Piedmont: Nebbiolo’s noble cousin is Freisa
Dear friends, as you may have seen, in this period we are in the “Piedmont” area. In particular, we announced the important event “Great Langhe DOCGs”, which will be held from 18th to 20th March, starring Barolo, Barbaresco & Co. But I have recently happened to have two interesting experiences with less famous Piedmont wines, produced in very limited numbers. I would be delighted to share them with you. It is a preview, because we will be talking about these subjects in the next issue of Civiltà del bere: Freisa, Nebbiolo’s noble cousin.
It seems that it is genetically related to Nebbiolo and, in fact, the resemblances can also be found in the glass. We compared six wines produced with 100% Freisa grapes, all still wines, aged in wood, i.e. the noblest version of Freisa, because, as you know, this very red grape is also made as a sparkling and rosé wine.
Here is my classification, with my scores and personal tasting notes:
6th CASCINA GASPARDA
Cascina Gasparda, Freisa Monferrato DOC 2011
Bottles produced 1,000
Description slight notes of wet cotton and leather spoilt the taste, in contrast with the clean aroma of the other samples. The bouquet is floral, especially geranium, and rose comes out on the palate. For those of us who use the complete scale, 70 is a full 7. Considering the reasonable price, it is definitely worth trying.
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5th WALTER MASSA
Bottles produced 4,500
Description a coherent expression, with the character of its volcanic producer. The aroma is explosive, with ripe fruit and sandalwood and hints of sweet tobacco. Overflowing with tannins, astringent, with good acidity and a long finish on the palate.
Kyè, Freisa Lange DOC 2011
Bottles produced 6,500
Description a wine with character, dense and caressing, but with the flaw of a short finish. The bouquet is full, with white pepper and camomile. On the palate the tannins are still astringent, excellent structure, good acidity. The price is designer level, which is justified seeing it is a rare and curious wine, compared to the more well-known local products from the winery.
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3rd BALBIANO MELCHIORRE
Vigna della Regina, Freisa di Chieri DOC 2011
Bottles produced 3,800 (all numbered)
Description straightaway down-to-earth, but this does not mean it is unbalanced. Pepper and ripe fruit on the nose. Nice density on the palate, sweet but assertive tannin, medium acidity, not without length, announcing good quality .
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2nd TENUTA SANTA CATERINA
Sorì di Giul, Freisa d’Asti DOC 2010
Bottles produced 3,800
Description the cleanness of the red-fruit aromas, accompanied by the sweetness of the vanilla pod is convincing. It is crisp and fresh on the palate, with smooth and lingering tannins. Fascinating liquorice finish.
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1st LA MONTAGNETTA – DOMENICO CAPELLO
Bugianen, Freisa d’Asti Superiore DOC 2009
Bottles produced 4,000
Description full credit to Bugianen (which means “Keep still” in dialect). Excellent price, and the challenge will be to last the test of time, because it seems rather more powerful than elegant. It reminds of a “Mario Soldati” wine, a peasant wine, genuine and with a strong character. Elegant notes of orange and strawberry on the nose. Prominent tannins on the palate and the body is supported by good acidity.