Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A less known Piedmontese red

One of the bottles I brought from my Po Valley quest in Italy is now on the table. I never imagined Piedmont had such an abundance of autochthonic grapes. Barbera, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo from the reds and Arneis and Moscato from the whites are somewhat well known. But this Freisa was a nice surprise. It was recommended to me by an old Turin lady who caught me trying wines in a Turin wine shop and felt obliged to suggest some less known vernacular beauties.

The Freisa wine is light-bodied, a bit carbonated at times and generally produced around Turin, in Monferrato and Langhe. This one is Balbiano Freisa di Chieri Secco Vivace 2011, DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta), €8.50. Secco means dry, so obviously Freisa has sweeter expressions, and vivace is lively - they're hinting at bubbles. It's from Turin region: Azienda Vitivinicola Balbiano is based in Andezeno, near Turin. Plum and redcurrant and forest fruit on the nose, a bit rustic, reminds of a young Tuscan Sangiovese. On entry it's light, a little frizzante/bubbly, the plum is what I feel at once, with redcurrant and morello cherry around. Low tannins and typical Apennine acidity. I like it. I think this is a great wine for the summer to enjoy with salty Italian antipasti such as prosciutto and the hard cheeses (Parmigiano Reggiano etc.).