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2016 Thistledown "The Vagabond - Old Vine" Grenache McLaren Vale South Australia (Previously $30)

SKU #1512612 94 points James Halliday

Outer quote mark Although the alcohol is the same, this has more power, depth and drive than its Barossa Valley counterpart, which momentarily suggests higher alcohol. It's not, but it certainly needs more time, and will repay the patient in spades. Inner quote mark (5/2017)

92 points Wine & Spirits

Outer quote mark Peter Leske is the winemaker on the ground for Thistledown, working with UK-based MWs Giles Cook and Fergal Tynan, who founded the firm to explore old-vine grenache in South Australia. The Vagabond comes from a vineyard in Blewitt Springs where 70-year-old bush vines grow in deep sands with some ironstone and without irrigation. They ferment it without added yeasts, half of the lot in a concrete egg where they layered whole bunches with crushed grapes and left it alone; they later pressed it, then returned it to the egg for aging. The other half fermented in an open-top vat with some whole bunches and regular punch-downs; they aged this lot in oak puncheons. It’s a complicated plan that produced a complex ine, taking the ripe, powerful grenache that Blewitt Springs can offer and refreshing its scents of road tar and sweet peach with the stemminess of hojicha green tea, a savory tarragon note and brisk acidity. It’s a big wine to decant for a thick-cut lamb chop. Inner quote mark (10/2018)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark This wine starts a little bombastically, with ripe, borderline candied fruit. But give it time in glass and it will keep changing for the better, getting prettier and more ethereal. It's dominated by raspberry compote and rhubarb aromas but then orange peel and violet notes emerge along with something savory, herbal and almost smokey. The palate is light to medium-bodied and those tart orange citrus characters really stand out here, backed by tight-grained yet satiny tannins and a herbal tonic finish. Inner quote mark (4/2019)

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