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2016 Thistledown "Cunning Plan" Shiraz Langhorne Creek (Elsewhere $25)

SKU #1375619 94 points James Halliday

 The youthful colour has the depth to promise abundant black fruits, whole berry fermentation underlining the promise. It has the succulence of Langhorne Creek, but with a raft of flowery/spicy notes not so common in the region. Mocha oak adds another dimension, cuddling up to the plump tannins. Hedonistic? You bet.  (5/2017)

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By: Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/30/2020 | Send Email
I had to do a double-take at the price of this during our last staff tasting. If you like the dense, robust opulence of Australian Shiraz, this wine has it for under $15. Robust scents of mulled blackberries, black pepper and mint, with undertones of smoke and espresso that come out on the palate. A fresh, zingy acidity lifts all that richness on the back end, making for a superbly made wine at a great price.

By: Andrew Tobin | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/28/2020 | Send Email
Shiraz is really what first introduced me to Syrah, now many years later it is on rare occasion that I revisit Shiraz and I always wonder why I don't drink it more. The Thistledown is a screaming deal of bottle, it jumps out with expected notes meat and pepper but there was a surprising clove note with nutmeg and anise. The finish is slightly floral with lovely long pepper notes.

By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/24/2020 | Send Email
This wine delivers the great combo of ripe fruit that is accented with savory herbal elements and a fine spiciness. The palate is driven by ripe dark berries it is mouth-filling and has nice richness. It is framed with just a touch of oak that softens and rounds it off the wine nicely. A great everyday red wine. There is ample fruit with enough intrigue to keep you coming back for more.

By: Diana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/21/2020 | Send Email
This is really good, truly “Shiraz-y” Shiraz, with black cherry fruit, a plush palate, and a hit of pepper and cocoa on the finish. South Australia is doing some magical things with their cooler Mediterranean climate, keeping acidity bright while retaining satisfying depth and texture, plus showing off loads of deliciously dark fruit. And what is this amazing price?! I’ve already bought several bottles.

By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/16/2020 | Send Email
The Thistledown is a delicious walk down memory lane when Australian Shiraz was lush, peppery and fruit filled. Dynamic and lusty on the palate this is a gorgeous full throttle wine that is unapologetically Aussie. We became a little numb to the "Barossa" style years ago but it is worth revisiting because it's so damn fun to drink! My new go-to wine for grilled lamb chops!

By: Tim Telli | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/15/2020 | Send Email
This is a lot of wine for $15. Black and blue fruits on the nose with some oak spice and barrel notes in the background. Subtle hints of eucalyptus and violets add to the complex flavors. It finishes with some nice acid that keeps it fresh and light on the palate. This is classic Australian Shiraz that would be awesome with some smoked brisket or barbecue ribs.

By: Thomas Smith | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/13/2020 | Send Email
Thistledown may very well be the most ambitious winemaking project in the Barossa Valley to date. Founded by two Masters of Wine, Thistledown focuses on sourcing fruit from some of the oldest vines in South Australia, and therefore the world. Yet, their results are strikingly modern. The "Cunning Plan" shows off this style beautifully. Rich, supple, full of sweet fruit but balanced by bright acidity that keeps it lightened and fresh. Blackfruited with cassis, black cherry and cocoa powder, this is a whole lot of wine that manages to stay balanced while delivering on fruit. We managed to get an incredible deal on this one, so grab it while you can!

By: Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/13/2020 | Send Email
Thistledown hails from McLaren Vale, an area pinched between gulf waters and intense hills. Their Cunning Plan Shiraz punches with rich berry intensity. Blackberry jam meets dried strawberries and cherry pie. Warming spices emerge to emphasize the fruit pie characteristics. The mouthfeel is silky and rounded, and there's a nice little nip of spice that peeks through on the palate. Greenery comes into the fold and then it's back to the bramble berry fruit. This is a fun and easy-drinking wine with darker fruit tones that I especially like with grilled meats and roasted vegetables.

By: Lauren Seward | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/13/2020 | Send Email
At this price, you’ll be hard pressed to find another Shiraz with as much going on as Thistledown’s Cunning Plan. This is one of those wines that is unassuming at first purchase, but really sings in the glass. Rich in color and flavor, it showcases a dark fruit and soft spice aroma, a taste profile that runs the gamut from blue fruit to cocoa and tobacco, and a silky smooth (albeit brief) finish. This is a very soft wine with mellow acidity that doesn’t require a food pairing, unlike many other Australian Shiraz(s?) with this much intensity.

By: Aaron Hughes | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/12/2020 | Send Email
A generous nose of ripe cherries and blackberries with hints of sage and tobacco give this wine an impressive entrance. Dark in color and palate, there's a depth and richness that you can't often find at this price point. As it sits in the glass, the fruit gets slightly candied notes while the wine itself remains on the edge of austere. While not without tannins, this wine doesn't need a meal to cut through and would be approachable by itself. The finish lingers pleasantly and in the end what you have is a well-priced Shiraz that doesn't disappoint.

By: Miles Philippe | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/12/2020 | Send Email
This is one of those wines that you place on the table if you just want to enjoy something without any effort. Rich, full, and plush, this wine is exploding with fruits and berries of all kinds. To me, the fruits are more driven by black and blue berries with some purple fruits mixed in. The texture is velvety and lends itself to a rich and satisfying glass. The more amazing thing in my eyes is that even though this is a fat wine, it is far from flabby!

By: Shaun Green | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/12/2020 | Send Email
The Cunning Plan from Thistledown is a wine that we used to call a 'yummy wine'. Round and plump full smooth and easy with beautiful fruitiness and a very inviting palate feel. A real crowd pleaser and a wine that just make me smile. You might think with this it would be simple, but it actually has some layers of spice and bramble with a fine tannin core that keeps it from being flabby. At this price you can't go wrong.
Top Value!

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