AddleyClarkFineWines

Chinati Vergano

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Mauro Vergano is a retired chemist who started producing Chinato in the 1970’s for his family and friends. His passion for the traditional Piemontese digestivo drink turned from a hobby into a commercial venture albeit on a very small scale.  A brief description of the production cycle which all Mauro’s products share: The first step is the preparation of the extract or “concia”. This is done by leaving a mixture of chopped herbs and spices in alcohol for about 20/30 days. Then the extract is filtered and left to age for a few months. The second step is the actual preparation of the product. To make the product I mix the extract, sugar and alcohol. The last step is clarification followed by filtering which produces a clear product with long-term stability.

Chinato

 ‘This was my first creation. The wine I use is a Nebbiolo from Barbaresco that comes from the Rabajà hill. It is produced by Giuseppe Cortese’s winery in Barbaresco; this is a small-scale producer who, in my opinion, produces excellent quality wine even if it is not organic. I usually use a two-year-old wine since I want the final product to retain that fresh “winey-ness”. The extract is the result of a complex mixture of aromatizing substances. Besides China in its Calisaya and Succirubra varieties, there are particularly bitter ingredients like Chinese Rabarbaro and Ginseng, while the aromatic component comes from spices and herbs like cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coriander, bay leaf, etc. What makes this wine characteristic is the extreme persistence of its aroma due to its perfectly balanced ratio between sugar, alcohol and aromatic extract content’.

Luli

‘I must say that producing a Chinato from Moscato wine was my first big challenge. First produced in 2003, it was the first product of its kind present on the market. The wine I use is a Moscato d’Asti with a higher alcohol content (more than 10%) compared to the ones that are commonly available. As is well-known, the Moscato I use comes from the prestigious winery of Vittorio Bera & Figli. I have to admit that when I was first looking for a Moscato for the first attempts I used wine from various producers, then I was lucky enough to meet Gianluigi Bera and his Moscato and I haven’t left them since. His Moscato’s fragrance and its full-bodiedness meld perfectly with the aromatic extract composed of citrus zest, cinnamon and vanilla. These fresh and sweet aromas are balanced by the bitter flavour of the China (Calisaya and Succirubra) which give it a persistent taste that is absolutely unique’.

Americano

‘I would like to describe it as a traditional Vermouth/Bitter Piedmontese aperitif. The use of Grignolino as the base wine was one of my (few!) good intuitions; naturally, the choice of producer could only fall to the Grignolino from Casina Tavjin: a wine with an intense, dry fragrance that has the right body and isn’t particularly tannic. In a word: the best Grignolino that I have ever tasted. Like all Vermouths, the extract contains Absinthe (in this case a mixture of the Maggiore, Gentile and Pontico varieties). But in order to transform a Vermouth into an Americano you have to integrate the herbs at its base with other more bitter ones like Gentianella, citrus zest like Bitter Orange and Chinotto’

Vermouth

‘Vermouth is the only fortified and aromatized wine with a precise historical origin. It was first concocted 1786 in Turin by Benedetto Carpano. Since then the Vermouth has become one of the most famous drinks in the world both as aperitif or as an ingredient in cocktails. Its name derives from the German word “Vermuth” which means Absinthe, one of its main components. Originally, the base wine was Moscato, but different wines have been used over time. In my case, the base wine is a blend of dry Moscato and Cortese, another typical white grape of Piedmont. This mixture gives a correct balance between acidity and flavor.  The mixture of herbs and spices is very complex, dominated by herbs such as thyme, marjoram, basil, oregano that provide fresh and aromatic notes. The Absinthe component mainly in the variety “Gentile” contributes to the bitter taste. As is the tradition Vermouth should be light yellow, clear, sweet /bitter’.

Region: Asti, Piemonte
Country: Italy
Web: www.chinativergano.it