Nebbiolo's Wild Child: 2010 Massa Freisa L’Avvelenata

Posted by Joe Salamone

31 Demijohns
- Stunning Piedmont Value
2010 Massa Freisa L’Avvelenata
Nebbiolo's Wild Child

It's easiest to think of Freisa as Nebbiolo's wild offspring. The grape has become an obsession for us.

When handled seriously, Freisa can deliver the structure and complexity that great Nebbiolo wines do. This isn't an accident - the two grapes are relatives.

Compared to Barolos and Barbarescos, Freisa's expression is a little unhinged, somewhat savage. At its best, it offers an explosion of flowers, spice, dark fruits and minerals. The spectrum of flavor can be insane.

We've been searching a long time for a Freisa that delivers the potential of the grape. There was a crazy good bottle of 89 Vajra Freisa that started our obsession.

In Walter Massa's 2010 Freisa L’Avvelenata, we found what we've been after. The wine has the wild complexity of floral and savory notes that marks Freisa at its best. We tasted nearly every Freisa around over the past four years, but this is our first Freisa offering since the 89 Vajra four years ago.

At $29.95 on bottles and $26.95 in 6-packs, this is one of the best deals out of Italy that we've seen in some time.

Walter Massa's 2010 Freisa L’Avvelenata deserves the spotlight. It's just that successful in 2010. The value, the fascination, the ageworthiness make it worth a close look. Massa doesn't release a Freisa every vintage - he holds out for special vintages.

And 2010 in Piedmont is a special vintage. It's way too early to tell, but many Piedmont experts think a modern great could be in the making. Massa's 2010 Freisa beautifully displays what makes 2010 in Piedmont so noteworthy - the aromatics are gorgeously precise, the palate is detailed and long driven by a vibrant acidity and silken tannins.

Massa may not be well-known, but he is a fanatically dedicated grower and champion of the obscure, indigenous varietals of his area, Colli Tortonesi. People who know Massa well say that he lives in the vineyard and in his cellar, and it pays off in the wines. The way he elevates grapes from the obscure Timorasso to Barbera can astonish.

He's also not afraid to experiment. For his 2010 Freisa, he took thirty-one 54-liter demijohns (bulbous glass containers) to ferment the wines. His reasoning is difficult to explain, but the simple answer is that he wanted to experiment with temperatures (as glass is a good conductor.) The net-net is that it was a very successful experiment.

Given its balance, its tannic and acid structure, Massa 2010 Freisa L’Avvelenata will age very, very well. Expect it to soften and deepen, developing nuanced earth and floral notes.

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2010 Massa Freisa L’Avvelenata

Special Email Bottle Price: $29.95

Special Email 6-Pack Price: $161.70 ($26.95/btl)