BLOOM: Umami Dynamo Set Loose


Recently our “new” oxidative white wine, “BLOOM”, was reviewed by wine writer Dave Brookes in The Adelaide Review and also had some nice comments from Mike BennieNick Stock and Max Allen. The wine’s rich and savoury personality developed from 8 years in barrel has raised a few eyebrows since its May release. Only 35 cases means there’s not a much to go around, but it is the first in a series of wines we will release in the years to come.

Mike Bennie:
“Bronze, golden colour. Smells fantastic, of amontillado, sea spray, cashew, toffee apples, caramelised nuts. Palate is thick set, rich, but lifts on saline acidity and has a Fino sherry-like liveliness and tang to it. Distraction comes in the finish as it closes with soapy, sudsy characters and something akin to overripe fruit or similar. It’s great up to the close. It’s got lots of mojo, feels character-filled, and if your bottle is better and colder, maybe righteous. Kudos for the attempt here.”

Nick Stock:
“Bloom or should I say .. BOOM! Brad Hickey has nailed this Jura-inspired 2008 Chardonnay aged under flor and delivered 8 years later as a nutty, precise and rich, texturally complex beauty. Props indeed!”

Max Allen:
“2008 Chardonnay, aged under flor for 8 years. Gorgeously tangy, nutty, rich yet light footed.”

Click HERE for the link to Dave Brooke’s review.
Or read it here:

Wine ReviewBrash Higgins Blooms An Umami Chardonnay by Dave Brookes

Umami is a lovely thing. It can be a subtle sensation, a gentle, sapid, savoury ache that washes over the taste buds and gets the saliva working overtime, noticeable in many foods such as Parmesan cheese, truffles, tomatoes, kombu, dashi, soy sauce and aged beef.

Certain wines also display umami, skin– contact whites immediately come to mind, but it is probably most noticeable in wines that have seen some degree of oxidation… think sherry and some of the sous–voile wines of the Jura and you are in that space. Sous–voile, meaning under the veil, is one of those annoyingly sexy turns of phrase that the French seem very good at.

The veil, in this case refers to the thin, diaphanous ‘flor’ of yeast that settles on the surface of wines that are kept in ullaged barrels. It allows the wine to oxidise gently over time, not too much though, resulting in wines that display complex, nutty characters and a definite umami–ness.

While other Australian producers have noodled around with oxidation in wines, ex–New York City sommelier and now McLaren Vale winemaker Brad Hickey has taken us closest to those famous wine styles of Eastern France with the release of his 2008 Brash Higgins Bloom Chardonnay that spends a total of eight years sous–voile.

Deeply coloured and endlessly complex, it is nutty and gushes with umami characters, savoury and mouth–filling with flavours and aromas of grilled nuts, shitake mushrooms, amontillado sherry notes, oyster shell and broth.

It is perhaps a little heavier–set than its European counterparts and, as such, is perfect chilled as an aperitif or to finish a meal. A glass of this and a few slices of comté and you are in the zone.