Hero grape varieties in South Australia’s McLaren Vale wine region are currently undergoing a big shake up. Traditionally, over half the crush is chalked up to Shiraz, with about the next twenty percent going to (believe it or not) Cabernet Sauvignon. With scores of Italian varietals popping up on tasting lists across the Vale of late, it’s a welcome sight to see Brash Higgins (worldly vagabond-come-sommelier-turned-winemaker Brad Hickey) producing a single vineyard Cabernet Franc, born of the cracking black clays so readily ripped out by other producers.
Brad has been getting quite a following recently, he’s hard to pin down with a busy schedule spruiking his wines across the globe, and keeping tight reign on all things Higgins. It’s easy to see why the all the hype.
Straight out of the bottle you just know this is going to be serious juice – sitting rich violet in the glass it sings ‘originality’.
It’s huge on the nose with lavender, roasted green capsicum, forest floor, white pepper, caramel, cedarwood, and swathes more bombarding your senses. It’s an all out assault, with dark cherries and mulberries hiding behind all this business, just letting you know that this wine isn’t just going to be all talk.
As you’d expect it’s a medium bodied wine, with a backbone of juicy cherries and a bit of dark chocolate supporting of all kinds of earthy savouriness. As the complex melee of savouriness settles down, the wine continues to be held up with light satiny tannins and ends with floral aromas of lavender, rose, and violets. You just want to keep drinking this gorgeous wine, but it could easily develop with careful cellaring over the next five to ten years.
FOOD: Greek Lamb souvlaki loaded with fresh thyme, paired with green capsicum and red onions charred over hot coals alongside the souvlaki. Throw in a greek salad dressed with char-grilled lemon and oregano if you’re so inclined.
MUSIC: PARADES – Loserspeak in New Tongue: complex, layered, feminine, bold without screaming, contemplative yet all-round fun
About the author:
Matthew Kurko is a WSET trained wine lover and passionate tour guide in the Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, and Barossa Valley wine regions. He owns and operates boutique wine tour business Small Batch Wine Tours.
To visit the regions and find out more about the hidden gems of South Australia’s premier wines:
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