red head studios

REVISITED - The Good Doctor's Tonic 2010, McLaren Vale/Adelaide Hills, Australia Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Tannat

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Originally reviewed September 2012, drunk July 2015

Three years on a chance to sample The Good Doctor's Tonic from McLaren Vale and Adelaide Hills.

The Winery

The Good Doctor's Tonic comes courtesy of RedHeads Studios in Australia. RedHeads Studio was set up in McLaren Vale in 2002 by Tony Laithwaite of Laithwaite's.  Back in 2010 at the time The Good Doctor was made, the studio was comprised of young winemakers like Adam Hooper (La Curio), Andrew Pieri (Azzardo), growers like Nat McMurtrie (Pikkara) and the local GP Matt Brown who is responsible for the Good Doctor. They work for mainstream growers during their day jobs then come to RedHeads to experiment in their desire to make wines that are different to anything else on the market.

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The wine

I love the quirky text on the back of the bottle, "Understand the heart of the Good Doctor. By day, the curer of ills. By night, wine-head. The creator of hedonistic liquid delight. This bold elixir is not for the faint hearted. Enticed by the most intense parcels of fruit. It is smooth yet robust, with longevity to reward the brave. It is sure to enliven the senses and invigorate the soul. Enjoy your measure of the Good Doctor's tonic."

I originally wrote in 2012, "The Good Doctor, Dr. Brown, has delivered indeed in producing a special red wine. its an unusual blend that it includes Tannat, best known for being grown in South West France and Uruguay. Tannat's thick skin produces very tannic wines and in warm climates produces good fruit flavours while still retaining lots of natural acid, a good counterbalance to cabernet sauvignon and shiraz. As the description on the bottle points out, is it long lived with layer after layer of fruity flavours. Black berry on top but with something unusual underneath, almost savoury/bitter. "

Now in July 2015, the tannins have softened further and the wine had extra layers of complexity with the fruit balanced by spicy and savoury notes with the length reassuringly long and pleasant.

Pieri Azzardo 2009 Shiraz, Mclaren Vale, Australia

First drunk May 2012

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The winery

About Redheads studio:

Redheads Studio is a project founded by British wine retailer Tony Laithwaite in McLaren Vale, South Australia. Red Heads was a bar, which Laithwaite transformed into a wine bar, winery and small batch production facility. He hired a group of talented “Barrel Monkeys,” oenologists working manual jobs at other vineyards who were often left out of the created process. This gives them an opportunity to display their talents and produce something near and dear. These wines have a reputation for excellent structure and value, an answer to the common Australian “fruit bomb.” 

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The wine

Azzardo is "the game of chance". Who would have thought that the Red Heads team could produce an Italian Amarone style wine from shiraz grapes in Australia. The grapes are hand picked and dried on racks until shrivelling occurs which concentrates the flavours and removes water content. This means that like amarone, this is a truly different and unique type of wine and it really works. The flavours are so complex it takes you by surprise. It is full bodied and heavy in alcohol at 15% Though expensive, I love it! The gamble has certainly paid off with this wine. Fabulous stuff!