“The 2017s are all really finely tuned. It’s was the first year where I think there is a real thread throughout all the wines. They all show off this orange peel, Italian amaro element, and I love that.” - Brad Hickey, Vintner
The new suite of 2017 releases from Brad and Nicole Hickey are in and humming. There’s a lightness and a buoyancy to the releases this year, as much a product of the vintage as the product of a maturing producer.
Brash Higgins Release
Also new this year is Brad and Nicole’s first Rose release. The Nymph has had a facelift and looks better than ever. This is young vine Cinsault and Carignan from a neighbouring vineyard in the Vale, picked as whole clusters and pressed stems and all. There’s great interplay between the sweet, bitter and savoury elements of the Rose. The kind of Rose that tugs you back toward the glass. Impossibly drinkable stuff.
And gladly, the 2017 edition of our old favourites from Brash’s harem sees some in the form of their life.
Brad described the 2017 FRNC as “Very Loire valley in style this year, more finely-etched than the ‘16 and a lither expression of the variety.” The pep is definitely still in the step of this oh-so-smashable version of a Bordeaux variety.
R/SM has a little more SM (Semillon) than usual which lends a little more weight to the wine on release. But fear not, it’s still the wine equivalent of a Margarita, all salty, slatey limes and lemons. Thirst-crushing to the max.
With 2017 ZBO, Brad confidently states this is his favourite release to date. The wildness and exotica of the variety tamed just enough for you to almost describe it as elegant. Almost. It’s still got that terrific raw edge which has made it such a compelling wine in the past. This year it’s maybe just a little more grown up.
And finally the release of the 2016 SHZ - a wine that makes Hickey’s face beam. “I’m really proud of this wine,” he says, “It’s the first year where it feels like it fits with the rest of the range.” And he’s right. The Omensetter vineyard which produced this wine became certified organic in 2016, the shift in viticultural practice clearly paying dividends in this release. It’s an a-typical McLaren Vale Shiraz and all the better for it. Plums? Yes. Smokey, spicy, meaty bits? Yes. A twist of orange peel? Well, actually, Yes!
It’s arguably the most refined release from the Brash Higgins house to date. These wines are built for drinking now. Get yourself a few bottles and get stuck in. Brad and Nicole’s offerings are something unique amongst McLaren Vale producers. The wines always dance to their own drum beat, and this year, they are right in step.