2013 Principiano Langhe Freisa ‘Chila’
Region: Piemonte < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; clay/sandy soil; 10 mos. fermentation and aging in stainless before bottling; unfined/unfiltered with minimal SO2; 108 cases; 13.5% ABV ABV
Winemaker: Ferdinando Principiano
The Principiano estate has been on the map of Serralunga di Alba since 1700, but it wasn’t until 1993 that the family’s farm lands were converted to vineyards, after Ferdinando advised his father to focus on wine production. He wanted to ride the wave of the world’s new love affair with Barolo. At first, they chased scores, making young-drinking, heavily-oaked wines, but after seeing how the wine fell apart within a decade of bottling, Ferdinando decided to focus on making traditional Barolo, abandoning all “modern” tools like pesticides, micro-oxygenation and French barrique. He converted to organic farming and returned to the old-school, low-intervention winemaking style that had been used in Barolo for hundreds of years. And while his Barolos are special, we’re partial to the weird grapes like this Freisa. Rare and indigenous to Piemonte, Freisa is a rustic, hyper local wine of the Langhe region, with a distinct strawberry note, some wild raspberry and mint, and dry tannins. Save the Barolo for your Dad’s 60th birthday, and drink this easygoing, fresh red with your Tuesday night tacos.