Guardians of a long history, Thistledown Wine Co. continues the tradition of Scottish ingenuity and great Australian wine. From their small-batch winery in the idyllic Adelaide Hills, they work with pristine fruit sourced from iconic vineyard sites. Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW, with the helping hand of Peter Leske, craft lithe, energetic wines that illustrate the benefits of great sites and intelligent, low-intervention winemaking. Giles and Fergal share a particular passion for Grenache and, in ever more detail, Thistledown continue to unpick the rich patchwork of South Australian Grenache – reassembling it in their own inimitable style. This unique blend of superb fruit sources and experience in both the New and the Old Worlds helps craft wine of subtlety, texture and detail – wines perfectly suited to complement rather than overwhelm fine food.
Early on in their Grenache journey, the Thistledown team were introduced to Sue Trott’s Home Block in the Blewitt Springs sub-region of McLaren Vale. Its beautiful aspect, raised elevation and free-draining deep sandy soils are the perfect spot for old dry-grown bush-vine Grenache and they feel so lucky to be offered the opportunity to purchase a little fruit. 5 years on and they have learned a little about the site and refined their picking decisions and vinification to the extent that from 2017 they were content that they could do the site justice by bottling separately.
Hand-picked, on the way up, they vinify naturally in concrete and place whole bunches alternately with de-stemmed fruit to create a layer cake. A very gentle, slow fermentation is followed by maturation in oak and concrete before a careful selection is done, which is then bottled unfined and unfiltered 10 months later. A faithful expression of the site – beautiful, haunting aromatics, fine sandy tannins and wonderful, memorable length on the palate.
Time: 10 Months;
Sourced from their favourite vineyard in the world renowned Blewitt Springs sub-region of McLaren Vale, this is a delightfully mid-weight wine whose subtle layers of fruit lend it a persistence that belies its appearance. Hand-picking and a very gentle winemaker process produce a wine that is a faithful expression of the site – beautiful, haunting aromatics, fine sandy tannins and wonderful, memorable length on the palate.
A great match for many Asian-style dishes as long as they aren’t too spicy.
Our Green Principals are those that demonstrate a responsible and sustainable approach to
viticulture, vinification, commerce and community.
Rational producers demonstrate that they use the least amount of intervention in the vineyard and winery to make the best possible wine.
Thistledown try to harvest a little earlier in order to retain natural freshness and balance, reducing the need for additions and intervention. Buying only from sustainable, premium vineyards, they work with producers committed to reducing intervention and increasing sustainability, where possible, favouring dry grown sites. Minimal intervention in the winery is encouraged. In McLaren Vale, Thistledown works with growers involved in the sustainable viticulture programme.
Fair producers demonstrate a fair and even-handed approach in all aspects of how they conduct business.
Thistledown ensures that all growers are paid a fair price to enable them to maintain their vineyards and invest in progressive vineyard management practices.
Awards and Reviews
James Halliday 96 Points
From 80 yo vines, matured in French puncheons (25% new). A high class wine begging to be given as long as possible before a blind tasting with Chateau Rayas et al. It has the power and depth to its red and bluefruits, tamed by oak, set to develop another leg or two over the next 20 years. Classy tannins. Great package.’ Diam. 14.5%alc. To: 2037.JH, 96 Points.
James Halliday Grenache Challenge 2018
The Wine Front 96 Points
‘Giles Cooke MW and I held hands and sang “If I Could Turn Back Time” while we tasted this in the privacy of my home. Sadly I couldn’t find my torn black tights to complete the scene. Anyway, this comes from Sue Trott’s Home Block in the Blewitt Springs sub-region of McLaren Vale with a total production of 100 dozen. There’s a touch of lift there to heighten the aromatics. Deep, throaty, dark red fruits, scrub herb perfume, spice and exotic things. Medium bodied, fruity flavor of raspberry and
cranberry, but dry and controlled too, plenty of grip, a bit of luxury, and a great finish. Spicy and crunchy to close. Saline. Feels long term to me. I’ve written 95 or 96 points, and either way, that’s a pretty hefty score. Drink : 2018 - 2028+, GW, 96 Points.
Huon Hooke 93 Points
Youthful purple/red colour, medium depth, with a lovely fragrant aroma of raspberry pastille varietal fruit, bright and fresh, clean and pristinely fruit-driven. It's intense in the mouth, full-bodied and finishes with gently balanced tannin firmness. Delicious ripe-fruit
sweetness. Superb wine.' HH, 93 Points.
James Suckling 93 Points
There’s a compelling mix of clear, red-fruit aromas and more savory, spiced wood notes here, leading to a palate that has a fine yet firm edge and a clear statement of red-fruit flavors. JS, 93 Points, June 2019.