The journey to Brash Higgins is an interesting one, and if not for all the twists and turns we doubt we’d have such compelling wines to offer today. Brad Hickey is the winemaker and journeyman behind the label, with the help of his partner in life, vigneron Nicole Thorpe. Brad is a Chicago native that has ticked off more than most in the food and wine industries over the past 20 years. He’s worked restaurants and vineyards in France as a youngster, brewed beer and baked bread in Portland and directed world class wine programs for two of New York’s most recognized chefs.
Now under the Brash Higgins label he crafts wine from the estate owned and organically farmed (in conversion to certification) Omensetter Vineyard, planted in 1997, in the southern half of McLaren Vale overlooking the Wullunga Foothills. This part of McLaren Vale sits on red-brown clay and limestone soils with healthy drainage.
Brash Higgins puts a rustic, old world spin on the famous McLaren Vale varieties Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, both off the Omensetter site. After a visit to Sicily and recognizing similarities in the climate and terroir, Brad was inspired to graft 1 hectare of Shiraz vines over to Nero d’Avola. Growing on the Sicilian influence, Brad naturally ferments the Nero d’Avola in locally produced Amphora vessels and lets them interact with the skins for 6 months. Brad also produces an enticing Grenache Mataro co-ferment from a biodynamically farmed vineyard in the sandier soils of Blewitt Springs in the Northern part of McLaren Vale (heading toward the Adelaide Hills).
There is a consistent thread of long ferments and extended macerations through the Brash Higgins wines, whilst if oak is used, it is generally old. This lends great mouthfuls of long, ripe and integrated tannin, open perfumes, and savoury/ umami/ herbal qualities through all the reds. Brash Higgins believes in natural ferments, leaves the wines unfiltered and includes only the lightest touch of sulfur to allow for safe travel across the equator.