Thistledown, Fool On The Hill Grenache, Eden Valley, Australia, 2021
Masters of Wine, Giles Cooke & Fergal Tynan, founded Thistledown Wines in 2010 after discovering iconic vineyard sites in the McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley and Adelaide Hills.
They make hand-made, small batch wines that perfectly illustrate the benefits of great sites and intelligent, minimalist winemaking.
The Fool on the Hill is sourced from two tiny plots of essentially dry grown bush-vine Grenache, planted by Joel Mattschoss, high in the Eden Valley on soils that require a vine to struggle. It’s a spectacular plot with an unusually bright future, though the impenetrable soils, lack of adequate water and exposure would have led all but the bravest to question the sense of the project. One of the highest Grenache vineyards in South Australia at 550m, the meagre soils are strewn with pink quartz and ironstone. 3 clonal selections of Grenache have been planted in bush-vine form with only a little water to establish them. Still young by our standards, these small vines yield fruit with high intensity.
The fruit was hand-picked early in the morning of 27th March before swift transport to the winery where we retained 20% whole bunches. A gentle ferment in concrete egg was followed by pressing to 500 litre 2nd and 3rd year French oak.
500 litre French Oak
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: None
The signature Thistledown lifted aromatics are present but the palate offers more sinew and spice than those from McLaren Vale. Textural, almost chewy but polished dark cherry, mineral and warm spices carry through to a finish of incredible length.
Salted Beef Brisket, Slow Roasted Pork Belly
Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 95 Points
The Matchoss vineyard, where fruit this 2021 Fool on the Hill Grenache, Eden Valley is sourced, is high up in the Eden Valley where the old bush vines really struggle in their quest for productive survival. The wine itself is supple and imbued with smithereen tannins: fine, chalky and omnipresent. This has all the slink and shape you could want from Grenache but harnessed. Thistledown is part of the new breed of the very best Grenache producers in the country. The tannins are screwed down into the buoyant fruit, providing balance, grounding and harmony. You can probably tell from this note that I love this wine; the tannins are the highlight. 95 Points, EL, July 2022.
The Wine Front 95 Points
From the Mattschoss Vineyard, which sits 550 metres above the level of the sea. Dark cherry, plenty of sweet spice, a little earthy/stony, liquorice, dried flowers and sage. It’s firm, plenty of ripe cherry and raspberry flavour, bounteous gravelly tannin, dry but plump, with a very long savoury finish. Terrific. 95 Points, GW, April 2022.
James Suckling 95 Points
Aromas of white pepper, rose hip, strawberry, baked cherry, rosemary and thyme. Full-bodied with fine, chewy tannins. Bright and vibrant on the palate, with juicy fruit and spice. Succulent. Clear, transparent and fresh. Lovely tension here, which will unravel with time. A pleasure. Best after 2025. 95 Points, JS, November 2022.
6 x 75cl
Award: James Halliday Wine Companion 95 Points
Award: James Halliday 93 Points
Award: The Wine Front 96 Points
Award: The Wine Front 94 Points
Award: Global Fine Wine Challenge 2021
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 93 Points
Award: The Wine Front 95 Points
Award: Jancis Robinson 16 Points