Nov 23rd-Freisa

Friesa is one of the oldest red grape varieties from the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. It is a close relative of Nebbiolo. Due to its sharp acidity, heavy tannins and bitter finish, it is commonly made into gently sparkling wines or still wines with some residual sugar to help balance these attributes. DOC laws allow it to also be a minor grape in blends dominated by Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Grignolino. Friesa can also be a divisive wine. Famed wine critic Robert Parker once called it ‘repugnant’. It hasn’t been around for over 500 years because everyone loathes it, but it helps that the vine is nearly indestructible and can prosper in a variety of soil types.

This week, I drank a 2020 G.B. Burlotto Freisa from Langhe DOC. Burlotto is a fifth generation family owned winery founded in 1850 by Giovan Battista Burlotto. The wine was a bright light ruby color with legs that deliberately sank down the sides of the goblet. The aromas of ripe cranberry, red cherries, raspberries, and wild strawberries were joined with lavender and violets. The aromas were all still fresh but if the bottle was allowed to age for a few years, they would transition to dried fruits, potpourri, and more complex notes would become evident from prolonged bottle aging. This dry, fuller bodied wine had well integrated, soft tannins. It wasn’t until I swished the wine that I noticed the amount of tannin it contained. The moderate level of acidity and alcohol were both less than I was expecting after reading about the varietal. The red fruits and floral notes were slow to dissipate from my palate. This wine was well balanced and interesting! As this wine ages, it should gain earthy notes that will allow it to pair well with truffles and other mushrooms. Until then, it would pair well with most kinds of meat and aged cheeses. It is a robust wine that can withstand equally as powerful food pairings. 


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