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The Brash Higgins Story

I am a firm believer that you are a sum of all parts and that the most interesting and considered people are those who have chosen a particular path not as a compromise but due to a passion and drive that has continued to evolve time. Brad Hickey from Brash Higgins is certainly one of these people.

Brad's biography is driven by food and wine, as the story goes Brad's formal qualification was in English Literature and Botany, however the lure of overseas adventure took him away from his hometown of Chicago and to the streets of France where it was more about béarnaise and burgundy. Brad needed to find a way to fund his growing obsession with work in restaurants and vineyards serving this purpose. When Brad returned home artisan pleasures of brewing and baking sat alongside landscape design, however it was the decision to move to New York when all things wine really took off.

It was initially food writing that Brad focused on in the big apple, however it wasn't long before his focus shifted to the creation of restaurant wine lists. Over the period of 10 years Brad become one of the most sought after Somelliers in New York, holding the title of wine director at both of David Bouley's two Michellin star restaurants for four years. Over time Brad looked to be more involved in wine creation, than consumption and in 2007 at the invitation of Chris Ringland worked his first Australian vintage. The rest is history with Brad given the nickname of Brash Higgins by his new aussie mates, he fell for a local McLaren vale girl, and started making some great wine.

Brad has a traditional yet unorthodox approach to winemaking, as an example he has planted a block of his Omensetter vineyard to Nero d'Avola which as a variety is only just starting to gain some prominence in Australia. The vinification process at COS and Occhipinti in Sicily involves the use of clay amphora's, as the first vintage approached Brad commissioned the creation of his own amphora's from a local potter, made from clay near identical to that found in his vineyard. The wine making process that followed seemed more like a one pot meal with grapes fermented and bucketed into the amphora, skins and all for 7 months, it is this somewhat traditional yet unorthodox approach to Australian norms that sets Brash Higgins apart.

Brad also does co-fermentation with red varieties when possible, believing you get a different flavour profile when compared to blending finished wines, but my favourite approach is the wonderfully generous fortified Grenache that i was fortunate enough to taste recently. It is not surprising that Brad has connections in the food and beverage industry, however how he managed to get a couple of 25 year old Macallan barrels beguiles belief, and what he did with them was even better.

As i wrote this article Brad's story resonated with me, to get true enjoyment you have to immerse yourself in what you love, make some smart decisions, retain your passion and see where it can take you. Brad is only a few vintages in, but given the quality of the releases thus far and his innovative and explorative approach to winemaking i look forward to following Brash Higgins direction and future accolades.

For more information on Brash Higgins you can go to the website

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