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Thistledown Vagabond Grenache 2019

Thistledown The Vagabond Grenache 2019


Tasting Notes

The benchmark for contemporary Aussie Grenache. It hails from Blewitt Springs, the Grand Cru of Aussie Grenache if ever there was one. Giles and Fergal have spent years searching out the best vineyard plots in this small Grenache enclave and now have enviable access to many of the best. In any given year, the Vagabond will be the sum of 3 – 4 different vineyards, all old, dry grown, bush vines planted on the characteristic sand. Exhaustive tasting in the vineyard leads to a harvest that is earlier than traditional and a vinification quite unlike any other wine. The core of this wine is wild fermented in a concrete pyramid layered with alternating whole bunches and crushed fruit. Fermentation begins spontaneously, the layers of whole bunches acting like a mesh through which the fermenting juice moves. Without any other form of extraction, this method retains the individual vineyard characters and energy of site that is the signature of Thistledown. More akin to Pinot than old school Grenache, the Vagabond is textural, aromatic, refined yet utterly delicious in equal measure.

This wine possesses a beautifully complex, aromatic nose of violets, wild cherry, rosemary and warming spice. The palate is energetic yet polished and smooth with vibrant cherry, spice, wild strawberry and licorice on the palate. Medium bodied but multilayered and textural with a very long, aromatic finish.

From old, dry grown, bush trained vineyards in the revered Blewitt Springs district of McLaren Vale, planted in deep sands with some ironstone. The fruit was all hand-picked and 68% was then wild fermented in a concrete pyramid which had layers of whole bunches and alternating layers of crushed fruit. This ferment had no mechanical extraction. The balance was wild fermented inĀ an open fermenter with 35% whole bunches, and was hand plunged twice daily. This portion was aged in puncheons while the pyramid fermented was pressed back to a concrete egg and oak puncheons for maturation. The resulting layers of complexity and depth of flavor are exactly what was aimed for. Racked from there into blending tank and then straight to bottle, unfined and unfiltered.

Scores & Reviews

96 points – JamesSuckling

95 points – James Halliday Wine Companion

94 points – Nick Butler, The Real Review

94 points – Gary Walsh, The Wine Front

93 points – Wines & Spirits Magazine

93 points – Wine Spectator

91 points – The Wine Advocate

SILVER McLaren Vale Wine Show 2020

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