Have you heard of Freisa? It’s time to do some research. #TryThis
It’s a grape that is native to the Piedmont region in Italy, and though it was commonly planted in the 19th century, it lost ground (literally) to Nebbiolo which gives us the long lived wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. If you like the firm structure and perfume of Nebbiolo then Freisa would be right up your alley. Not surprisingly, as the two grapes share so many characteristics, it has been proven they are very closely related. Freisa tends to give a pronounced strawberry and floral aroma, with the most aromatic examples coming from the vineyards near the town of Asti. Barolo makers are embracing the grape as well, and some very fine examples are coming from their cellars as well. Here are two of my all-time favourites.
Giacamo Borgogno Freisa 2014, Langhe ($24)
Of the two, this is the most approachable in youth. It still has a firm structure, but shows a fleshier side as well. The nose is seductive and intriguing, like a garden full of peonies and young strawberries. A great food wine with BBQ foods; the smoky flavours will work well with the brightness of the wine.
G.D Vajra Freisa Kye 2014 Langhe ($56)
Aldo Vaira (G.D. Vajra proprietor) describes Freisa as “a noble grape, rare and fighting for survival.” Nothing makes me happier than to think that Freisa had advocates like Aldo and his lovely family. Kye is a stunner — aromas of wild roses, strawberry, lavender and thyme. So complex even in youth! Elegant but built for the dinner table with generous tannins. I’d not wait too long to drink it, as the one of the most appealing things about this wine and grape are the youthful, floral notes.
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