonian oak barrels to ensure the perfect amalgamation of flavours necessary for Barolo Chinato.
This is a liqueur with a long history. Originally used throughout the rural Langa area as a medicinal remedy for a variety of ailments deriving from the common cold, but also fevers and indigestion, it was said to have been invented by a pharmacist.
It possesses an intense perfume and harmoniously balanced, long-lasting flavour with a slightly bitter finish and is ideal at the end of a meal. It is also indicated for accompanying desserts, especially those with a bitter chocolate base.
If prepared with the addition of hot water and lemon peel, it forms the base of a delicious hot toddy, similar to those offered to special guests in times past according to the rules of traditional Langa hospitality.