Thistledown, The Vagabond Old Vine Grenache, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia, 2021
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.
Convinced that, of all of the regions of Australia, the greatest potential for greatness is in the McLaren Vale, Thistledown therefore set about finding unique plots throughout the region, looking for specific soil formations that would embue the Vagabond with finesse, varietal purity and texture and sourced the fruit from three or four remarkable sites in the famed Blewitt Springs sub-region of McLaren Vale.
The fruit was hand picked, 68% was wild fermented in a concrete pyramid which had layers of whole bunch and crushed fruit. This ferment had no mechanical extraction. The balance was wild fermented in an open fermenter with 35% whole bunches, hand plunged twice daily. This portion was aged in puncheons while the pyramid fermented was pressed back to a concrete egg and oak puncheons for maturation.
Type: French Puncheons
% wine oaked: 10
% new oak: 0
This wine possesses a beautifully complex, aromatic nose of violets, wild cherry, rosemary and warming spice. The palate is energetic yet polished and smooth with vibrant cherry, spice, wild strawberry and liquorice on the palate. Medium bodied but multi-layered and textural with a very long, aromatic finish.
North African influenced foods, jamon and game.
The Wine Front 95 Points
From four old vine vineyards, all in Blewitt Springs. 35% whole bunch. Some concrete egg, some puncheon. Nice. So much perfume here. Dried flowers, thyme, spice, orange peel, raspberry and strawberries. It’s medium-bodied, quite tense and firm, fine sandy grip to tannin, brightness and so much energy, a subtle meaty edge, dry with plenty of grip and superb shape to the long finish, and fresh red fruits and fragrance to close. An outstanding expression of Grenache. 95 Points, GW, Dec 2021
Huon Hooke 95 Points
Deep, bright red/purple colour, with a fragrant bouquet of black fruits and fresh herbs, aromatic and bold, a hint of coconut, the palate lusciously fruit-sweet at its heart and backed by firm but gentle tannins that are in good balance while supplying appropriate structure. Extra length. I’d give it a year more, but it's a good drink now. I especially enjoy its freshness and vitality. (Blewitt Springs district) 95 Points, HH, Feb 2022.
Jancis Robinson 16 Points
Very much paler and softer than the Thorny Devil 2020. Gentle and flattering though not amazingly refreshing. 16 Points, JR, April 2022.
Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 95+ Points
The 2021 The Vagabond Old Vine Grenache is exotic, fine and layered with silty, black tea tannins. It is the mid-palate onward where the succulence of fruit is revealed, and this comes across as fine but flows up with lithe, ripe fruit and complex spice notes. Eminently balanced and poised, this fills the mouth and the mind simultaneously. Yes. 95+ Points, EL, July 2022.
6 x 75cl
Award: Jancis Robinson 16 Points
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 93 Points
Award: The Wine Companion 91 Points
Award: The Wine Front 95 Points
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 97+ Points
Award: James Halliday 93 Points
Award: The Wine Front 95 Points
Award: The Wine Front 91 Points