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Product code: 2875

Thistledown, Sands of Time Single Vineyard Old Vine Grenache, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, Australia, 2018

Thistledown, Sands of Time Single Vineyard Old Vine Grenache, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, Australia, 2018

Producer Profile

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.


Early on in their Grenache journey, the Thistledown team were introduced to Sue Trott’s Home Block in the Blewitt Springs sub-region of McLaren Vale. Its beautiful aspect, raised elevation and free-draining deep sandy soils are the perfect spot for old dry-grown bush-vine Grenache and they feel so lucky to be offered the opportunity to purchase a little fruit. 5 years on and they have learned a little about the site and refined their picking decisions and vinification to the extent that from 2017 they were content that they could do the site justice by bottling separately.


Hand-picked, on the way up, they vinify naturally in concrete and place whole bunches alternately with de-stemmed fruit to create a layer cake. A very gentle, slow fermentation is followed by maturation in oak and concrete before a careful selection is done, which is then bottled unfined and unfiltered 10 months later. A faithful expression of the site – beautiful, haunting aromatics, fine sandy tannins and wonderful, memorable length on the palate.

Oak Treatment

Time: 10 Months

Tasting Note

Sourced from one 75 year+ old vineyard, the bush trained vines on pure sand yield up a wine of immense purity and power that is both light and intense at the same time. Highly aromatic with notes of sandalwood, dried orange, violets and wood spice on the nose, it follows through to a palate that is paradoxically elegant and vibrant but concentrated and persistent. Silky smooth with a glossy, hightly attractive palate of wild strawberry, violets and the merest hint of cinnamon and woodsmoke. Achingly beautiful but deliciously drinkable all at once.

Food Matching

A great match for many Asian-style dishes as long as they aren’t too spicy.


Huon Hooke 94 Points
Medium to deep red/purple colour with a savoury, dusty, nutty bouquet, which is less about primary sweet fruit than many grenaches. The palate though, is lush and deep in fruit, although there is a nice balance between sweet primary fruit and savoury, drier flavours. It has elegance, richness and refined texture. A very smart grenache indeed. Very long on the finish. It's a lovely drink now and should reward keeping, too. Drink 2019 to 2032. HH, 94 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
Blewitt Springs here. Like sands through the hourglass… Flat out beautiful Grenache. Raspberry, dried herb, rose oil, spice. Pure, glowing red fruits and juicy raspberry in particular, cool acidity, dusted with fine graphite tannin, pulls more savoury to close, and runs very long. Fabulous. 95+ Points, GW, July 2019.
Mclaren Vale Wine Show 2019
97 Points and Gold Medal
James Halliday Grenache Challenge 2019
JH, 97 Points, Winner and Top Gold.
The Wine Companion 95 Points
Dry-grown 80yo bushvines, fermented with 33% whole bunches, part in a concrete egg, matured in French puncheons (25% new). A rich grenache with superabundant blood plum fruit, and tannins to provide structure and longevity. 95 Points, NG, Aug 2020

Technical Details
Grenache 100%

Natural cork


Still wine

Case Size:
6 x 75cl