Thistledown, Suilven Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, 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.
Undoubtedly capable of producing world class Chardonnay, the Adelaide Hills comprise verdant rolling hills, precipitous slopes and a multitude of micro-climates that aid complexity and intensity combined with elegance. Of all the sub-regions of the Hills, Picadilly, as one of the highest and coolest areas has become synonymous with the very best fruit. In keeping with the mountain named Suilven on the label, this is the summit of white winemaking.
With such perfect raw materials, Thistledown's only job was not to undo all nature's good work. Hand-picked fruit is transferred straight to press before a very slight settling of juice which retained a high solids content. A combination of new French oak hogsheads and concrete eggs were filled and then waited for the natural fermentation to begin-which it did at quite a rate! The finished wine was held in barrel and egg, with regular battonage, for 10 months before bottling with only a very light fining and filtration.
Type: French Oak Hogsheads
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 50
Rare is the vintage that combines good yields and high quality but 2021 was just that. A remarkable vintage in that it was once again pandemic affected but that it was measured and mild with none of the heat spikes or drought conditions of recent years. Refreshing white fruits, with a hint of spice and light oaking on the nose. Zippy acidity, white and stone fruits such as peach, and some minerality adding some texture.
A really versatile Chardonnay that pairs well with so many foods but our favourites would include rich fish dishes with buttery sauces, steak bearnaise and grilled veal.
6 x 75cl
Award: James Halliday 93 Points
Award: Huon Hooke 96 Points
Award: The Wine Front 95 Points
Award: James Halliday Wine Companion 95 Points
Award: James Halliday 96 Points
Award: James Halliday 90 Points
Award: The Wine Front 94 Points
Award: The Wine Companion 95 Points