Thistledown, The Vagabond Old Vine Grenache, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, 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.
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 tFrom 4 separate, old, dry grown, bush trained vineyards in Blewitt Springs, planted in deep sands with some ironstone.
All the fruit was hand picked with each vineyard vinified separately. One vineyard 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.
Janes Suckling Top 100 Australian Wines
Aromas of red cherries, baked strawberries, violets, crushed stones and suede. Medium- to full-bodied with silky tannins. Succulent and mouthwatering. Mineral notes add definition and a hint of saltiness, which creates wonderful integration with the pretty red fruit. Floral as well. Lovely. Vegan. Drink or hold. Screw cap. 95 Points, JS, November 2022.
6 x 75cl
Award: Jancis Robinson 16 Points
Award: The Wine Front 91 Points
Award: James Halliday Wine Companion 95 Points
Award: The Wine Companion 95 Points