| Tim Mcphee
One of the Hunter’s youngest emerging winemakers and longtime Abicus customer ( and avid vinyl collector!) Angus Vinden of Headcase Wines, caught up with Tim to talk about the process, inspiration, music and Australian wine culture!
How and when did your love affair with winemaking begin?
My earliest memories are helping Dad after school; putting vine-guards on young vines and digging out concrete fermenters. My parents encouraged me to follow a different career path, completing 6 years of architectural study at University; it was a spur of the moment trip to Beaujolais and Burgundy 6 years ago that set me on my current path.
After drinking one or three too many bottles of Grand Cru Corton Bressandes, I called my parents at 3 am and told them I was coming home to pursue winemaking, and it has grown from there... The Vinden Headcase was established in 2015. The goal was to create great wines, which are as fun and distinctive to drink, as they were to make. The range focuses on producing delicious, unique, progressive styles that both respect and challenge the traditional regionality of the Hunter Valley.
As such a long-form discipline, with the elements playing an immeasurably significant influence on the end result... how do you approach improvising your plan when Mother Nature plays an unexpected card?
I think simply it comes back to being flexible, every vintage I begin conceptually with an idea of the wines and styles I would like to produce. You must be adaptable, my first experiments came from a cooler vintage where I was not able to produce the wines I had conceptualised. From there new concepts were born, the Nouveau Shiraz was…a lighter fun ‘session’ wine. It was fermented with more whole bunches, at cooler temperatures and aged for a shorter maturation in barrel. What resulted was not a traditional shiraz; a young light refreshing style which could be served chilled.
Describe the perfect setting to explore a bottle of Headcase?
I don’t think there is a perfect setting to drink a Headcase wine. Rather, that wine should be shared in a context that is about good food, wine, music, company and conversation. A setting that is best spent sharing and forming memories with family and friends. You should choose the best setting and find the perfect bottle to match.
If Headcase Wines could be articulated through sound, what track and by who would it be?
That is a hard question…I have always been a fan of the 'blues' and ‘rock’ which is also what we all loved as a family. I think that ‘rock music’... if a can be quite simplistic for a moment, has continually redefined itself and I hope it continues to.
The War on Drugs most likely. I think the music they have created in the past decade pay homage to classic sounds of Springsteen among a plethora of influences, whilst still producing something that is distinctly modern and of its era and helping to redefine rock.
What are you listening to right now?
The War on Drugs is always on heavy rotation. Also the first new singles from Tame Impala sound fantastic, I am looking forward to the new album.