2023 Brash Higgins RIPPLE Nero Cabernet

A deep and juicy red blend of Nero d'Avola and Cabernet Sauvignon, from the creative mind of Brad Hickey. Only a limited amount made...

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Brash Higgins came up with this wine after one of his fellow winemakers suggested he take whole bunch Nero d'Avola, flood it with Cabernet Sauvignon juice and let the concoction ferment.

He was both intrigued and haunted by this idea - so, a couple of years later, he gave it a go and the RIPPLE was born.

It's a mouthwateringly juicy wine that's truly delightful to drink, and the smash factor is dialled way, way up. Only a small amount was produced, so don't hesitate and get your hands on one tout de suit...

There’s a story behind this wine, our first foray into semi-legit carbonic maceration. A fellow winemaker, Tom Colman, pulled me aside after a long consumer tasting in Sydney and said, “Brash, you should pick some whole bunch Nero d’Avola and flood it with direct pressed Cab juice and let it ferment”. I was intrigued and it haunted me. Why was I the one to which he chose to speak these mysterious words?

Two years later in 2020 we gave it a go. This wine, the 2023, is made from freshly picked, whole bunch Nero d’Avola grapes which were engulfed with direct pressed Cabernet Sauvignon, as fortold. All the Cab juice covered the Nero grapes and their stems, submerging the clusters completely. The idea is that the sugar in the Nero berries, starved of oxygen, will ferment inside their little berry bodies and create a lighter, slightly confectionary flavour profile. My trusty pal, Q Wine from Queensland, who worked harvest with me in 2020, said it smelled like ripple ice cream, which is boysenberry vanilla swirl, and we were off! And then there’s the great song “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead. And then there’s also the wine from the 70’s in the US called Ripple which was, well, meant for the youth of America, believe it or not. But perhaps it’s the idea of ripples themselves, waves of ideas forever radiating outwards…cause and effect into eternity… All the fruit for the ensuing wine was handpicked off our organic Omensetter Estate Vineyard.

“Translucent garnet hue with a nose redolent of blueberries and candied wild strawberries with a touch of fresh mint, or, as wine scribe Ned Goodwin MW puts it, the “verdant echo”. On the palate bright and juicy with powdery red fruits and enough tannin and acidity to pull and keep it all taut.” Brad Hickey, Vinitor, Sept 1, 2023

Additional Information:
Harvest: Feb 25, 2023
Vineyard: Omensetter Vineyard, Certified Organic
Grower: Brash Higgins
Planted: Nero d’Avola 2013, Cabernet 1997
Soil Type: Ngaltinga Formation; Red Clay Over Limestone
Viticulture: Organic Certified
Fermenter Type: Half Ton Nally Bin
Maceration: one week semi carbonic
Primary Fermentation: 12 days
Barrel: Ten Year Old French puncheon
Time in Barrel: 6 months
Bottled: September 29, 2023
Blend: 50% Nero, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon
Filtration: Coarse
Closure: Stelvin screwcap
pH 3.3, TA 6.5 g/l, ALC 12.9%

Brash Higgins

Brash Higgins is the label of winemaking American-turned-honorary-Aussie, Brad Hickey.

In his former life, Hickey was one of America's top sommeliers, working for many years crafting some of New York's finest wine lists. He 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.

Hickey's wines are extremely expressive. They fall in two camps - the wines sourced from Omensetter vineyard and those sourced from friends around the Vale and the warm, dry Riverlands.

Brad Hickey AKA Brash Higgins - McLaren Vale, SA Brash Higgins

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