NSW is back on the map as one of Australia’s best wine regions. Not long ago the Hunter Valley held the mantle as the state’s key region for making high qualities wines. But today the creativity and talent of mainly smaller producers have put 16 wine regions firmly on the radar of wine critics and consumers alike.
In a recent article on “the NSW wine all-stars,” the SMH’s wine critic Huon Hooke noted how successful NSW winemakers have been in experimenting with new wine styles. Many have also forged reputations through focusing on alternatives to the traditional French varieties. New England’s highly regarded Topper’s Mountain, for example, makes both a gewurztraminer and a nebbiolo. (The NSW wine all-stars by Huon Hooke, Goodfood, 3 February 2015)
In the Hilltops region, which is to the northwest of the Canberra District, Freeman Vineyards has secured wide acclaim for its Freeman Secco Rondinella Corvina. The 2004 vintage received the trophy for the “Best Mature Dry Red ” at both the 2009 and 2011 NSW Wine Awards.
Rondinella and corvina are the two main varieties used to produce northern Italy’s Amarone and Valpolicella wines. Freeman Vineyards’ winemaker Dr Brian Freeman, a former Professor of Wine Science at Charles Sturt University, secured just six cuttings of rondinella and corvina from CSIRO’s grape breeding collection when he established Freeman Vineyards in 1999. The Freeman Secco Rondinella Corvina was first released in 2002.
Only a small portion of the grapes in the Secco are dried, but enough to give the wine the rich, sensual qualities that are characteristic of great Amarone.
Freeman has access to a neighbour’s solar-power prune dehydrator, where the grapes layered on racks and gently heated in air tunnels at 40 degrees for up to 10 days. The dried grapes are then added to the fermentation tanks and the wine is aged for 12 months in a combination of old French and American oak barriques.
Huon Hooke describes the current 2009 vintage as “a powerful wine with real structure and aging potential… [Read More]