Vergano 'Chinato Americano'
Notes: In Mauro Vergano's words (courtesy of LDM website):
"A brief description of the production cycle which all the 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.
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."
"After earning a degree in chemistry, Mauro Vergano studied oenology and viticulture at one of Italy's top schools. Soon after, he started working in the “flavors and fragrances” sector of a company full-time as a chemist. In his 15 years there, Mauro spent extensive time mastering the equipment that produce fragrances, all the while training his nose to correctly identify aromatic blends.
In the late 70's, Mauro channelled his combined interest in wine and aromatized fragrances by producing small batches of his own Chinato. For years it remained a hobby, but with the encouragement of his friends and family, the idea of turning his passion into a full time job started to grow on him. Three years after retiring, the first bottles of Chinato were ready for sale.
Pushing things forward, Mauro released the Luli in 2003, a Moscato based Chinato that remains the only one of its kind on the market. Next was the Americano, a twist on traditional vermouth; by using the relatively unknown grape Grignolino as the base wine, Mauro has created a light, untannic and aromatic delight. The most recent addition to the lineup is a Vermouth made in a more classic, Piedmontese style.
Mauro uses only the finest ingredients, and his cupboard is full of herbs and spices sourced locally but also from around the world. The same is true for the sourced wines: the Chinato is produced from Giuseppe Cortese's Nebbiolo, the Luli from Vittorio Bera & Figli's Moscato, the Americano from Cascina Tavijn's Grigolino and the Vermouth from Cascina Degli Ulivi's Cortese and the Bera's Moscato." -David Bowler