I’m sure I’ve said this before but … While my local bottle shop caters for a middle of the road audience, if you have a bit of a dig around its various nooks and crannies you can often a gem. It might be a back vintage, it might be something a bit weird or from a small producer, or it might be at a bargain price.
In the 2007 Freeman Secco pretty much all of these boxes were ticked. It so happened that only a couple of days earlier I’d read Andrew Graham’s review of the 2009 (current release) on Oz Wine Review but even if I hadn’t recognised it from that, the fact that it’s a Rondinella Corvina blend made in Australia would have been enough to see me buy it.
Rondinella and Corvina are grapes that you’d normally find in wines from the Veneto in north eastern Italy. Heard of Valpolicella? You might have come across it in an Italian restaurant. It’s a lighter weight, food friendly Italian red from the Veneto and Corvina and Rondinella are two thirds of its makeup (the other third being Molinara).
Hanging around in Italy, the flavours of Valpolicella might be intensified by drying out some of the grapes prior to fermentation. This boosts the intensity of the flavours and also rounds off the wine with a distinctive bitterness. These are wines you’ll find sold as Amarone.
The Secco is cut from this cloth, with a portion of the grapes dried out in a prune dehydrator. The wine spends two years in oak before bottle and a further two years before release.
One final fun wine fact: Freeman is the only one or two wineries in Australia with Rondinella and Corvina grapes, so if you see this wine, grab it and give it a go.
How does it taste? Thanks to twitter, I was advised to decant the wine for about 6 hours before tasting, and it definitely held up and improved over a couple of days.
In the glass, medium-minus intensity, ruby in colour, perhaps with a tinge of garnet.
The nose was quite pronounced and showed fresh raspberries and vanilla (how good does that sound?), with a hint of undergrowth and spiciness.
That raspberry carried through to the palate, with a hit of fruit sweetness at the front of the palate. It was a really structured wine with good, quite drying tannins and very good acidity. There were herbal notes, with licorice and anise characters and a bitter almond yet savoury finish, and good length.
This was an impressive wine: I found it approachable, complex and with a good balance of fruit and savoury on the palate.
Absolutely something to satisfy your inner wine geek, but will work just as well with dinner!
This wine was purchased from Cellarbrations Flagstaff Hill for $30. Don’t bother making enquiries – I bought the last two bottles!