COCCHI | “Barolo Chinato”

(Piedmont, Italy) $47 (500ml)

I am addicted to drinking Italian bitters after dinner. The savory/bitter/sweet/spicy tanginess and the kinetic freshness are sensational. Bitters are like drinking the entire botanical universe in one delicious sip. The bitter known as Barolo Chinato (pronounced key NAT oh) from Giulio Cocchi is made with lightly fortified Barolo wine that’s been infused with quinine bark, wormwood, rhubarb, ginger root, cardamom and gentian plus a slew of secret spices. The recipe has remained the same since the wine was invented in 1891. While I usually drink it as a digestivo (after dinner), it’s equally good with a splash of soda and citrus as an aperitivo. (Who said you can’t bookend a meal with the same liquid inspiration?) (16.5 % abv)

93 points KM

Available at K&L Wines

Which product below has just been invented?

A. Chardonnay Greek Yogurt
B.  Cheese M & Ms
C. Pink Chocolate
D. Cabernet IPA (beer)

Scroll down for the answer!

“Wine … changing even as we taste it, delivers a message with meaning only in our response. If we are in the right key when we receive it, our eyes will shine and we shall radiate pleasure.”

—Gerald Asher, American writer, The Pleasures of Wine


If you’ve been to Greece recently (or are going to ditch winter this year) you probably didn’t escape without falling in love with (or learning to abhor) retsina, the pungent, pine-resin-flavored wine, the drinking of which is virtually a baptismal right in Greek tavernas. Traces of pine resin have been found in Greek wine jars dating back to the 13th century B.C. Modern retsina can be made anywhere in the country, although most of it is made near Athens. Many different white grape varieties can be used, but the most common variety is savatiano, a relatively neutral white grape. Resin from the Aleppo pine is added to savatiano grape juice as it ferments, imparting retsina’s unmistakable, piney, turpentine-like aroma. Yeah it sounds bad. But when in Rome, I mean Greece…


From the Oh No! Files

Now that it’s National Ice Cream Month, the pressure is on to answer a fundamental question: What wine is best with ice cream? Being something of a traditionalist, I’m going with vanilla ice cream and PX Sherry, one of the gastronomic gems of Spain. But that was before I heard of Golden Opulence, a $1,000 (that’s not a typo) sundae now being served at the New York ice cream shop Serendipity 3. Golden Opulence consists of three scoops (imagine!) of Tahitian vanilla ice cream infused with Madagascan vanilla beans and covered in 23K edible gold (ok, that’s impressive), placed in a Baccarat crystal goblet (of course it is) and drizzled with Tuscan chocolate from Amedei (the Amedei Chuao chocolate is said to be from beans grown off the coast of Venezuela). There’s also some accompanying Parisian candied fruit, Swiss chocolate truffles and a gold-plated sugar orchid. A tiny bowl of Grande Passion caviar—a dessert caviar sweetened with passion fruit and Armagnac (finally some wine!)—is on the side. I think you get to keep the 18K gold spoon that the sundae is served with. Ok, wine friends, what would you drink with this?


Literally, a “flask,” but more often the word fiasco is used to describe the bulbous, straw-encased Chianti bottle that was a fixture of the bohemian lifestyle in the 1960s in the United States. (Memory lane, right, Boomers?). Chiantis sold in fiaschi (the plural) were usually quite cheap. Plus, the bottle doubled as a candle holder once the wine was drunk. If fiaschi make a comeback, remember, you heard it here.

Steals under $20

CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Dry Riesling 2015 (Columbia Valley, Washington) $10
Refreshing and dry. The perfect thing to drink while you are cooking.

SCHEID Sauvignon Blanc 2016 (Monterey, California) $20
The grass-and-sass school of SB. If you like New Zealand-style sauvignon, you’ll like this.

BOGLE “Essential Red” 2015 (California) $12
Rugged, rustic and ready for burgers, burritos and BBQ.

Ask Karen

“I’ve read that you recommend that wine glasses be stored upright. Why?”
—Phil C., Dallas

Hi Phil: With a good wine glass, the rim is fairly fragile. The foot of the glass is far more sturdy for storage. But something else is operating too. Wine glasses stored on their rims easily pick up the aroma of the wood or shelf lining paper in the cabinet they are stored in. Smell the bowl of a glass that’s been storage upside down on its rim. The glass often smells funky or musty. Definitely not what you want to pour a nice wine into!  —Karen 


C. Move over dark, milk and white, a fourth type of chocolate has arrived—pink. The rosy hued chocolate is the invention of Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut, who believes the “berry fruitiness and luscious smoothness” may appeal to “hedonistic millennials.” The product, which Callebaut calls “ruby chocolate,” is made from Ruby Cacao beans which grow in Ecuador, Brazil and the Ivory Coast. (No red food coloring or berry flavoring is added). As far as we know, Cabernet IPA and Chardonnay Yogurt are still waiting to be created, as are Cheese M&Ms—although Cheesecake M&Ms have already made their debut. You can buy them on Amazon.