Tasting Notes - Brash Higgins Wine Co (SA)

From coastal McLaren Vale

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Brash Higgins wines - Mclaren Vale

Brash Higgins wines - Mclaren Vale

Brad Hickey, of Brash Higgins Wines, McLaren Vale, South Australia


Brad Hickey is the vigneron behind the Brash Higgins Wine Co. Brad is determined to create wines that are new and different and reflect a single vineyard. His latest release of Nero D'avola is proof this philosophy is working.

After a decade as head sommelier for New York City's top Michelin starred restaurants and a further 10 years of baking, brewing and travelling to the top wine regions in the world, Brad came to Mclaren Vale for the 2007 vintage.

He quickly realised life was about to change. Not only did he fall in love with the region and its wine, he met his future partner, Nicole Thorpe. Together they have built Omensetter Vineyard in coastal McLaren Vale.

Brash Higgins is the nickname to Brad by his fellow vineyard pruners, in true Australian style, possibly due to his New York persona. It now perfectly reflects his winemaking philosophy.

These tasting notes have been written by Brad himself:


2011 NDV - Amphora Project

Background: grafted to our Omensetter Vineyard in 2009, this first vintage of the drought tolerant Sicilian varietal Nero d’Avola needed all the sun it could get to make it across the line in 2011.  More of a ballerina than a boxer, the transparency of the Nero d’Avola grape was preserved by using gentle, ancient techniques and naturally occurring wild yeasts. Never seeing oak or steel, the BH NDV was fermented and aged on its skins for seven months in locally made 200L bees-wax lined clay amphoras.

Tasting: a glowing, translucent ruby in colour.On the nose, waves of fresh cut lavender, honey, wet stone and orange zest aromas leap out of the glass. Soft and delicate on the palate with an earthy warmth, there is a deep core of bright, sweet cherry fruit that belies the wine’s initial lightness. Good acidity and clarity with firm fruit tannins from extended lees and skin contact, the finish lingers long after the first sip. A gentle-natured newcomer with great purity and potential.

Best served with a light chill. 

Alc 13%

RRP A$37 bottle


2009 ‘SHZ’ Shiraz

Background: only 305 cases of this wine were made from 100% shiraz grown at the Omensetter Vineyard. Vinted from hand selected fruit, the grapes were basket pressed and matured for two years in fine French hogsheads (70% new, 25% two year and 5% one year) before bottling.

Tasting: a luminous aubergine in colour, the nose of the Brash 09 SHZ has black plums, blood orange zest, lavender florals, nutmeg and white pepper, and a sweet earthy note that is typical from the red clays of the vineyard. The palate is generous, well-balanced and smooth, the tannins integrated, and the finish long with complex, interweaving berry and spice notes.

Brash Higgins SHZ 2009 was chosen as part of McLaren Vale Scarce Earth, a project to celebrate single block shiraz from the region, wines which reflect a sense of place and express their true fruit character.

Alc 14.7%

RRP A$37 bottle


2009 ‘CBSV’ Cabernet Sauvignon

Background: like its SHZ sibling, 100% of the fruit for the 2009 CBSV was handpicked at the Omensetter Vineyard. After spending 14 days in open fermenters and being gently hand plunged, the grapes were basket pressed before undergoing malolactic fermentation. The juice was then laid down in French oak hogsheads for 23 months prior to bottling, producing a very limited parcel of 116 cases.

Tasting: the nose is floral, reminiscent of passing a star jasmine vine on a summer's night, with spicy notes of crushed caraway seeds, Earl Grey tea, freshly pressed linen and plump Seattle blackberries lurking underneath. On the palate the wine is smooth and rich with the sweet earthiness of roasted root vegetables, the acidity of cranberry and the dark lusciousness of cassis and black currants; all notes indicative of a warm, dry year. Still,the tannins are layered and finish dry, pulling the tongue in then releasing it with the slingshot effect of entering CBSV hyper-space.

Alc 14.5%

RRP A$37 bottle


2011 GR/M Co-Ferment

Background: small lots of grenache and mataro from two specific sites in McLaren Vale were hand-picked on the same day and co-fermented using wild yeast in an open fermenter. Eight months in four trusty French hogsheads further forged the fine red berry tones of grenache (70%) with the savoury spice of mataro (30%). Bottled unfiltered.

Tasting: a sniff of white pepper from the mataro co-mingles nicely with the lively, red berry and chocolate notes of the grenache. Deceptively rich despite its medium body, the GR/M strikes a perfect counterbalance between the openly fruity nature of grenache and the darker, more brooding grunt of mataro. A tip of the hat to the wines of the Southern Rhone; it’s a little spicy and wild on a warm and supple frame.

Alc 14.5%

RRP A$37 bottle



  • McLaren Vale (SA)

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