Francesco Boschis is an under-the-radar star in Piedmont, making wines that are well above the average standard for Dolcetto, Barbera and Freisa. Based in Dogliani, the vineyards here are more elevated than Alba (550m asl) as well as further south and with more exposition to the Mediterranean. Dolcetto elsewhere in Piedmont is a fun, simple drink. Here it makes something dark, serious and rich with complexity. The family have grown grapes for 100 years and made their own wines for the last 50. Mario Boschis runs the 14 hectares of vines with his wife Simona, and two sons Paolo and Marco and nobody else. When they plant new vineyards they taking cuttings from prephylloxera selections and their own clone of Dolcetto is small-berried with thick skins. The vineyards are all managed organically, and they also farm Piemontese cattle, hazelnuts and manage their own beehives.
The Boschis labels are made by local artist Teresita Terreno, and they beautifully describe the time of year when each of their wines is best enjoyed. Bosco della Cicale refers to the nearby forests that chirp with cicadas during the summer. Freisa is a Piemontese native, and a parent of Nebbiolo with shich it shares many features, especially the firm tannins. Deeper in colour and with red-berry fruit aromas reminiscent of strawberries, Freisa is now made with care to make a richer, softer style of wine similar to Nebbiolo. Traditionally, Freisa was bottled slightly sweet and spritzy to mask the power of the tannins. A great wine for the summer and early months of Autumn. Drink it young.