Freisa is a black grape from Italy’s north-western region Piedmont. It is a variety that slowly but surely is losing ground.

Characteristics
It is a vigorous vine and needs good pruning during the growth season in order to deliver grapes of good quality. Aromas are of raspberry and rose petal fragrances.

Wines
Freisa is used to make several kinds of wines; dry, off dry, fizzy, sparkling, and sweet. Not all wine critics like the different styles as for example the fizzy version. This is called Freisa Nebbiolata, and it goes through a second fermentation, giving the wine a bitter-sweet character.

The best expressions of the Freisa varietal wines can be found south-east of Turin and especially in the Montferrat (Monferrato in Italian) area.

Food pairing
A dry Freisa varietal wine will pair excellently with dishes of lamb, veal and venison, as long as they are not too heavily seasoned.

The wine is best served at 12-14°C/54-57°F.

Where is it grown?
In Italy’s north-western Piedmont region there are 1.041 ha/2,572 ac planted with Freisa, a decrease with twenty-six percent in ten years. Freisa is now the forty-ninth most planted grape in Italy.

Plantings outside Italy are few. In 2000, a small acreage was reported from California, but it is no longer reported in 2010.

In Argentina and Brazil new plantings have been established since 2000. Judging based on their size it seems as they are experimental.

History
Freisa is recognised as being native to the sub-region Monferrato in Piedmont in Italy. The grape is thought to be of some age, which the number of synonyms (thirty-eight) also to some extent confirms.

Genetic testing has shown that one of its parents is the more famous Piedmont variety Nebbiolo.