Thistledown, This Charming Man Single Vineyard Old Vine Grenache, Clarendon, Mclaren Vale, South Australia, 2020
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.
A remarkable site that has vines of 100 years old. The entire site, planted high in the picturesque Clarendon sub-region, is dry grown bush vines and has been farmed by the same family for 3 generations. This wine is sourced from one particular block where the canopy is raised slightly higher above the ground, allowing for better air circulation and increased radiated sunlight.
Hand picked fruit was transported to the winery where 20% was retained as whole bunches to be placed on the base of a 2 ton open fermenter. Wild fermented and gently hand plunged twice a day during active fermentation. Pressed off to 300 litre hogsheads, of which 25% were new.
Type: French 300 Litre Hogshead
% wine oaked: 66
% new oak: 25
On a beautiful hillside in the Clarendon sub-region of McLaren Vale, three generations of the Smart family have devoted their lives to Grenache. Decades have passed where precious few valued their crop and yet they endured. That this remarkable vineyard has sustained is down to one man, Bernard Smart and this wine pays homage to this charming man. From a near perfect vintage for the site, this wine displays muscular yet elegant silky black fruits couple with deep, rich, warming spices, hints of violet, mineral and black cherry.
Beef casserole, coq au vin.
The Wine Front 95 Points
From the Smart vineyard, up in Clarendon. Interesting to note how much lighter the colour is than the Sands of Time Blewitt Springs Grenache. Raspberry, dried flowers and mint, pretty and spicy. Medium-bodied, juicy red fruits with spicy biscuit flavour, fine grained tightly knit tannin, strawberry and sweet dried herbs on a long fine fresh finish. Stylish. Needs a few years, but so fine and good. 95 Points, GW, 2021
The Wine Companion 95 Points
When siphoning amidst the pantheon of the country's greatest grenache it is important to take time to let wines unwind. And so it is that I write on the 2nd day after opening. Was clunky. Now, a swan! From the cherished Smart Family vineyard. Cherry amaro, bergamot, thyme, lavender and a whiff of mint, rather than (mercifully) eucalyptus. Some malty oak could be shifted. Sweeter than the ‘19 with a skein of freshness and bunchy (20%) tannins tucking in the exuberance. Expansive. The broader of the siblings. Long and juicy. Delicious. 95 Points, NG M.W, 2021.
The Wine Anorak 95 Points
This is from Bernard Smart’s vineyard and siltstone and ironstone in the soil give a ferrous feel to the wines. 25% whole bunch. So supple and fine-grained, but also quite structured. This has lovely purity and detail and a fine-grained savoury edge to the intense berry fruits. 95/100, JG, Sept 2021
James Suckling 97 Points
This is grenache with real purity and focus, offering fragrant raspberry, wild-herb and sappy nuances on the nose. The palate strikes elegance with concentration and delivers such pure raspberry and red-plum flavors. The acidity chimes in neatly. This is just so polished. Drink over the next seven years. 97 Points, JS, Sept 2021.
6 x 75cl
Award: James Halliday 93 Points
Award: The Wine Front 91 Points
Award: The Wine Front 94 Points
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 93 Points
Award: Robert Parkers The Wine Advocate 97 Points
Award: The Wine Front 95 Points
Award: The Wine Companion 95 Points
Award: James Halliday Wine Companion 95 Points