G.D. Vajra, Langhe DOC (Piedmont, Italy) Freisa “Kyè” 2013

($41): G.D. Vajra is one of Piedmont’s top producers.  Their name on a label is a guarantee of quality.  Freisa, on the other hand, is not so consistent.  It is a close relative of Nebbiolo and, like that grape, it has a prominent tannic structure.  A century ago it was cultivated for use in the blend of red Vermouth where its astringency added balance.  Currently, some producers leave a touch or residual sugar or make it fizzy in an attempt to balance the tannins.  Not surprisingly, Vajra makes a gorgeous example by, as he explains it, planting it in the right place and leaving it on the vine, even after the later-ripening Nebbiolo, to allow the tannins in the seeds, which are particularly bitter, to ripen.  Vajra’s 2013, redolent of strawberries, is a large-framed mineraly-infused wine with amazingly elegant tannins.  Fresh and bright, its power cries for beef.
92 Michael Apstein Jun 13, 2017