Mike Bennie, esteemed wine writer for The Wine Front, recently took a look at the new Brash whites for 2016 in Sydney and liked what he tasted. All four releases received 91 or higher points, with the R/SM riesling/semillon and ZBO zibibbo scoring 93+ and 94 respectively, both new highs for the wines. Here are the full reviews published last week:
2016 ZBO, Zibibbo, Riverland. Zibibbo from Ricca Terra Farms, the only wine Brad Hickey strays away from McLaren Vale for. Now in its fourth vintage. Doing interesting things with this variety. Picked a little earlier than past versions. Spends about six months on skins in amphora. This is the best yet, and then some.
Really spicy scents, ground ginger, cumin, lemongrass, shows a sniff of apricot, fruit juice box tropical fruit, mixed peel. It’s overt, pretty and dense. Does a lot. Slips into the palate, comfort, refreshment, crisp acidity, light apricot nectar, pepper, green herbs finishes pithy. It’s explosive then contained. So much going on. Compelling drinking. 94
2016 R/SM, Riesling/Semillon, McLaren Vale. A bigger crop of semillon in the 2016, co-fermented with riesling, actually from a field and is called Field Blend on bottle. From a dry grown vineyard on the fringe of Blewitt Springs on the border of the Adelaide Hills, pretty much the vineyard that finishes McLaren Vale. “This is the margarita for us”, quips Brad Hickey.
Beautiful perfume of lemon/lime, sea spray, just cracked honeycomb, ripe apple. Lots going on. Palate is stunning – hooked me with its oyster-milk-creamy texture and a bristle of crackling, green lime acidity underlying. Super length, super complexity, super delicious. Complex, stunning white. Belter. 93+
2016 CHN, Chenin Blanc, McLaren Vale. Same vineyard as the 2015, the Willamba Hill Vineyard. Just across the road from Woodstock winery in Blewitt Springs. Couple of days skin contact then pressed to older barrels. Goes wild in ferment then left on lees and then racked to bottle. Chenin blanc. On your marks.
Nails the brief. Smells like Real Lemonade with a splash of ginger and kombucha (straight tea). Like the palate; trim, tight. Feels juicy with crisp shell, very long in flavour, refreshing. Finishes with a brisk white balsamic lift, but that’s cool, fresh in its way. Lemon/lime tang and tonic water. Dig. 91+
2016 NYMPH, White Blend, McLaren Vale. A blend of chenin, semillon, viognier and riesling. Co-fermented. Comes from a couple of vineyards. Three to four days on skins. Hung out in tank. New wine from Brad Hickey. “I wanted to make a white blend from the Vale, it feels like there are a lot of white grapes that were being under-utilised, so I thought it would be fun to bring this together”, says winemaker Hickey.
Lifted perfume of preserved lemon, ginger, farmhouse cider, pith and peel, frangipani floral character. Jostles in the palate with chalky texture, bright citrusy tang, lanolin and herbs/ferns. It’s in that light and spritely delicious zone of no thinking, but hey, there’s a wild character that keeps you eyeing off the glass. 91