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FROM BRASH BEGINNINGS TO FINE WINES

by / Comments Off on FROM BRASH BEGINNINGS TO FINE WINES / 11 View / May 31, 2021

Brash Road Vineyards continue their soaring success story

“The altitude of vineyard is what we believe is a key factor in the quality of fruit. While the vines are high on the ridge they are surrounded by Jarrah, Marri and State forest forming a huge natural wind break in times of severe wind.”

MIKE ZEKULICH

ONE of Margaret River’s newer labels is rapidly building a quality name for itself. Called the Brash Road Vineyard taken from a road adjacent to their 50hectare property, principals – Chris and Anne Carter –have won numerous awards including a host of four- and five-star entries in judging for Winestate in little more than a decade.
The couple are both from non fine wine backgrounds but that has done little to impede their progress. In addition, the quality wines they produce can be found under other high-profile labels which have made a significant positive impact to their business bottom line.
A subtle change to its bottle label has seen it become the Brash Road Vineyard instead of the previously branded Brash Vineyard.
Chris Carter says the reasoning was to avoid the constant question ‘why Brash?’ as the new label is self-explanatory, “the text deals with the vineyard; the wine and other significant label matters based on what others are telling us constantly. It appears our Brash Road Vineyard is considered to be in the top 10-20% of vineyards in Margaret River – a claim which is supported by our grape grading where we are receiving the highest ‘A’ on our cabernet, shiraz, malbec and chardonnay,” Chris said.
“This is due to the climate, which we all benefit from, but our position is high on the Naturalist Ridge creating a further level of micro-climate that generates beautiful cool nights balancing the warm temperate days. If there is a breeze, we will get it no matter what the direction.
“The altitude of vineyard is what we believe is a key factor in the quality of fruit. While the vines are high on the ridge they are surrounded by Jarrah, Marri and State forest forming a huge natural wind break in times of severe wind.”
Chris said textbook soil profiles are a perfect combination of gravel and loam over deep clay. “While we aren’t in Wilyabrup, we have strong sections of Wilyabrup soils featuring throughout the property. These gravel/loam soils result in grapes growing in what is a virtual hydroponic environment.
“Block selection has been a 20-year labour of love (and money),” Chris elaborated. “Over the two decades, we have planted, replanted and grafted to the stage where we now have each variety growing in its perfect property location.
“Shiraz is planted on a south facing slope, at the bottom of that slope. A beautifully protected environment from vine rows that were several metres wider than normal has allowed extra sunlight to penetrate the canopy because of the southern aspect.
“The original chardonnay block was pulled out in 2005 and replanted to Houghton Clone Cabernet. This was because the early flowering nature of chardonnay saw the flowers exposed to early spring winds and storms. The cabernet vines flower several weeks after that and the change of block has provided us with a cabernet super-block which produced the Brash Road Vineyard Cabernets.
“Chardonnay was replanted at a higher altitude in a near-perfect amphitheatre of jarrah and marri trees, providing all the protection it needs. Merlot was grafted over to cabernet in recent years as we simply did not get a good yield from merlot vines and there is a very small market for merlot.”
Chris says professional input over the entire life of the vineyard has been the responsibility of highly respected viticulturist Andy Ferreira acting as Brash’s viticulturist. It has been his observations and advice that has driven them to become a premier Margaret River vineyard. “Whether it be large changes such as change of block sites through to minor changes that saw us dropping flowers in 2015 to balance a forecast reduced canopy – his input has been invaluable,” remarked Chris.

THE WINES
TWO leaders have been the 2018 Shiraz and the cabernet of the same vintage – both five stars Winestate winners and top or equal top in their category. The 2019 Chardonnay received four stars but also won Gold at the Margaret River Wine Show while the 2019 Shiraz also received four-stars as a very young wine.
Brash’s cabernet history has also been well received since its first vintage in 2013.
As well the Brash Sauvignon Blanc is now recognised in the top 5 SB’s coming out of WA and even from Australia. It has won trophies at Royal Sydney, Royal Perth and WA Wine Shows but was not shown this year because it was sold out.
The cabernets and shiraz wines are both blessed with 16 months on new and used French oak in their making and are totally varietal from 100% single Brash Road Vineyard. Keeping a sharp eye on these styles as they mature is winemaker Bruce Dukes.
His comment: “The fruit delivered was so good it is merely nursed through a proven process each year with minimal intervention”. Chris concluded that Brash only makes 1250 cases a year representing 10% of what it grows. Each year, they take fruit from the same identified vineyard rows, avoiding chopping and changing to ensure their wines are truly a reflection of picking time and source.
In short, the Brash Road Vineyard can be summed up as a small boutique producer creating super-premium wines at Margaret River in very small quantities. The wines are the product of a very special site that has been refined over the past 20 years to be now producing at its peak. They are wines for the ages that will reward any good cellar.