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Thistledown, Thorny Devil Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia, 2022

Product code: 2943
Thistledown, Thorny Devil Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia, 2022

Producer Profile

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.

Viticulture

In 2014, the vineyard the fruit came from performed out of its skin and it was while in the vineyard that they came across a little lizardy fellow called a Thorny Devil. They liked the name and the fruit produced beautiful wine and so decided that it was high enough quality to be bottled on its own. Thorny Devil comes from a variety of sites, all of which have in common that that they are old, bush trained and dry grown. With Grenache, they are always looking to maximise fruit purity, texture and finesse and do so through earlier picking, selection of blocks within the vineyard and a detailed understanding of each site and how it reacts to the season.

Winemaking

The fruit was handpicked from a variety of sites, all of which were vinified separately with up to 30% whole bunches retained in the ferment. Fermentation began naturally and hand plunging twice a day was carried out through to dryness. Gently pressed off skins before 10 months in old oak hogsheads.

Oak Ageing

Time: 10 Months
Type: Old oak hogsheads
% wine oaked: 100
% new oak: 10

Tasting Note

The wine has the characteristic McLaren Vale perfume and spice with a beguiling texture and perfume that unfolds, layer by layer. This delicately hued red is otherwise very elegant with vibrant wild strawberry, spice and silky texture.

Food Matching

A beautiful match for game meats, North African lamb and charcuterie.

Awards

James Halliday 94 Points
While vintage '22 may not scale the heights of '21, it was another attenuated, Euro-styled year of poise, enough fruit weight and immense freshness. Savoury, the signature. I'll take that over obvious sweetness any day. The first cab off the premier rank. A subregional blend limited to old, dry-grown bush vines. Varying degrees of whole bunches. A number of picking windows, too, to embellish freshness and enough weight. Fermentation is ambient. I'd be hard-pressed to find a better wine than this for the price. Kirsch, ume, cranberry, bergamot and a scape of pixelated tannin, sandy of feel, directing length. 94 Points, NG (MW), 2023.
The Wine Front 92 Points
A bit of mint, some char and meaty stuff, raspberry and strawberry, juicy with fine sandy tannin, a little dried rose, and a slightly gritty finish of good length. Good. 92 POints, GW, 2023.
James Suckling 94 Points
The 2022 vintage was a Euro-styled year of poise with plenty of fruit weight and immense freshness, although it has not reached the same lofty heights as the 2021 vintage. Savory. I'll take that over obvious sweetness any day. The first cab from the premier rank. A sub-regional blend limited to old, dry-grown bush vines. Varying degrees of whole bunches. A number of picking windows, too, to embellish freshness and enough weight. Ambient fermentation. One would be hard-pressed to find a better wine than this for the price. Kirsch, ume, cranberry, bergamot and a scape of pixelated tannin, sandy of feel, directing length. Drink or hold. Screw cap. 94 Points, NG(MW), July 2023
Huon Hooke, The Real Review 95 Points
Deep purple-red colour; the bouquet has raspberry and blackcurrant pastille aromas, complexed by gentle spice notes. The wine is medium-full bodied and laced with a delicious core of sweet fruit shrouded in emery-like tannins that impart pleasing structure. Good length: a very stylish modern grenache that can be enjoyed young.95 Points, HH, 2023.
Robert Parkers Wine Advocate 93 Points.
This is a super little wine. The 2022 Thorny Devil Grenache is spicy, supple and shaped, as all the Thistledown Grenaches are, by ductile, flowing tannins in the mouth. This has shape and form, but it is also a plump, cushioned little number that gives all manner of pleasure. It's a generous, smiling little thing, delicious. There are notes of blood, raspberry, red licorice and ferrous. It is sapid as all get up. 14% alcohol, sealed under screw cap. 93 Points, EL, September 2023.
DWWA 2023 SILVER

Technical Details
Varieties:
Grenache 94%
Mataro 6%
Vegetarian Vegan
ABV:
14%

Closure:
Screw cap

Colour:
Red

Style:
Still wine

Case Size:
6 x 75cl

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