For many, the wines of Augusto Cappellano need little introduction. Yet they deserve as much text and praise as we shower Barolo's other heroes, Roberto Conterno, Beppe Rinaldi, and Maria Theresa Mascarello.

Today, I'm happy to offer our favorite Cappellano Barolo Chinato, with a range of Piè Rupestris and Piè Franc.

Cappellano is best known for crafting ultra-traditional and soulful Barolo with a natural focus on the western slopes of Serralunga d'Alba. Here in the Gabutti cru, we see the darker side of Nebbiolo within the greater Barolo zone. However, Augusto Cappellano's organic approach and low sulfur regimen endow these stature wines with a delicate and sensual side that stands apart from his contemporaries.

Cappellano is also known for insisting that critics who taste at the cantina do not publish the wines' scores. Although these are among the top Barolo produced in Piedmont each year, you will never see these wines rated—another philosophy at this estate that I greatly admire, and we've followed suit.

With only four hectares, the demand for these wines far outweighs supply. The Piè Franco from pre-phylloxera own-rooted vines is also located in the Gabutti cru but shows a more lifted and ethereal side than the Pié Rupestris. The whispers heard on this ultra-rare bottling surround the belief that this is what Barolo tasted like before American rootstocks were forced to be grafted to the majority of European vines.

The Barolo Chinato is, in many ways, the most esteemed product at Cappellano. The tightly-held secret family recipe has been passed down for generations. The wine is infused with a special ratio of spices, herbs, and other earthly components and ground by hand using a stone mortar and pestle.

Barolo Chinato is terrific on its own, but I'd be remiss if I didn't include some other recommendation's from the importer, Neal Rosenthal:

— As an aperitif: 4 parts gin, 4 parts Campari, 2 parts Chinato, a touch of ice, and an orange slice

— As a thirst quencher: Cold sparkling water, plus 10% of the volume in Chinato, and the juice of a freshly squeezed lime accompanied by a slice of lime