Langhe Rosso (Freisa) by Aldo Conterno | 2017
The wines of Poderi Aldo Conterno are iconic, and deservedly so. Often wrongly typecast as "modern," these are Piedmont wines of power and supreme elegance, not modern, as in "oak-heavy." So, if you're a lover of anything Piedmont (or anything Italian), then you're in for a terroir-loving surprise.
Just like the great producers of Burgundy protect their historical Aligoté grape, a handful of Barolo producers are the gatekeepers of Freisa (refusing to rip it out, in favor of higher-fetching Nebbiolo). Freisa is an indigenous grape of Piedmont, closely related to Nebbiolo, and when it ends-up in the hands of an icon, it transforms into a magical bottle of wine.
Roughly 80% Freisa, blended with Cabernet and Merlot, the grapes come from family plots within Barolo's famous Bussia cru. Darker in the glass than Nebbiolo, the nose is full throttle with purple plum, sweet cherry, and tarry rose. The power of Bussia transcends on the palate with overarching tannin and acidity, but in classic Conterno fashion, the wine beams on the palate, like an old house with a fresh coat of paint. So next time you're on the hunt for a big Barolo, don't lose sight of little Freisa!