2013 Brash Higgins NDV Nero D’Avola

imageBrad Hickey has captured the public’s imagination with his Brash Higgins label over a very short span of time. This was on skins for 180 days and spent six months in wax-lined amphora. It’s a shame there isn’t more research into the effects of such clay vessels on the wine. Obviously you’re going to avoid oak derived flavours and tannins but exactly how the amphora contributes to texture and profile remains a matter of speculation.

A primacy of sweet grapey-ness, cherries, berries and craisins but there’s an array of other traits besides. Slightly pulpy mouthfeel underpinned by bright acidity and toothsome grape skin tannin. Intense Frangelico and chicory based coffee substitute characters enhance the complexity. Spicy too. Interest and drinkability aplenty. 92

Region: McLaren Vale
Alcohol: 14.0%
Closure: Screwcap
Price: $42
Tasted: May 2014


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8 Responses to 2013 Brash Higgins NDV Nero D’Avola

  1. Stu says:

    To my mind, of those that have adopted the use of clay vessels for the purpose of fermentation, it would be this label that has at least done it with a respectful nod to historical use.

    In that, I mean that the wines of Sicily – and COS as a producer – seem to be a direct influence on the producer and this wine (and I acknowledge that COS themselves are relatively recent additions to the winemaking scene). Just my two penneth.

  2. Yes. A bit trendy and a bit of marketing crap perhaps leading some to use clay. Brad’s wines are very tasty. And I think you’re right, I don’t think he’s in to marketing crap – he’s into quality producers and their methods..

  3. I really like Brad’s wines too. Good to see experimentation and exploration in winemaking, especially when the end result is successful. If the techniques help sell the wine then that can only be a positive result for the label. I’m just a curious soul and had searched for scientific papers on amphora/clay and sensory perception of wines. Unsurprisingly I couldn’t find anything but would love to discover more at some stage.

  4. Philip White says:

    The potter John Ullinger, who’s trialling amphorae made from the individual clays on Yangarra, seems likely to have secured the funding for a PhD to investigate these matters, which will be good.

  5. Thanks Philip; that would be eye-opening for people of my persuasion. My understanding is that most consumers don’t care that much but – as I’m sure you know – this site is as much about my interests, exploration and opinion as it is about the (highly appreciated and hopefully encouraged) input of readers. Great to hear John has secured funding and I await any results from that research eagerly.

    • Philip WHITE says:

      The money’s not quite secure [yet], but the clay experts in the geology world are keen to investigate the cation exchange between clays of varying compositions and wines of varying types. Suspicions are focusing on the role of iron in this mystifying chemistry. In our so-far strictly unscientific investigations, it seems the clays of the highest Fe content tend to stifle aromas and flavours like sappy Quercus alba when such wines are served in stoneware-baked cups. The actual fermentation results are still mystifying, if highly exciting. I’m very keen to see some of this science uncovered. It’s very cool that John has decided to investigate all this with some acuity. I’ll keep reporting on this as it unwinds.

      • knoxinus says:

        Yes well I would highly doubt that the CSIRO or AWRI has any money left to do any reserach into anything anymore. Is it Roseworthy thats funding?

  6. This arrived in my inbox today -

    “2013 CellarFoot
    The Underwater Wine

    The Under Water wine is a very special project, aged underwater in seasoned French oak barrels for 12 months, made from a blend of Pinotage, Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvedre.
    Being underwater there is no loss of wine through evaporation which gives the wine an incredible purity and subtlty and a super-fine mouthfeel.
    Rare and delicious.
    Andrew Guard
    - Andrew Guard Imports”

    Interesting to note how the “incredible purity and subtlty(sic)” and “super-fine mouthfeel” can be so confidently attributed to ageing the wine underwater. Anyway, at least it is “rare and delicious”. Much how I like my steaks but more authentic no doubt.

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