Best known as an inspirational leader of the contemporary Grenache movement, Thistledown make small batch wines from the fruit of wonderful South Australian vineyards
It's no secret that Thistledown are obsessed with Grenache, particularly the old vine, dry grown stuff of Barossa and McLaren Vale. Maybe it's the result of years travelling around the vineyards of Spain. Grenache, in all its guises, flows through the veins of Thistledown's devoted team. They have begun assembling a collection of some of the best Grenache vineyards, with the intention of becoming the authority on Australian Grenache. Thistledown's approach to winemaking is simple. They work with remarkable sites, so the job is simply to capture and coax the extraordinary richness of that fruit into bottle, retaining as much of the personality and vitality as possible. Low yielding sites, hand picked a little earlier into the vintage, yielding vines of outstanding power and singular excellence.
Thistledown started with a vision to produce wines that are definitively of their place. Though that sounds a bit pretentious, it's just about making wines that reflect the personality of the place, the dedication of growers and passion of the winemaker. Thistledown’s unique blend of magnificent quality fruit, inspired by the experiences of winemaking amongst grand vineyards in the new world and old, as driven by two Masters of Wine, achieves wine of unsurpassable balance and subtlety, texture and detail. Wines which are already a long way down the path to perfection. Experimenting and trialling from within their base of operations in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, working to the philosophy that if they haven't made the best wines possible of each vintage, that they haven’t been trying hard enough!
The folks at Thistledown love wines with life, vibrancy of fruit, texture, tension and drinking appeal. In order to achieve this, they only work with very high quality grapes, from growers who share a vision and are prepared to deliver the most pristine fruit to the winery.
In the winery, the small batches are allowed to spontaneously ferment, using minimal extraction, concrete fermenters and the detail that oak can bring, without dominating the flavour, such that they need do as little as possible to make the best wine.
Thistledown are perfectly set up to deal with the multitude of small batches which arrive at the winery. They source fruit from many of the best sites across the iconic regions of South Australia. Thistledown work closely with growers who, like themselves, want to see the character of their vineyard as faithfully portrayed in bottle as possible. It's become the norm in some regions to give the grapes extended hang time, to encourage fruit sweetness and ripe flavours in the vineyard. Thistledown prefer to work with fruit that still has great balance of sweetness, acidity and tannin, fruit that's picked on the way up rather than on the way down. They are well along the journey of slowly gathering the very best selection of Grenache sites throughout Australia.
Over a period of time, Thistledown have succeeded in gaining access to sites that they could only have dreamed of in the early days of their quest. Privileged and grateful to the god of wine for being able to craft wines from a tally of the finest vineyards in Australia’s distinguished viticultural history.