A legend in Barolo, Teobaldo Cappellano turned away from the use of synthetics, fertilizers and herbicides in the vineyard early on. When an earthquake caused part of the vineyard to collapse in 1976, he searched for ways to replant without grafting onto American rootstock (pie de franco), a method almost heretical at the time because of the risk of phylloxera. He succeeded and the vines are healthy to this day. Cappellano’s wines are fermented along traditional lines for 2- 3 weeks, without added yeasts, in stainless steel (ones designed by Cappellano himself) and glass-lines cement vats. Then they go into barrels of indeterminate age for a minimum of 3 years, sometimes longer and are bottled without filtration. The Barolo Pie Rupestris is from vines planted in the 1940s on American rootstock (Rupestris) while the Pie Franco – Michet comes from ungrafted vines planted 20 years ago by Teobaldo. The Cappellano family first offered their Chinato in the 19th century and it remains amongst the finest examples available. Sadly, Teobaldo passed away in February of 2009, at the age of 65. The winery remains in the ever capable hands of his son, Augusto.
“Cappellano’s Chinato is simply the finest we have tasted… they were the first producers to offer a Barolo Chinato in the last century and have been selling it commercially ever since.” –Italy’s Noble Red Wines.
Like a vermouth or a digestif, Chinato is made from a base of Nebbiolo and steeped in herbs, bark, cinnamon quinine and more. Cappellano’s family was the first to produce Chinato and it remains the touchstone version.