2013 Thistledown "Thorny Devil" Old Vine Grenache Barossa Valley South Australia (Elsewhere $25)

SKU #1278249 92 points Wine & Spirits

 Two MWs - Giles Cooke and Fergal Tynan - founded this Adelaide Hills winery n 2010, joining forces with winemaker Peter Leske of Revenir. This is their first vintage of the Thorny Devil, from an old-vine, dry-grown vineyard in Barossa, which they ferment as mostly whole berries without added yeast, then age in old oak barrels. It's a wine with serious structure, the tarry tannins carrying fresh cherry and cranberry flavors without any sense of excess alcohol. There's old-vine complexity in the finish, which lasts, clean and savory.  (2/2016)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice* This international venture based out of the former Nepenthe winery in the Adelaide Hills sources fruit from a number of vineyards in South Australia. This bottling is light on its feet for its 15% stated abv, showcasing fresh cherry fruit, gentle herbal notes and silky tannins. Drink now–2022. (JC)  (6/2016)

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Pale garnet with a hint of purple, the 2013 Thorny Devil Grenache offers a tantalizing nose of kirsch, red plum preserves and raspberry coulis with nuances of baking spices and lavender. Unashamedly full, rich and packed with red berry and spice flavors, it has lovely silky tannins and great freshness throughout the long finish. (LPB)  (6/2015)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Vivid and juicy, offering a mouthful of current, dried cherry and red raspberry flavors that are bold and bright, with a hint of orange peel and black tea on the finish. Drink now through 2022. (MW)  (3/2016)

K&L Notes

91 points Wine Front: "Poached strawberry, raspberry, mint and brown spices. It's silky and juicy, tempered by fine graphite tannin, even acidity and has a delicious succulence throughout. Has freshness and vitality, but most importantly, is really good to drink." Winemaker's notes: "With Grenache, we are always looking to maximise fruit purity, texture and finesse rather than making another rich red wine. While there is no denying that Grenache is more burly than Pinot, we always have the vision of making Pinot style wines within the, albeit, challenging framework of Grenache! The Fruit was gently crushed to retain as many whole berries as possible before a cold soak prior to fermentation. Fermentation began naturally and hand plunging twice a day was carried out through to dryness. Gently pressed off skins before 10 months in old oak hogsheads. The resulting wine has the characteristic Barossa punch but there is a beguiling texture and perfume that keeps you interested."

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Price: $16.99
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- Fat, ripe and rich with ample fruit and vibrant acidity, wines made from Grenache are easy to love. While its origins are still under dispute - some suggest Spain, where it is called Garnacha, while others say it came first from Sardinia, where it is called Cannonau - it is inarguably one of the most planted varietals in the world. A hearty grape, Grenache does well in hot, dry regions and its sturdy stalk also makes it well-suited to withstand blustery conditions like the Provençal Mistral. It ripens at relatively high sugar levels, which translates to higher potential alcohol in the wines it produces. Grenache may be most famous in the Southern Rhône areas such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas where it has long been an important component of delicious blends. But it's also the source of the crisp rosés from Tavel, Lirac and Provence, and age-worthy vins doux naturels like Rivsaltes and Banyuls. Grenache is also found in large swaths of northeastern Spain, in Navarre, in Rioja, where it plays a supporting role in blends with Tempranillo, and in the distinctive wines of Priorat. The grape was once the most widely planted varietal in Australia, though Shiraz and Cabernet have overtaken it. In California, Grenache plantings have dwindled from their heyday in the San Joaquin Valley, but it is starting to see a resurgence, albeit in smaller plantings, where other Rhône varietals thrive.


- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.

South Australia

Specific Appellation:

Barossa Valley

Alcohol Content (%): 13.5