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Brad Hickey’s love for the weird and wonderful in the world of wine seems to know no bounds. And his ‘ZBO’ (Zibibbo Amphora) is as weird and wonderful as they come.
For those unfamiliar with Zibibbo, it is an ancient member of the muscat family, originating in the Mediterranean which has found a new home in South Australia. The fruit for this is sourced from Ricca Terra Farms in the warm and sunny Riverland.
But what really distinguishes this wine is the winemaking behind it: the giant golf ball sized berries are hand-picked and destemmed into 200l clay amphorae eggs where the wine sits on skins for 6 months.
It’s a cloudy, unique wine, but incredibly well executed. Mike Bennie gave the 2016 vintage a great write-up calling it, “This is the best yet, and then some.” in his 94 point review. And he’s dead right, Brad picked a little earlier this year so it’s a little tighter than past releases but no less interesting.
Interesting and delicious, that’s this ‘ZBO’.
What It Tastes Like
“Really spicy scents, ground ginger, cumin, lemongrass, shows a sniff of apricot, fruit juice box tropical fruit, mixed peel. It’s overt, pretty and dense. Does a lot. Slips into the palate, comfort, refreshment, crisp acidity, light apricot nectar, pepper, green herbs finishes pithy. It’s explosive then contained. So much going on. Compelling drinking.” - Mike Bennie (The Wine Front)
94 points. “Really spicy scents, ground ginger, cumin, lemongrass, shows a sniff of apricot, fruit juice box tropical fruit, mixed peel. It’s overt, pretty and dense. Does a lot. Slips into the palate, comfort, refreshment, crisp acidity, light apricot nectar, pepper, green herbs finishes pithy. It’s explosive then contained. So much going on. Compelling drinking.”
- Mike Bennie (The Wine Front)
From fruit grown at Ricca Terra Farms in the sunny Riverland, the varietal was chosen for its potential to develop length and complexity from longer skin contact, the wine is fruity yet bone dry; reminiscent of something from Alice in Wonderland, where things aren’t always as they seem.
Hand picked, the golf ball sized, bronze fruit was destemmed into waiting terracotta amphorae. A wild ferment ensued with the caps hand plunged twice daily until the ferment finished and the skins sank into the wine. The skins, seeds and juice remained covered in situ for six months. A natural FLOR layer of yeast volunteers itself and covers and helps protect the wine. The ‘free run’ was siphoned off in spring and combined with the pressings. The wine settles before being racked and sent to bottle unfiltered and unfined.
Closure: Screw Cap
Bottle Size: 750ml
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 sky is the limit for the new look Riverlands. Known historically as a place for producing bulk wine grapes, there is plenty of exploration happening in this region. It is the ideal place to trial new varieties for the country, the warm dry climate suiting many Mediterranean varieties to a tee.
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