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Thistledown, Thorny Devil Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia, 2023

Product code: 2943
Thistledown, Thorny Devil Grenache, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia, 2023

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.


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.


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.


James Suckling 93 Points
I always enjoy this wine, the entry point to the glories of McLaren Vale grenache, among the world's finest expressions of this variety. Tamarind, red cherries, mint and sap verging on rhubarb. Almost like a Beaujolais, and yet there is plenty of tannic grit. Cranberry, white pepper, clove and dried thyme notes on a long, gentle finish. Delicious. Screw cap. Drink or hold. 93 Points, NG(MW), 2024.
The Wine Front 93 Points
From a selection of old bush vines across McLaren Vale. We don’t know from where, but we trust Giles Cooke MW, Grenache enthusiast, who’s probably over here right now, trailing about somewhere in SA. Cherry, mint, raspberry, something a little steely too, brown spicy and floral. It’s medium-bodied, sappy cherry and coal dust, something a little ozone-like about it (don’t mind me), with plump yet fine grained tannin grip, and a juicy finish of excellent length. Very nice. Fresh. Lively. Gustatory. 93 Points, GW, 2024.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate 92 Points
The 2023 Thorny Devil Grenache is routinely a rip-snorting little wine. Raspberry compote, orange peel, black tea, humbug candies and red licorice frame the bouquet, while on the palate, the wine is plush, luxurious and velvety. It's really good—again! 92 Points, EL, 2024.

Technical Details
Grenache 94%
Mataro 6%
Vegetarian Vegan Bottle weight: 415 g

Screw cap


Still wine

Case Size:
6 x 75cl

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