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.
A remarkable site that has vines of 100 years old. The entire site, planted high in the picturesque Clarendon sub-region, is dry grown bush vines and has been farmed by the same family for 3 generations. This wine is sourced from one particular block where the canopy is raised slightly higher above the ground, allowing for better air circulation and increased radiated sunlight.
Hand picked on the 15th March and transported to the winery where 20% was retained as whole bunches to be placed on the base of a 2ton open fermenter. Wild fermented and gently hand plunged twice a day during active fermentation. Pressed off to 300 litre hogsheads, of which 25% were new French.
Time: 12 months; Type: French 300 Litre Hogshead; % oaked: 66; % new oak: 25;
On a beautiful hillside in the Clarendon sub-region of McLaren Vale, three generations of the Smart family have devoted their lives to Grenache. Decades have passed where precious few valued their crop and yet they endured. That this remarkable vineyard has sustained is down to one man, Bernard Smart and this wine pays homage to this charming man. From a near perfect vintage for the site, this wine displays muscular yet elegant silky black fruits couple with deep, rich, warming spices, hints of violet, mineral and black cherry.
Beef casserole, coq au vin.
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
Huon Hooke 95 Points
Medium to deep red/purple colour, the bouquet subtle and reserved but evoking raspberry and Turkish Delight. The wine is deliciously fruit-sweet and perfumed throughout the palate, medium to full in body and soft in tannins, with refinement, and a lovely lightness of touch. A tad more structure than the Sands Of Time, perhaps. The flavour lingers superbly on the back-palate and finish, and it really brings a smile to the face. (From Bernard Smart's vineyard). Drink 2019-2035, HH, 95 Points, April 2019
James Suckling 94 Points
A vibrant, complex and powerful grenache that is packed with aromas of brambly raspberries and spiced pastry. The palate has density and depth with terrific, red-fruit clarity. JS, 94 Points, June 2019.
The Wine Front 95 Points
Grown on a hillside, not desolate. Well, Thistledown made a man of me trying to open this bugger. I had to borrow my son’s Swiss Army Knife to cut through the stupid thick wax… Anyway, from the Smart vineyard in Clarendon. Raspberry, and then some more raspberry, rosy and musky perfume, baking spices. Medium-bodied, fleshy, ripe but slightly sticky tannin, ample fruit and perfume, a long finish with dried herb and raspberry in the aftertaste. More to come here. 94 Points, GW, July 2019.