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Categories: Quinquina/Chinato, Americano, Floral/Herbal/Amaro Liqueurs, Red Wine, Sparkling Wine, Vino Amaro, Vermouth, Aromatized Wines

Oenotria, la terra della vite — the land of the vine. Italy cultivates the vine everywhere on the peninsula: from its northernmost alpine borders, south along the spine of the Apennines, to the heel of the boot and beyond, to its islands great and small. It is no exaggeration to say the history of wine and the history of Italian civilization are indivisible. Yet that history is a living one, hyper-local, each region and village with its own grapes, terroir and traditions, zealously protected and preserved. This rich diversity includes not only the now-familiar faces of Italian wine — Prosecco, Chianti and Barolo — but millennia-old traditions of aromatized wines and liqueurs, from the wormwood-infusions first popularized during Pax Romana to today’s vibrant aperitivo, spritz and amari cultures.

    Vermouth
    Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

    Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

    ItalyPiemonteVermouth di Torino DOP

    16.5% Alc/Vol

    The last remaining example of appellation Vermouth di Torino to comply with all of the classical requirements, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino has been produced since 1891. Cocchi uses estate Moscato as the wine base, and vibrant, spicy botanicals such as cocoa, citrus, ginger, and rhubarb. In contrast with other popular Italian vermouths, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino retains wines of Piedmont as the base and avoids a heavy sheen of vanilla that clashes with other cocktail ingredients. Vermouth di Torino stands apart as one of only two protected geographical indications of origin for vermouth, and is the style referenced by classic cocktail books when discussing “Italian vermouth.” Full details

    Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
    Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
    Cocchi “Dopo Teatro” Vermouth Amaro

    Cocchi “Dopo Teatro” Vermouth Amaro

    ItalyPiemonte

    16.5% Alc/Vol

    The name ‘Dopo Teatro’ refers to the late-evening, “after theater” service at restaurants and cafes in Torino, a gathering time for a sip of something bittersweet and maybe a small bite to eat. This “vermouth amaro” (vermouth with added bitterness) uses Cocchi’s classic Vermouth di Torino as its base. From there, winemaker Giulio Bava adds a number of additional botanicals, including chiretta flowers and a double dose of cinchona bark. The result is a robust amaro that retains the refreshing acidity of the original Vermouth. Pair with spicy chocolate preparations, or mix with intense bourbons or ryes, mezcal, or gin. Full details

    Cocchi “Dopo Teatro” Vermouth Amaro
    Cocchi “Dopo Teatro” Vermouth Amaro
    Americano
    Cocchi Americano Rosa

    Cocchi Americano Rosa

    ItalyPiemonte

    16.5% Alc/Vol

    Throughout its history, Giulio Cocchi has used the aperitif wine Americano profile to highlight the fine aromatic grapes of Piemonte. In Cocchi Americano Rosa, the Brachetto d’Acqui wine base provides the white rose and rich berry notes typical of the famous sparkling wine of the same variety, while the addition of rose and ginger to the traditional bitter base provides a rounder profile. Full details

    Cocchi Americano Rosa
    Cocchi Americano Rosa
    Cocchi Americano Bianco

    Cocchi Americano Bianco

    ItalyPiemonte

    16.5% Alc/Vol

    Made to the same recipe since 1891, this Moscato-based aperitif wine has long been a staple of Asti. While the Americano name implies a gentian focus, the wine also includes quinine and citrus for a flavorful, refreshing profile. In Piemonte it is served chilled with ice, a splash of soda and a peel of orange. Cocchi Americano Bianco’s combination of fruit, spice and bitter undertones can perfect a number of classic mixed drinks. This same profile makes it splendid pairing with all kinds of pickles, nuts, charcuterie and cheeses. Full details

    Cocchi Americano Bianco
    Cocchi Americano Bianco
    Quinquina/Chinato
    Cocchi Barolo Chinato

    Cocchi Barolo Chinato

    ItalyPiemonte

    16.5% Alc/Vol

    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 once expects of Barolo, this wine possesses the definition necessary to be an ideal digestif or pairing with dark chocolate. Serve as you would serve high-quality port or Madeira, or use as a luxurious alternative to sweet red vermouth. You would not be alone in finding this to be the Rolls Royce (or Maserati) of Italian dessert wines. Full details

    Cocchi Barolo Chinato
    Cocchi Barolo Chinato
    Vino Amaro
    Pasubio

    Pasubio

    ItalyTrentino-Alto Adige

    17% Alc/Vol

    Pasubio is a true taste of the Dolomite Mountains in the Trentino region. On a base of rich aged wine you’ll find notes of blueberries, pine and smoke, together with bitter alpine herbs. It is rare among amari to feature mountain berries. The recipe from Giuseppe Cappelletti dates back to the early 20th century and is among the Erboristeria’s first amari. Traditionally enjoyed neat, typically at cellar temperature or chilled. Also pairs well in mixed drinks with bourbon, rye, or brandy. Full details

    Pasubio
    Pasubio
    Elisir Novasalus

    Elisir Novasalus

    ItalyTrentino-Alto Adige

    16.0% Alc/Vol

    Perhaps the most earnest of digestivi, Elisir Novasalus is revered in Alto Adige and regions beyond. Made by an Erboristeria (master of botanicals) and trader in wines, it combines in a six-month process the plants from the surrounding high alps (Alto Adige) with a dry Marsala and a unique tree sap of Sicily. The resulting amaro is bold, bitter and exceptionally complex, with layers upon layers of flavor. Famously comforting after a large meal. While not traditionally mixed, it is nicely followed by a small glass of sparkling wine. Unrivalled in its palate effect, it makes for a perfect finish to a meal. Full details

    Elisir Novasalus
    Elisir Novasalus
    Cardamaro Vino Amaro

    Cardamaro Vino Amaro

    ItalyPiemonte

    17.0% Alc/Vol

    Cardamaro is a longstanding product of what is today a 4th-generation winemaker in Canelli d’Asti. The primary flavors of Cardamaro are cardoon and blessed thistle, with a short repose in oak for spice and and texture. Drink as aperitif or digestif, outstanding with cider, or use in place of vermouth in many cocktails. Because of the subtle oak treatment, it is possible to use Cardamaro in place of bourbon or rye; combine with Dolin rouge for a lighter take on a Manhattan. Pair with saltier cheeses or charcuterie. Full details

    Cardamaro Vino Amaro
    Cardamaro Vino Amaro
    Aromatized Wines
    Aperitivo Cappelletti

    Aperitivo Cappelletti

    ItalyTrentino-Alto Adige

    17.0% Alc/Vol

    The Aperitivo Cappelletti, endearingly known to locals as just “Specialino”, may be the oldest style of the classic red bitter still in production. Unlike its larger commercial rivals, Cappelletti is less sweet and has a wonderful drying finish. Additionally, it still uses natural carmine color for a crimson red and retains a vinous texture from its wine base. It offers a vibrant and flavorful profile, complemented by bitter undertones on a traditional wine base. This yields a Negroni or Spritz that is dry and refreshing in the finish. It is made just outside of Trento in Alto Adige by the Cappelletti family, who also produce a number of other exceptional aperitivi and amari. Full details

    Aperitivo Cappelletti
    Aperitivo Cappelletti
    Sparkling Wine
    Cocchi Alta Langa Rosa

    Cocchi Alta Langa Rosa

    ItalyPiemonteAlta Langa DOCG

    12.5% Alc/Vol • Méthode Traditionnelle

    DOCG Alta Langa is the top appellation for sparkling wines in Piemonte. The requirements are very strict, including use of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and at least 30 months for the second fermentation in bottle. Full details

    Cocchi Alta Langa Rosa
    Cocchi Alta Langa Rosa
    Cocchi Alta Langa Bianc d’ Bianc 2010

    Cocchi Alta Langa Bianc d’ Bianc 2010

    ItalyPiemonteAlta Langa DOCG

    12.5% Alc/Vol • Méthode Traditionnelle

    DOCG Alta Langa is the top appellation for sparkling wines in Piemonte. The requirements are very strict, including use of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and at least 30 months for the second fermentation in bottle. Full details

    Cocchi Alta Langa Bianc d’ Bianc 2010
    Cocchi Alta Langa Bianc d’ Bianc 2010
    Cocchi Alta Langa Bianc d’ Bianc 2009

    Cocchi Alta Langa Bianc d’ Bianc 2009

    ItalyPiemonteAlta Langa DOCG

    12.5% Alc/Vol • Méthode Traditionnelle

    DOCG Alta Langa is the top appellation for sparkling wines in Piemonte. The requirements are very strict, including use of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and at least 30 months for the second fermentation in bottle. Full details

    Cocchi Alta Langa Bianc d’ Bianc 2009
    Cocchi Alta Langa Bianc d’ Bianc 2009
    Cocchi Asti DOCG

    Cocchi Asti DOCG

    ItalyPiemonteAsti DOCG

    6.0% Alc/Vol • Méthode Charmat

    ASTI is produced by Cocchi through a slow fermentation in steel vats of the Moscato Bianco picked from the family’s Colline Astigiane vinyard in the Asti hills. Creamy and delicate to taste, with a very scented aroma. The label’s colors match the flags that parade at the start of the ‘Palio d’Asti’ festival. Full details

    Cocchi Asti DOCG
    Cocchi Asti DOCG
    Cocchi DOCG Brachetto d’Acqui

    Cocchi DOCG Brachetto d’Acqui

    ItalyPiemonteBrachetto d’Acqui DOCG

    7.0% Alc/Vol • Méthode Charmat

    Cocchi makes Brachetto d’Acqui after a slow, controlled fermentation of its estate Brachetto grapes in steel tanks. Cocchi Brachetto d’Acqui is drier, higher-acid, and more defined than virtually any other example on the market, but it still has the fun and fruit for accompanying sorbet or cookies. Full details

    Cocchi DOCG Brachetto d’Acqui
    Cocchi DOCG Brachetto d’Acqui
    Cocchi Piemonte DOC Brut

    Cocchi Piemonte DOC Brut

    ItalyPiemontePiemonte DOC

    12.5% Alc/Vol • Méthode Charmat

    Cocchi employs a classic blend of estate pinot nero and chardonnay for this sparkling wine, which adds intricacy, cut, and intensity to the rich apple, pear, and floral notes. Ideal as an aperitif or to make a particularly nice Spritz. Full details

    Cocchi Piemonte DOC Brut
    Cocchi Piemonte DOC Brut
    Red Wine
    Casa Brina Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG

    Casa Brina Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG

    ItalyPiemonteRuchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG

    12.0% Alc/Vol

    Strikingly aromatic, with notes of rose petal, violet, black cherry and bitter almond, Casa Brina Ruchè di Castagnole Monferratto boasts a classic Piemontese structure and complexity, its firm tannins reminiscent of Nebbiolo (at a fraction of the price). With air, it takes on a gentle spice and rustic elegance. Approachable now, it should age well for more than a decade. Full details

    Casa Brina Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG
    Casa Brina Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG
    Floral/Herbal/Amaro Liqueurs
    Amaro Alta Verde

    Amaro Alta Verde

    ItalyTrentino-Alto Adige

    24% Alc/Vol

    Amaro Alta Verde’s hallmark flavor was common long ago throughout the Adriatic, though seldom found in the last half century. The principal ingredient is assenzio, a variety of wormwood. A complementary blend of alpine herbs, citrus and spice frame and lighten the classic bitter profile. True to its origins, the aromas evoke a summer forest in all its verdant splendor. Upon tasting, Alta Verde yields impressive length and complex bitterness, intertwined with gentle sweetness and bright herbal notes that give balance throughout the palate. Full details

    Amaro Alta Verde
    Amaro Alta Verde
    Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro

    Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro

    ItalyTrentino-Alto Adige

    20.0% Alc/Vol

    The term Sfumato derives from the Italian word for smoke - ‘fumo’. It is traditionally associated with a style of Renaissance painting characterized by subtle transitions between areas of dark and light. This speaks directly to this amaro’s profile, which marries a dark smokiness with bitter woodsiness from alpine herbs and notes of sweet alpine berries. The main ingredient is a special Rabarbaro (rhubarb) variety that grows in Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto. Enjoy with tonic, grapefruit soda, or whiskey. Full details

    Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro
    Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro