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.
The flood plains between the Angas and Bremer rivers have long been home to some of South Australia's best fruit and it is the cream of the Langhorne Creek crop that are used to craft The Cunning Plan. The region tends towards later ripening than the Barossa or McLaren Vale and this allows them to use perfectly ripe fruit at lower sugar levels which results in wines with better alcohol balance.
Winemaking is simple with The Cunning Plan. Take perfectly balanced, just ripe fruit, pick, gently crush to preserve whole berries and allow to soak for 4 days to extract colour, aroma and fruit prior to the alcoholic fermentation which extracts more pronounced tannins. Following the alcoholic fermentation, the wine is pressed off to 300 litre used French barrels where it matures for 10 months prior to bottling. The resulting wine is bursting with fruit, wonderful purity and that characteristic Langhorne Creek plush, earthy quality. Delicious.
Time: 10 Months; Type: French 300 Litre; % oaked: 100; % new oak: None;
Great depth of ripe plum and blackberry fruit flavours. A full bodied wine with a succulent palate, lively spices and fine velvety tannins.
Heart stews, Asian hotpots, cold meat cuts.
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
The Wine Front 91 Points
This is from McLaren Flat, raised in old French oak. I watched one of the fist episodes of Black Adder the other week, and always interesting / ageing to see shows filmed in the old box screen format. Blackberry, beef jerky, a little mint and spice. It’s medium to full-bodied, savoury and quite spicy, thick with black fruit and smudgy tannin, some dried herb and a solid dry and savoury finish. You can sink your teeth into this, though it’s not hard to swallow. GW, 91 Points
James Suckling 92 Points
Ripe red berries and blackberries, flowers and hints of citrus rind pervade the nose with a fresh core of quite plush dark-berry and chocolate flavors. Ripe blackberries and spice to close. JS, 92 Points, June 2019.