Italian Indigenous Varieties: Freisa from Piedmont

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This week’s grape variety hails from Piedmont – Freisa. It is often made into a pure varietal wine but is also blended with Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto.

It is a red grape that has heavy tannins and at times is made into a frizzante wine to make it softer. Freisa’s native area is near the city of Asti, although it grows in various parts of Piedmont. I have always enjoyed Freisa and found it to be quite floral on the nose and on the palate. I first heard of this variety from a producer called La Montagnetta. Domenico Capello and his family collaborate with the University of Turin to study this variety.

A number of wines made from Freisa are available on the U.S. market, among them one from importer Domenico Valentino.

You may find that each one you try is different than the previous version because this grape is quite versatile and can be aged in oak or in steel tanks, made into a sweet version or a frizzante one. What I think you’ll find in any version you try is an interesting wine that you will look for again and again. It’s also a great one to stump your friends in a blind tasting, not that I am advocating for that but I’m just saying…

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