2003 G.D. Vajra Kyè Freisa, Langhe

09192009This is a wine that knocked my wine geek senses out of the park. I was down in Portland last weekend and wandered into the local wine geeks’ paradise, Vinopolis. I picked out 5 bottles of Oregon Pinot to bring back home and then asked the shop’s on-shift wine guy to pick the coolest bottle of the wine in the store in the under-$45 range. He immediately made his way to the back of the store to the Italian section and grabbed this wine.

Anyone who has ever read this site knows I’m a huge Nebbiolo fan, especially in its Barolo and Barbaresco forms… and Freisa is Nebbiolo’s genetic father, so it’s to be expected that you’ll have to get ready for your tar and roses fix… though rumour has it that Freisa has a more refreshing approach with its flavours.

With an initial whiff, I could have sworn that it was a gorgeous example of a Langhe Nebbiolo wine. Even though it comes from the very warm 2003 vintage, the wine has an extremely complex and sexy nose – all of that already-mentioned tar and rose petals mix, along with the Barolo/Barbaresco-like walnut and cherry brandy. It just smells so good.

A sip really shows what this wine has to offer. It slips into another gear. Wow. It’s like a Langhe Nebbiolo on steroids. More Barolo-like than anything. It’s not as raw as a Barbaresco. It has the gentle, sexy fruit of a good Barolo with softer tannins. That could come from the warmth of the vintage, but this is one of the better 2003 Langhe wines I’ve tasted. Again – wow.

The everlasting finish is full of walnut and cherry liqueur followed up with a long-lasting floral-edged (think violets) finish… very tar-like, but much better than you might be thinking. This is a complex and wonderful bottle of wine. If you come across it and are a Piedmont fan, you have to give it a try.

Trust me.

$39 USD at Vinopolis in Portland, OR.

4 1/2 stars

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