McLaren Vale, South Australia Winery
Here’s a funky wine with a new grape variety and style for Brash Higgins that, once again, we made hardly any of. A sparkling co-ferment of Organic Crystal and Chenin Blanc grapes. The future looks pretty good for more, as we are planting another block of Crystal on Omensetter in Spring of 2019.
We sourced the Crystal cuttings originally from a Greek grower in the Vale, Chris Pappas. He brought over a few cuttings of the white grape in his suitcase from his Greek hometown of Zitsa in the 1950’s to make his beloved ouzo here in his new home, McLaren Vale. We drank ouzo with him first in 2007, and many times after that, and it was darn good. The conversation eventually led to asking him for more info on the grapes he used. He said he couldn’t remember what the grapes were called, but would get back to me. His patch of Crystal is planted along his family home’s fence line in Adelaide.
Eight years later, he finally got us a cutting. We sent it to France for DNA testing tout suite, as one does, since they have the largest vinous DNA library in the world. It came back “CRYSTAL”. We cleared it as virus free, then propagated a bunch of cuttings in a garden next to our house. The next Spring we ripped a new vineyard on Omensetter out behind the winery and planted the baby vines in 2016 on their own roots.
The 2018 is the first wine, and it’s a wild, chunky little number. We added about 20 litres of frozen R/SM juice back to the dry, chilled Crystal/Chenin wine in April 2018 to reawaken the yeast and help the wine reignite with carbonation in the bottle. The yeast eat the added sugar in the R/SM juice and naturally create carbon dioxide as a by product. Unfiltered, and we mean it, the wine is cloudy and gently sparkling. On the nose the wine is ALIVE! There’s straw, bread and chenin beer notes; then heaps of juicy, frothy pear notes in the mouth, the wine finishes with some wild honey notes and an apple combo of the sweetness of Golden Delicious contrasted with the tart bite of a Granny Smith. No SO2, so keep it cold, please. Crown Seal. pH 3.3, TA 7.77, Alc 12%, 40 Cases. 2 bottle Maximum.
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