I had no idea that Laithwaites, the world´s largest mail order wine specialist, was behind the Tim Minchin-ingly eccentric outfit RedHeads Studio, in McLaren Vale. Australian buyer Thomas Woolrych explained that RedHeads was founder Tony Laithwaite’s idea. The venture started up in 2002 in an old cafe and its small volumes of funky wines were made by a group of passionate individuals, including young winemakers like Adam Hooper (La Curio), Andrew Pieri (Azzardo), growers like Nat McMurtrie (Pikkara) and even the local GP Mike Brown (Good Doctor).
Many of the original RedHeads now make wines in their own sheds but Laithwaites markets and sells the wines for them all around the world. Business is clearly good because RedHeads has outgrown the original site and moved into a new shed this year (pictured).
These two wines particularly appealed:
RedHeads Studio Tomahawk Shiraz 2007 – an exuberant, youthful wine loaded with rich, ripe blackcurrant with a menthol edge. It’s not the most sophisticated of wines but, with its mouthfilling fruit, it offers lots of bang for buck at £7.99.
RedHeads Studio The Good Doctor Tannat, Cabernet & Shiraz 2008 – made by local GP Matt Brown, this unusual blend is funky, long and layered, with inky floral notes and a wealth of juicy black berry and currant fruit beneath. Satisfying and, no doubt as The Good Doctor intended, most digestible. £23.