Thistledown, Fool On The Hill Grenache, Eden Valley, Australia, 2022
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
James Halliday 93 Points
Seldom does grenache from Barossa or Eden Valley equal that of the Vale. This is good, but darker of exposure than the luminosity of expressions closer to the coast. But it is still grenache, the finest red cultivar for the majority of Australian conditions by a country mile. Transcendental moments are inevitable, thus. Brambly forest berries, mint, amaro and anise. A swathe of eucalyptus dries the tannins, but there is plenty of push to the extract and underlying freshness for poise and drinkability. 93 Points, NG (MW), 2023.
Robert Parkers Wine Advocate 96 Points.
The fruit for this 2022 Fool on the Hill Grenache hails from the Mattschoss vineyard in Eden Valley, and the wine veritably explodes with crushed rocks, black earth, clove and dried star anise, raspberry leaf tea and dehydrated orange peel. This comes alive in the mouth, where it is savory but spicy, totally New World and a little bit febrile, all the while pushing this forge of raspberry-inflected flavor across the tongue and through to the finish. This is a ripping wine, left of center, super, precise, a bit gritty, awesome. it is really contained in its shape. 14.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap. 96 Points, EL, September 2023.
6 x 75cl
Award: The Wine Companion 91 Points
Award: The Wine Advocate 93 Points
Award: James Halliday 93 Points
Award: The Wine Front 96 Points
Award: The Wine Front 94 Points
Award: James Halliday 94 Points
Award: James Halliday 90 Points
Award: James Suckling 93 Points