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Wine Advocate Score: 97+ Open Wine Advocate Score: rating modal
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Thistledown is among the "new guard" of Australian wine, out to show that they can deliver the country's delicious signature ripeness without sacrificing balance and clarity of aromas. These wines are bold and expressive, like the labels that adorn them! We've got a couple new arrivals that show off some deliciously distinctive sides to Grenache, reinforcing Southern Australia's McLaren Vale as a modern classic region for the variety!

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 97+ POINTS - "Hooley dooley. Good. This 2021 Sands of Time Old Vine Single Vineyard Grenache shows Grenache in its best light; when the fruit is buoyant, succulent, airy and spicy, but also when it has been compressed and screwed down into place by gossamer fine tannins. This is tight yet expansive, classy yet exciting: a wine of amalgums and complexity. So what does it taste like? First, raspberry leaf tea, red licorice, berry coulis... then blood, ferrous and iodine seep into the edges and drag with them licorice, pink peppercorn, hung deli meat and a whiff of blackberry pie. It finishes slender, with graphite and quartz. The cooler year has exposed a fine framework of ripe, whippy tannins, which hold the fruit in place—ever-present yet invisible. What a wine."
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