I tasted so many great wines last week in Piemonte but this was one of the most fascinating. It’s made from freisa, a grape variety that according to the Vajra family was once the second or third most cultivated grape in the region and used to make vermouth.
It’s actually related to Nebbiolo and, according to Jancis Robinson et al’s invaluable Wine Grapes, possibly to Viognier too.
It’s certainly very fragrant with a taste of wild berries and a bitter cherry twist that reminds me of Cabernet Franc. The Vajra version which is grown in a south-facing vineyard about 400m above sea level is vivid, wild and dark - a really exciting wine
Giuseppe Vajra recommends drinking it “when it’s cold outside with polenta and game or venison” which seems a pretty good pairing suggestion to me.
The very good 2010 vintage (the one I tasted ) is currently only available in the UK from Fine & Rare wines at the moment though the 2009 which won the Piedmont wines over £15 trophy at this year’s Decanter World Wine Awards is stocked by a number of retailers at around £35. (See tasting notes here and wine-searcher.com for stockists).