Red Heads Studios

Back in 1987 we saw the start of something called "Flying Winemakers"...top young Aussie winemakers flying over to help with the European vintage. Shock! Horror! But...the new ideas, the energy, optimism and talent really benefitted Europe...and...Europe gave the Aussies a lot of ideas in return. Like Red Heads, for example. 
See...the "flyers" got frustrated when they flew home to dull jobs in the mega wineries of the ho ho! "rationalized" Australian wine industry. They envied their French and Italian mates who made just the wines they wanted to make. 
With no money to set up their own wineries, they just made a few barrels in garages. Fantastic wines came out of tin sheds! Wine shippers in Britain and the US loved the stuff. They got backing and set up Red Heads in an old bar that they bought on the road out of McLaren Vale to Barossa. Red Heads was the name of the bar. 
Great name! They kept it. This is now where the keenest winemakers come after work to "do their thing." British, American, Aussie and even French customers love the idea of these red wine "heads" fanantically working away through the night making the great little wines they always wanted to make.

Justin Lane made just four barrels of his own in his garage. But also had a mate, 'Philbo', who made rather more in a bigger tin shack on Chalk Hill that he'd kitted out for bugger-all with cheap rainwater butts, garden hose, a converted milk chiller, clapped old pumps and casks scavenged from behind Hardy's. 
The mantra of Red Heads still rings aloud, 'Drink more wine!' The collective garagistes are still pushing it hard and producing some crazy juice.

Barrel Monkeys

Every great winemaker starts as a 'barrel monkey', dragging hoses and clambering over barrel stacks. At the pioneering Red Heads Studio, their true genius can be unleashed on some of the greatest fruit McLaren Vale has to offer!

It's what Red Heads is all about - giving the brightest young talents in Australia the wherewithal to make the wines they truly want to make. And this untamed classic is the magnificent result. Depth of flavor you'd expect in a wine at twice the price.

Coming off of the HUGE success of the maligned 2011 vintage (just a Top 100 from Wine Spectator for a rather 'shit' vintage), there should be much to expect with the 2012. This was a project born of the vision of many of the top ‘barrel monkeys’ of the McLaren Vale. 100% Shiraz, from three sites in the Vale. This sees all American wood and a lot of love to go with it. Low yields, old vines, and fresh and terroir driven sites. This wine has a lift to it that many ‘blockbusters’ lack.

Varietal: 100% Shiraz
Vineyard: Three Sites in McLaren Vale: Willunga Foothills, McLaren Vale floor & area near Pieri's Vineyard
Vine Age: 25 years old
Soil Type: Varied: Primarily Shallow Gray Sandy Loam over Clay

Reviews:
Price: (12 Bottles) FL $180, 3cs $168
 
Mohawk Cabernet

Make NO mistake about it - Mohawk Cabernet Sauvignon is a pedigreed, classic McLaren Vale estate red. This wine was originally called 'Tomahawk,' though one unnamed winery in Napa Valley had a vineyard designate called the 'Tomahawk Block' and a few cease and desist letters later, we have 'Mohawk.'

'Mohawk' (for once), doesn't refer to anything punk rock driven..that's reserved for the Adelaide Plains' 'Raw Power.' Instead this is a glimpse into the life of a desperate, broke group of young winemakers that would do ANYTHING, sans cash, to get a chance at these great vineyards in the Vale. They affectionately became known as 'savages' due to their treatment of the ho'hum commercial wine industry and that conglomerates' treatment of some great vines.

This is all Cabernet all the time. The answer to the stereotypical S. Oz fruit bomb Cabernet. There is a depth to this wine that gains substantially with air. All-in-all a truly tremendous wine for the $$$.

Region: McLaren Vale
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage: 2010
Vineyard: Two sites - one at the base of the Willunga Foothills and one further south toward Lake Alexandrina
Vine Age: 18 years old
Yield: 3.1 tons per acre
Soil Type: Red Clay intermixed with Ironstone & Limestone
Oak: 19 months in 50% French & 50% American hogshead (50% new)
Production: 2,500 cases

Reviews:
Price: (12 Bottles) FL $168.00, 3cs $160.00, 5cs $152.00, 10cs $144.00
 
Yard Dog Red

Yard Dog. The old faithful friend. A beloved household pet the whole family adores. The quintessential companion. The same could be said for these Aussie varietals, almost every winery owns one. It is said that the personality of a dog will reflect that of its owner and the character of a wine will reflect that of its maker. But winemakers beware! If you do not pamper the pooch you may find that the hand that feeds the dog may be bitten. Beware of the Yard Dog.

The PV and Touriga come from a single vineyard in the McLaren Vale while the Cab Sauv hails from three sites in the Vale as well as Fleurieu and Langhorne. Each varietal plays a role, much like a band. This is seriously one of the most structured wines you will ever taste at this price.

Region: South Australia
Varietal: 62% Cabernet Sauvignon - 34% Petit Verdot - 4% Touriga Nacional
Vineyard: Various Sites throughout the southern part of South Australia (McLaren Vale, Fleurieu Peninsula & Langhorne Creek)
Vine Age: Some Young & Some Old
Soil Type: Organic Matter Present
Oak: 75% Stainless Steel - 25% 6 months in seasoned French hogshead
Production: 10,000 cases

Reviews:
Price: (12 Bottles) FL $104.00, 2cs $100.00, 5cs $96.00
 
Yard Dog White

Yard Dog. The old faithful friend. A beloved household pet the whole family adores. The quintessential companion. The same could be said for these Aussie varietals, almost every winery owns one. It is said that the personality of a dog will reflect that of its owner and the character of a wine will reflect that of its maker. But winemakers beware! If you do not pamper the pooch you may find that the hand that feeds the dog may be bitten. Beware of the Yard Dog.

The Chardonnay comes from McLaren Vale, the Riesling is from Eden Valley while the Pinot Gris, Sauv Blanc and Traminer hail from the Adelaide Hills. Each varietal plays a role, much like a band. The Gris & Chardonnay see a bit of barrel while everything else is in stainless.

Varietal: 38% Chardonnay - 23% Riesling - 15% Sauvignon Blanc - 14% Pinot Gris - 10% Traminer
Vineyard: Chardonnay (McLaren Vale) - Riesling (Eden Valley) - Sauvignon Blanc, Traminer & Pinot Gris (Adelaide Hills)
Vine Age: Some Young & Some Old
Soil Type: Varied

Reviews:
Price: (12 Bottles) FL $104.00, 2cs $100.00, 5cs $96.00