Freeman Vineyards ‘Rondo’ Rosé 2012 (Hilltops, NSW)
13.5%, Screwcap, $20 from the Freeman website
That sentiment was sourced from the Freeman website and it’s a fair one – whilst it’s welcome that Australia has a wealth of quality cool climate Shiraz producers,, a little more varietal diversity wouldn’t go astray. Which is where the Freeman family come in.
Brian Freeman first started Freeman Vineyards in 1999 after spending 10 years as the Professor of Wine Science & Viticulture at Charles Stuart University, Wagga. His intention with this operation was to grow grapes and make wines with an Italianate (and more) flavour, an approach that entailed planting the red grapes of Valpolicella Rondinella and Corvina alongside Pinot Gris, Viognier alongside the more traditional Cabernet, Shiraz etc.
With daughters Xanthe (winemaking) and Marcelle (sales) now joining Brian, and a whole fruit salad of varieties including Furmint, Prosecco, Tempranillo et al now coming to fruition, Brian’s original intention to craft intriguing wines has continued to evolve.
The backbone of the Freeman range though is still the Secco, Australia’s only true Amarone style blend of air-dried Rondinella and Corvina. It was the Secco too which ultimately bred this wine – an utterly savoury rosé made from the saignee juice bled from the Secco bound Rondinella grapes, the orange/pink coloured juice then fermented in both oak and stainless steel and then left until bottling in spring.
Like the Secco, this excellent rosé is one of the few ‘pink wines’ that requires bottle ageing to show its best, with 12 months minimum in bottle required for the wine to show its best. Sadly, rampant demand has required the wine to be released earlier than the Freemans would like, although this 2012 vintage is already undeniably tasty (and better than the 2011 which preceded it).
As you can see in my slightly average photo, this is a very pale orange coloured rosé. Very pale indeed. It smells of onion jam and strawberry and cherry fruit, of restrained red fruit with just a little of the barrel ferment richness to fill things out. It’s a very correct nose. Full, dry, textural palate has a bunch of phenolics and acidity driving things, the style taut just ‘fruity’ enough to make for generosity, giving that all important textural palate richness.
A really clever savoury rose that needs only a little bottle age to fill things out more, I happily finished a bottle of this.
Score: 17.5/20 91/100
Would I buy it? Yes
*Caveat: Marcelle is a friend of mine and I have judged with Xanthe. No question about how much I like this wine though.