Brash Higgins | McLaren Vale
Brad Hickey is the winemaker and journeyman behind the Brash Higgins label, with the help of his partner in life, vigneron Nicole Thorpe. Brad is a Chicago native that has ticked off more than most in the food and wine industries over the past 20 years. He’s worked restaurants and vineyards in France as a youngster, brewed beer and baked bread in Portland, Oregon and then in New York, he was the first US sommelier to work under French culinary genius Daniel Boulud, at Cafe Boulud, and then to the role of wine director for four years at world renowned chef David Bouley’s duo of two Michelin-starred restaurants, Bouley and Danube.
Brad then broke with the hustle and bustle of the New York fine dining scene and hit the road to understand, from the ground up, the enigma behind the bottles which reach the table. Now under the Brash Higgins label he crafts wine from the estate owned and organically farmed (in conversion to certification) Omensetter Vineyard, planted in 1997, in the southern half of McLaren Vale overlooking the Wullunga Foothills.
Brash Higgins puts a rustic, old world spin on the famous McLaren Vale varieties Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, both grown on the Omensetter vineyard. A trip to Sicily inspired Brad to graft 1 hectare of Shiraz vines over to Nero d’Avola. Growing on the Sicilian influence, Brad naturally ferments the Nero d’Avola in locally produced Amphora vessels and lets them interact with the skins for 6 months. Brad also produces an enticing Grenache Mataro co ferment from a biodynamically farmed vineyard in the sandier soils of Blewitt Springs in the Northern part of McLaren Vale (heading toward the Adelaide Hills).
There is a consistent thread of long ferments and extended macerations through the Brash Higgins wines, whilst if oak is used, it is generally old. This lends great mouthfuls of long, ripe and integrated tannin, open perfumes, and savoury/ umami/ herbal qualities through all the reds. Brash Higgins believes in natural ferments, leaves the wines unfiltered and includes only the lightest touch of sulphur to allow for safe export travel.