Thistledown, The Vagabond Old Vine Grenache, Blewitt Springs, McLaren Vale, South Australia, 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.
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 94 Points
Cherry, strawberry, mint and menthol, orange peel. It’s medium-bodied, a juicy red fruit flavour strewn with herbs and spice, supple tannin, and a juicy red fruited finish of fine length and spicy perfume. Nice. 94 Points, GW 2023.
James Halliday 96 Points
Blewitt Springs, an Australian grand cru equivalent. Old bush vines, as is the wont. Wild fermented with a good portion of whole bunches, some in concrete pyramids sans agitation, before ageing in concrete and large neutral oak. Brilliant! Like a slinky, before release over the top step, as riffs on persimmon, Seville orange, rosehip, pomegranate and impeccably ripe cherry clafoutis unwind and expand with a rattle. Long. A sandy scape of gorgeous tannins. World class. 96 Points, NG(MW), August 2023.
Robert Parkers Wine Advocate 92 Points
You can rely on Thistledown for great Grenache. It's their thing. Here, the 2022 The Vagabond Old Vine Grenache leads with a vibrant display of red berries, exotic spices and black olive tapenade in merengue lockstep. There are also notes of poached strawberries, redcurrants, red apple skins and salted licorice. This is a lovely wine. It feels lighter than I remember the 2021 being. It is delicate. I love the bloody tannins, open-weave and chewy. The tannins are the highlight. 14.5% alcohol, sealed under screw cap. 92 Points, EL, September 2023.
6 x 75cl
Award: The Wine Front 94 Points
Award: The Wine Front 92 Points
Award: James Suckling 93 Points
Award: The Wine Front 93 Points
Award: James Halliday 90 Points
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 93 Points
Award: The Wine Companion 91 Points
Award: James Halliday 94 Points