Thistledown, Sands of Time Single Vineyard Old Vine Grenache, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, 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.
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.
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: None
A faithful expression of the site- beautiful, haunting aromatics, fine sandy tannins and wonderful, memorable length on the palate.
A great match for many Asian-style dishes as long as they aren’t too spicy.
The Wine Front 96 Points
Blewitt Springs. A single vineyard with vines 75 years old. Exotic, so much perfume of flowering herbs, aniseed, chocolate, dark raspberry and cherry. Muscular style, purple and ripe red fruits, lots of spice, layers of graphite tannin grip, all blue and spicy on a very long and firm finish. Quite something. 96 Points, GW, 2023.
James Suckling 96 Points
This is pretty. Lifted and fresh and laden with sweet, succulent red fruits, tangerine zest, musk, kirsch, rosewater and lilac. Blewitt over the Charming Man from Clarendon. This is brighter, floral, earthier and sweeter; the Clarendon is tighter, more textural, airier and considerably more savoury. Clarendon wins, but it is not always the case. This is still a brilliant, flamboyant grenache, if not a little sweet across the diaphanous tannic seams. It is a treat to witness the rise of grenache, the flag bearer of the most exciting chapter of Australian wine to date. 96 Points, NG(MW), August 2023.
Robert Parkers Wine Advocate 96+ Points
The 2022 Sands of Time Old Vine Single Vineyard Grenache was one of the loveliest Grenaches that I tasted from McLaren Vale last year, and it again presents with a hedonistic display of sweet ripe fruit, supple blood orange inflections on the tannic structure and layer upon layer of flavor and texture. All of the components are enmeshed and present as one. The tannins are again my favorite part of this picture: sandy (Blewitt Springs), pluming, uber-fine and absolutely ever present. This is a big wine but so detailed. 14.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap. 96+ Points, EL, September 2023.
6 x 75cl
Award: James Halliday 93 Points
Award: James Suckling 93 Points
Award: The Wine Front 92 Points
Award: The Wine Companion 91 Points
Award: James Halliday 93 Points
Award: The Wine Front 95+ Points
Award: James Halliday Wine Companion 95 Points
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 97+ Points
Award: The Wine Front 94 Points