Freeman's 2004 Aged Release Secco (93pts), an Amarone inspired wine where the rondinella and corvina grapes are partially dried in a prune dehydrator, has been one of the finds of the year for me thus far. Perhaps the only thing holding back the absolutely delicious 2004 Secco from even greater heights, was the lack of a truly authoritative tannin structure, a quality which, Dr Brian Freeman happily informs me he's successfully captured in the 2007. Well, let's have a look-see then...
This is the third bottle of 2007 Secco I've had and I'm finally starting to get it. Early on, it smells thickly confected and jarringly awkward, but let it decant for at least 6 hours and watch it transform into an ever changing creature of complexity, masculine beauty and intrigue. It's at once meaty, leathery and spicy, richly ripened and a flamboyant brute, baring a gruff tone of smoky oak to add savoury grunt to its deeply aromatic, valid currant-like fruit and brown leafy scents. The palate really puts its foot to the floor, leaving any concept of subtlety behind as it deposits the imposingly firm, penetrative, spiralling and intense tannin structure Dr Freeman must surely seek with this wine. Its all-encompassing backbone takes centre stage in its youth, framing and directing its smoothly set, luscious flavours of savoury-edged blackberries, redcurrants and smoky chocolate oak with real authority and drive, allowing a sly note of aniseed to linger through the finish. Rough and rugged, it's definitely a man, and almost enough to make me turn...
ü+ A real living, breathing beast. A ringing endorsement of the benefits of decanting, time, patience and repeat consumption for wine. The 2007 Secco may not be as immediately delicious as the 2004 Aged Release (naturally), but it's perhaps even more up my alley, as it's a much more serious, longer term prospect, with a spectacular tannin structure and shape rare in Australian reds. Dr Freeman's closing in on the white light here. Cellar it. Drink 2017-2025.