Monday, June 6, 2011


- Hilltops, NSW
- $30
- Screwcap
- 15.0%alc

Dr Brian Freeman's Rondinella Corvina Secco is one of the most unique wines in Australia. It's a blend of two varieties typical to the Amarone styles of north Italy; rondinella and corvina, where some of the grapes are dried in a prune dehydrator to produce a rich, savoury wine with few peers in this country. Like Joseph's exquisite Moda Amarone, it's the type of wine that benefits from a few years bottle age, so an aged release (without an inflated price) is a stellar idea.

Lifted cherry, cigar-box and dried herb aromas fly from the glass of Freeman's 2004, gifting fragrance and savoury appeal to a wine whose scent is beautifully bolstered by deeper notes of plums and chocolate raisins with a delightfully rich tone of meat jus. It smells complete yet vibrant, with any suggestions of bottle age developing with harmony. Pushing along a rich, silky flow of flavour blessed by its vibrancy, the palate delivers exactly what I want from the style at this price. It's bright, flavoursome and utterly delicious; no matter who you are really, as its saturated core of plush red berry, dark plum and leathery earth flavours are cleanly balanced by a lengthening extract of glossy acids and lithe tannins, leaving the mouth refreshingly dry in an almost coffee-like fashion, with a valid undertone of juicy red meat to pass. It's wonderful, hedonistic and genuinely affordable.

ü+ Bright, sumptuous and conclusively satisfying, Freeman's 2004 Rondinella Corvina Secco makes all the right turns on its road to partially dried grape goodness. Drink to 2016.
93 points


  1. I've never heard of this wine but it sounds intriguing, especially at its price point. Must keep an eye out for it.

  2. Highly recommended JP, especially for a man of your tastes, but it has genuine crossover appeal in my eyes also.

    It's quite different to other Amarone styles, perhaps not as complex, as the grapes are dried over 3 days at 40 degree temperatures, but this is just straight up delicious in my opinion, particularly considering its young vine-age (1999 plantings I think?) and its price.

    I think 2007 is current vintage (haven't seen it in Adelaide yet), but the 'Aged Release' 2004 has much to offer now. Especially as Brian Freeman hasn't seen the need to raise the price on his wine just because it's older, unlike others....

    Chris P

  3. Exciting stuff Chris.

    I love reading about something off the beaten track that sounds tailor-made for me. I've ordered a six on the strength of this review (don't worry, I read you often, and feel safe that our palates are fairly similar!).

    I've had two amarone experiences this year that have sent me to heaven. It's the beginning of a beautiful friendship with a wine style.

    Cheers, and thanks.

  4. Thanks on all accounts Via :)

    My best mate's been on a similar Amarone trip lately, and he was joyed to discover this wine - at $30 especially.

    May your personal relationship with the partially dried grape style be a long and delicious one!

    Chris P

    p.s. if you're interested in something off the beaten track, I was absolutely mesmerised by a tasting of Joseph's Double Pruned 2009 Cabernet the other week - it was f#ckin brilliant! First release since 1991 and a bit of a rare wine (only 650 magnums made I think @ $275 ea). I'm not sure if it's available to public yet, but if you ever come across one - give it a go!

  5. Reckon these Freeman rondinella corvina wines outshine a whole lot of other Australian attempts at Italian red varieties. Great value, work their own groove (not trying to be amarone), and the product of a distinctive vision. If made from the Adelaide Hills or King Valley, would probably have received far more media attention, wider distribution and sell for more, in my opinion.

  6. A lot of good points Paul. I'm not sure how many other producers would see the value in releasing such a wine for $30, especially with additional bottle age.

  7. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for the tip, absolutely spot on the mark. Loved this, will need to go in and snag another half a case soon....