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The story of Brad Hickey (AKA Brash Higgins) and his love affair with the Australian wine scene may have panned out very differently had he and partner Nicole not stumbled across the Omensetter Vineyard in 2007. This vineyard is now the base of operations for this adventurous wine label, and also, unsurprisingly the source for their flagship wine. The wine produced from Omensetter in 2012 is a blend of 85% Shiraz and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. It lazed away in French oak for three years prior to bottling and a further two years sleeping in its (seriously heavy duty) bottle prior to general release. This is a tip of the cap to Chris Ringland's influence on Brad, and if you know Ringland's wines, you know where this is going. This is a powerhouse wine. As Mike Bennie put it, "Powerful stuff, well meshed, long and serious feeling. Legacy making stuff." - 94 points. A blockbuster with showstopping presence built for cellaring and special occasions.
What it Tastes Like
"Brooding, dark fruited, intense wine. Old spice cupboard, leather, meat drippings, dark chocolate, dark berry fruit character, warm spice, walnut shell oak character in full flight. Full frontal perfume. Intensity in the palate, charry oak and spice woven through slippery, rich, dark fruit character. Sluice of warm, black fruit, more dark chocolate even into tannin profile, that finishes with graphite intensity. Powerful stuff, well meshed, long and serious feeling. Legacy making stuff." - Mike Bennie (The Wine Front)
94 points. "It’s a blend of 85% shiraz and 15% cabernet sauvignon. The vintage defines when an Omensetter wine is released, but there’s best parcels already identified to make the wine, or watch to make this wine. About a tonne of shiraz is harvested and about half a tonne of cabernet, then they’re blended into puncheons, if the planets align. Inspired partly by Brad Hickey’s time working with Chris Ringland, with an aim to create a ‘tradition’ around the family vineyard. Observed a bottle open day before, and one double decanted in the morning before serving. Dark, dense fruit, oak and power are the totems here. Brooding, dark fruited, intense wine. Old spice cupboard, leather, meat drippings, dark chocolate, dark berry fruit character, warm spice, walnut shell oak character in full flight. Full frontal perfume. Intensity in the palate, charry oak and spice woven through slippery, rich, dark fruit character. Sluice of warm, black fruit, more dark chocolate even into tannin profile, that finishes with graphite intensity. Powerful stuff, well meshed, long and serious feeling. Legacy making stuff." - Mike Bennie (The Wine Front)
Brash Higgins’ 2012 Omensetter is 100% made from fruit grown at the BH Omensetter estate vineyard. The site owes its name to the eponymous hero of the William H. Gass novel “Omensetter’s Luck”. Ever since Brash Higgins’ founder Brad Hickey first laid eyes on the site in 2007, he has dreamed of capturing its promise of goodness in a select blend of grapes. 85% Shiraz and 15% Cabernet, 2012 Omensetter was aged over three years in two new 500L French Ermitage puncheons, before being allowed to mellow in bottle for a further two and a half years. The tradition of extended barrel and bottle ageing represents a stylistic tangent from the progressive wines for which Brash Higgins has become renowned, but imposed itself as the only approach for this grand, time-honoured Australian style of wine. Brad Hickey remarks, “We are not the first to do extended barrel and bottle ageing—on the contrary—but it’s a first for Brash Higgins, and that is why we’re so excited now that it’s ready to drink.” To complement the traditional technique, Brad chose a chunky 1859 Burgundy bottle with art deco design as the perfect home for 2012 Omensetter. He then handpicked each premium cork (using dry soak analysis) to guarantee a clean seal. “It’s an attention to detail,” he says, “and well worth sniffing 1,200 corks for my peace of mind.” On the tasting bench, the distinctive blood orange flavour profile of the shiraz together with the black tea and ferrous notes of the cabernet make perfect sense and taste sensational. ‘Think wicked notes of aged beef, fresh beef blood, charcoal embers, creosote, cloves, sweet cherries, dungeons, and a brooding intensity, yet still youthful and energetic—stuff that challenges the grey matter between my ears,” says Brad. A modern addition to a proud tradition, 2012 Omensetter will leave a legacy all of its own. The Brash Higgins team has plans to create new interpretations for 2015 and 2016. There’s not a lot of wine here to last very long.
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2027
About the Producer
Brash Higgins is the label of winemaking ‘yank’ Brad Hickey. With a background as one of America’s top sommeliers, Hickey came to Australia and fell in love with McLaren Vale and local vigneron Nicole Thorpe, with whom he now produces highly characterful, minimalist wines from their much-loved Omensetter vineyard. Wildly original and top quality stuff!
The South Australian region of McLaren Vale is famous for its powerful red wines. Shiraz and Grenache have thrived for years in the Vale’s sandy soils. Nowadays, the region’s varietal diversity has majorly increased, the coastal location and warm climate proving perfect for a new wave of varieties from Italy, Spain and Portugal. The success of varieties such as Nero d’Avola, Tempranillo, Touriga Nacional, and Fiano has transformed McLaren Vale into one of the country’s most vibrant wine scenes. It’s where tradition meets innovation and it is producing some of the Australia’s finest wines.
Long held up to the rest of the world as Australia’s flagship red variety, the mighty Australian Shiraz has undergone something of a renaissance over the past two decades. While our robust styles of Shiraz from powerhouse South Australian regions such as the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale may have put Australian wine on the map, Shiraz from our cooler regions are giving the variety a new look. Wines from Canberra, all parts of Victoria, the Adelaide Hills, and the Great Southern, are all delivering wines of finesse and spice set to a lighter framework. The tapestry of Australian Shiraz is richly diverse, and will only continue to develop and mature into the future.
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