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From what we’ve seen thus far, this is arguably the pinnacle of Australian Nero d’Avola.
It comes from Brash Higgins - the label of winemaking ‘yank’ Brad Hickey. Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s primary grape variety, and its ability to thrive in warm climates makes it well suited to Australia. It’s a variety that is gaining significant attention amongst the wine trade and with enormous potential.
Hickey makes his Nero in a very authentic, Sicilian style - full of spice, tannin and energy. It’s naturally fermented with wild yeasts in a bees-wax lined clay amphora, which was originally carried out in Hickey’s carport! After all, as Hickey hilariously described, “Turns out nobody likes the guy with the claypots in a busy, shared winery.”
It’s a really unique and slightly wild wine this, but one that has become something of a benchmark for the variety.
Absolutely worth trying if you like something a little different!
What It Tastes Like
An entertaining wine to drink this - so different to the standard fare. A really bright and lifted nose of red cherries and berries, mixed spices, and some attractive, candied orange peel and medicinal notes. The palate is fresh, lively and energetic, with juicy red fruits and all kinds of spices washed away by fresh acidity and Nero d’Avola’s notorious tannins. A deliciously, more-ish finish that begs you to follow it down with another glass!
93 points. “Brad Hickey and family have worked some magic with nero d’avola in the past and decided to graft over additional nero to their Omensetter home vineyard. They then ferment the grapes for a whopping 180 days on skins, in amphora. Bright, young things. This is killer booze. Meshes McLaren Vale’s ability to give flavour impact and density with that freshness and lift that seaside wine regions can potentially bring to red wine.
Pure cherry, kirsch, rum ‘n’ raisin ice cream and mottled herbs in perfume. Fleshy, but with fine tannin frills in the palate. Juicy, pretty, gently sweet-fruited with solid dusting of spice. Twists through a corkscrew of refreshment and light tannin to finish. Love.”
- Mike Bennie (The Wine Front)
93 points. “180 days in amphora. Dark ruby red but with lighter edges, this smells alive, bursting with black and red jellybeans, and black and redcurrant. Aromatics? Tick. Lovely fragrance. Blueberries make an entry onto the berry palate, juicy fruit, real energy, and proper tannins. Maybe a little burn to finish? Love the jellybean fruit and sense of energy, without heaviness. Indeed it’s only mid weight. But utterly delicious in a vital and uncompromised way. Delicious and nudging higher if just a bit simple. Lovely wine. More!”
- Andrew Graham (Oz Wine Review)
Grafted to our Omensetter Vineyard in 2009, this fifth vintage of the drought tolerant Sicilian varietal Nero d’Avola was picked at 13.5 Baume in 2015. The transparency of the Nero d’Avola grape was preserved by using gentle, ancient techniques and naturally occurring wild yeasts. Same as the first four vintages, the grapes were destemmed then fermented and aged on skins for six months in locally made 200L bees-wax lined clay amphoras. Continuity in style makes for an interesting look at vintage personality.
“Translucent ruby in colour, with a negroni and amaro-like nose with hints of lavender, nori and stem ginger. Orange peel also present, as is usual, reminiscent of an Old Fashioned cocktail, angostura bitters and all. A pomegranate, bright cherry mid-palate balanced by a refreshing sweet and sour red currant/cranberry acidity. The wine finishes with fine grained, chain link tannins that keep it all taut and exciting.” – Brad Hickey, Vinitor, March 15, 2016
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2023
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.
Australian Nero d’Avola is one of the easiest-drinking red wines you are likely to find. This playful Sicilian variety is typically light to medium bodied, filled with jubey dark fruits and soft, silky tannins. It’s all about juicy drinkability with Nero. Though some cross the boundary into the area of ‘fine wine’, the majority are built to deliver maximum enjoyment as an early drinking style. Perfect for sharing with good friends and good food. The fact that it perfectly suits the Australian climate is just another tick in its box. Nero d’Avola is a variety that will play a big part in the future of Australian wine.
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