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2017 Balbiano Freisa di Chieri Sup. Vigna Villa della Regina

Regular price $68.00

In Stock: 9

It would be a stretch to call Balbiano an “urban winery”, but only a small one. Melchiorre Balbiano created the family winery in 1941 just outside the town of Chieri, 20 kilometers east of the center of Torino. In 1973 Chieri gave its name to the new DOC (appellation) of Freisa di Chieri. The Villa della Regina vineyard from which this wine comes is one of the few urban vineyards in Europe. It’s part of an historic villa that sits directly across the river from downtown Torino, a grape’s throw away from the famous Mole Antonelliana. 

Freisa is a close relative to nebbiolo, and like nebbiolo, has a long and often noble history throughout Piemonte as both a solo and a blending grape. In recent decades it’s often been relegated to making fizzy, slightly sweet (“amabile”) everyday wines, which can be charming but certainly not noble or age-worthy. Balbiano is one of a handful of producers who still make a freisa classico – i.e., vinifying it dry and treating it with the same seriousness as nebbiolo. Balbiano does a long fermentation in stainless steel and ages the wine in 500-liter French oak tonneaux. The wine is dark brick-ish in color, demonstrating its six-plus years of age. It smells of macerated berries, warm earth, and cocoa. It has fully-integrated tannins, still-bright acidity, lovely texture, excellent length, and just 13.5% alcohol. The wine is old-school while still being fresh and lively - a wine of gravitas but not weightiness. It deserves decanting for an hour or two and a Burgundy stem. For full immersion, drink it with traditional piemontesi dishes like piccione (pigeon), finanziera, or tajarín ai fegatini di pollo, or go for any woodsy flavors, such as game or mushrooms.
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