Brash Higgins MRLO 2014
Brash Higgins (Brad Hickey) is clearly no fan of vowels. He’s a generous man, so that really surprises me.
Then again, who need vowels anyway, eh?
Now, this Merlot – it’s good. Real good. It’s a wine that makes you question why more McLaren Vale Merlot doesn’t perform better in the Vale. Actually, I can’t even think of many other serious straight McLaren Vale Merlots anyway (though Tatachilla used to have a stab at it, and Primo do a good job with their Merlesco). But in a region where Shiraz dominates, Mediterranean varietals are the new normal and Grenache/Mataro are on the comeback, Merlot seems like an afterthought.
Further muddying the waters is the identity crisis of Australian Merlot. Suffering under a perceived lack of good clones, and a general notion that all Merlot should be soft and sweet, has led to old Merlot ending up as some sort of confused eunuch. A naked, confused eunuch.
Anyway, enough Merlot rant, back to this red…
Sourced from the Lennon vineyard, just down the road from Fox Creek (who also took/take Merlot seriously) planted in 1994. Grapes are handpicked, fermented in amphora, pressed off after 6 weeks, settled and then returned to amphora for another 6 months. 10% Nero d’Avola is finally added ‘for nerve and a lick of acidity’. Just 55 produced.
Deep red in colour with just a slight tint of red purple, this is alive from first whiff. Juicy, but winey, Chunky with blackberry and black jelly beans. Full and Inviting and wonderful. There’s an interesting suggestion of oak richness, but I think that is more just a varietal thing. Underneath, more black and purple jelly beans and fruit. Real, grapey fruit plushness, the Nero giving that blackberry flick, the freshness to finish oh-so welcome, the alcohol never intruding,
This is what you’ve always wanted an Australian Merlot to taste like. Maybe just a little tarry and simple but good lord this Brash Higgins MRLO 2014 is enjoyable.
Details: 14.5%, Screwcap, $37
Tasted: May 2015 (sample)
Best drinking: 2015-2025
Score: 18.5/20, 94/100
Would I buy it? Yes. Absolutely.
Buy online: Brash Higgins website