Founders Giles Cooke, MWand Fergal Tynan, MW started Thistledown in 2010, having met years earlier in their Master of Wine (MW) program. With their deep understanding of wines from around the world, and being fans of the expressive old-vine Garnachas of Spain, they looked to make "pure and precise" Grenache from the old, sandy-soiled vineyards of McLaren Vale. Here, you find a relative vibrancy and firmness countering the variety's typical mouth-filling, weighty ripe fruit, making these dangerously drinkable. Australian wine great, James Halliday, wrote that "Grenache is McLaren Vale's secret weapon - not merely Australia's best, but every bit as good as that of the Rhône Valley." Enveloping and supple, citrusy & savory, fragrantly peppery, mineral & wild, with the mandatory core of bright, sweet-smelling red fruits...but these are no Chateauneuf wannabes, but distinctively McLaren Vale Grenache!
Following classic Grenache farming, Thistledown sources from old, unirrigated vineyards where the vines are trained to grow like bushes. Following classic winemaking tradition, their fermentations occur spontaneously by the ambient yeasts, and they include some whole clusters, which contributes a peppery herbaceous spice as well as that aromatic pop of fruit that gives the wine more life. To preserve the integrity of the wines, they don't undergo fining (so they're also vegan friendly). They are a certified member of Sustainable Winegrowing Australia.
This one comes from Blewitt Springs, which is considered to be an area of distinction within McLaren Vale. From 75-year-old, unirrigated bush-vines planted in sand, this has an even firmer and more mouthwatering core, and is more detailed aromatically compared with the wines of other sites.
WINE ADVOCATE 95+ POINTS - "This 2020 Sands of Time Old Vine Single Vineyard Grenache is powdery and supple. It’s chalky and plumes in the mouth, with notes of savory iodine and salted berries. Jasmine tea, kelp, pink grapefruit and blood orange...there’s a lot going on here. Sensational."