Founders Giles Cooke, MW and Fergal Tynan, MW started Thistledown in 2010, having met years earlier in their Master of Wine (MW) program. With their deep understanding of wine, they sought to make the "pure and precise" Grenache and Shiraz they knew to be possible in the famous McLaren Vale and the Barossa wine regions. The vineyards they source are older, and their fermentations occur spontaneously; they include some whole clusters, which contribute to some of the savor and spice, as well as that boost in aromatic expressiveness we love. To preserve the integrity of the wines, they don't undergo fining (so they're also vegan).
Along with the increased flavor intensity comes a firm core of acidity and velvety tannins that make for a serious wine that will benefit from some air time. These enhanced qualities arise mainly because the Mattschoss vineyard sits above the Barossa Valley at around 1800 ft above sea level (home to the wedgetail eagle that inspired the wine's name). The wine was fermented in concrete egg-shaped vessels that have soared to popularity among winemakers everywhere as a low-intervention method of creating beautiful textures while maintaining a purity of flavors. It's then aged in French oak hogsheads for a year and is unfiltered.
WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "The fruit for the 2020 Where Eagles Dare Shiraz is from the Matchoss Vineyard in the Eden Valley. One assumes the title refers to the great elevation at which this vineyard is situated 550 meters [~1800 ft] above sea level is a commanding perch. The dirt up there is pink quartz pressed into ironstone, and it's compacted into all the dirt roads you care to drive down. It's a beautiful thing, actually. Aromatically, the wine offers up sumac [a lemony spice], biltong [like jerkey] and mulberries with a graphite, crushed lead-pencil character. The wine is minerally and layered with black tea, spring flowers, red apple skins and a raft of forest berries. Really smart, and a decant is going to open this up untold."