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Thistledown, Australia

Ever since historic Scots, James Busby and John MacArthur founded the Australian wine industry in the early 19th century, the relationship between Scotland and Australia has been an enduring one.

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. In one of the most geologically diverse regions in the world, Grenache thrives but has not always been valued – until now.

Viticulture

Thistledown works closely with a diverse group of growers across the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek regions of South Australia and seeks out growers whose fruit is capable of expressing balance, varietal expression and a keen sense of place. In general, Thistledown sources fruit that is grown at about 3 tons per acre which we believe provides us with the optimal combination of concentration, fruit purity and balance. The regions of Barossa and McLaren Vale are blessed with a multitude of soil structures and we like to work with fruit that displays the effects of the changing nature of the soil explicitly - be that the rich, deep terra rossa soils of the Barossa Valley floor or the undulating, sandy soils of Blewitt Springs in McLaren Vale. Much is talked about the role of old vines and they are indeed a fabulous resource. However, they are not a guarantee of quality and in some years, having a trellised, judiciously irrigated middle aged vine may well provide wine of better balance than a dry grown old vine. We therefore like to work with a spread of trellised and bush vine vineyards, old and new, dry grown and irrigated. The consistent factor must be limited yields and balance.

Winemaking

Thistledown wines are made under the watchful eye of Peter Leske at his Revenir winery in the picturesque Adelaide Hills. With consultation from Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW, the wines are crafted to display crisp varietal character, complexity and balance rather than raw power. It is difficult to generalise across and region and varietal but in the main we are looking for open fermentations with gentle extraction and in some cases, influence from whole bunch fermentation. Oak use is subtle and supporting, generally French hogsheads and puncheons with a seasoning of U.S oak.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Thistledown is committed to showcasing the diversity and beauty of the region through wines which faithfully translate vineyard site to bottle.
  • All growers are paid a fair price to enable them to maintain their vineyards and invest in progressive vineyard management practices.
  • Winemakers and owners Giles Cooke MW and Fergal Tynan MW share a particular passion for Grenache and, in ever more detail, Thistledown continue to unpick the rich patchwork of South Australian Grenach
'This set of wines is so on the pulse! I am astounded, smitten and swooning, all at once.''I adore this estate's obsession with grenache''Up there with the very finest that this country crafts.'
Ned Goodwin MW for James Halliday
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