2015 Giacomo Borgogno & Figli, Langhe Freisa DOC, Piedmonte, Italy.
The historic Giacomo Borgogno & Figli winery, which was founded back in 1761, is one of the best and most famous Barolo producers, makes a gorgeous collection of Nebbiolo wines, but in recent years they’ve added two alternatives in the form of their lovely white Timorasso DOC Derthona and this delightful Langhe Freisa. Borgogno is all organic these days and continue to employ old school and traditional methods in the cellar, which are cooly located underground, with long spontaneous or natural fermentation(s) in concrete tanks without the use of selected yeasts, and with long elevage(s), exclusively in large Slavonian oak casks. This 2015 Freisa, a rare local varietal that is believed to be a parent grape to Nebbiolo, shows a very similar profile here, it is not as exotic and or as perfumed as G.D. Vajra’s fabulous example, but is absolutely delicious in its own way with rose petals, brandied cherries and the grape’s classic macerated strawberry core of fruit along with hints of earth, spice and a light sense of cedary oak. This wine certainly gets better with air and its florals and complexity gain dramatically as it opens in the glass with extra layers coming alive with each sip.
Freisa grapes come into the Borgogno cellar and are all carefully sorted, de-stemmed and then pressed gently to preserve all the freshness and purity. This is, as with the Nebbiolo, followed by a spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation in large concrete tanks, at cool temperatures for about 12 days. After a soft pressing the wine is gravity racked into the large Slavonian oak barrels for 10 months of aging, after which the Freisa is rested at least four months in bottle before release. Freisa has caught the attention of American winemakers and has gained some acreage here in California with a small vineyard in San Benito County providing some of the best examples to date, with impressive bottlings by Pax Wines and Jolie-Laide coming out this year, both of which are done in a very natural style, making for wonderful quaffers. I first experienced Freisa many years ago, but it didn’t impress me much until I tried Vajra’s stunning Kye bottling, and now you are seeing many more good examples, like this one and Vietti’s Vivace which has partial whole cluster, that adds some intriguing pop. This Borgogno Freisa has a medium full body and is a structured ruby colored wine that is really best with hearty food choices, it is a very solid choice to help discover this grape and a very nice value.
($30 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive