Wine review — Angullong, Freeman and Chapel Hill

Angullong Fossil Hill Orange Region Sangiovese 2008 $20
Angullong Fossil Hill Orange Region Barbera 2008 $20

The Crossing family’s 220-hectare Angullong vineyard undulates in and out of the Orange District because of its varied altitude – the vines located above 600 metres are in, and everything else is out. The climate clearly suits these two Italian varieties and winemakers know how to capture the individuality. The sangiovese is medium bodied with dry, savoury tannins gripping a subtle core of sweet and sour cherry-like flavours, finishing lean, dry and savoury. The bright and zesty Barbera is packed with vibrant summer-berry flavours, given flesh by very clever oak maturation. Fine tannins give a dry, savoury finish. See www.angullong.com.au

Freeman Secco Hilltops Rondinella Corvina 2004 $30
This is a brilliant Aussie take on the classic reciotto della Valpolicella Amarone style of Verona, Italy, made from dried grapes. Brian Freeman established his vineyard at Young from just six cuttings each of the Veronese varieties, rondinella and corvina in 1999. Rather than go the whole hog like the Valpolicella Amarone makers, Brian uses mainly fresh grapes, adding a portion of dehydrated berries during fermentation. The result is a very full, ripe red with a distinctive ripe black-cherry flavour with undertones of port and prune and a pleasantly tart, savoury edge.  It’s a delicious and distinctive red and looking very young at five years’ age. See www.freemanvineyards.com.au

Chapel Hill McLaren Vale Il Vescovo Savagnin 2009 $20
Earlier this year Australian growers, including Chapel Hill, learned to their surprise that their prized plantings of the Spanish white, albarino, were, in fact, traminer, also known as savagnin. There’d been a gigantic stuff up in Spain decades back and, as a result, the CSIRO imported a woolly pup (for the full story go to www.chrisshanahan.com and search ‘albarino’). At Chapel Hill’s Kangarilla vineyard the variety thrived and made such good wine that winemaker Michael Fragos stuck to his knitting and simply changed his Il Vescovo label from ‘albarino’ to ‘savagnin’. It’s subtly aromatic and smoothly textured with a bone dry, savoury flavour.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009

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