The 2021 Thistledown The Vagabond Old Vine Blewitt Springs Grenache (95+ Points – Wine Advocate) is another spectacular wine and a real tour de force in winemaking from Thistledown. Crafted from very old, dry farmed, bush trained vineyards in McLaren Vale’s Blewitt Springs, the complex, layered 2021 Thistledown The Vagabond Grenache exhibits superb aromatics, silky tannins, and a boatload of flavors. Ripe dark fruit flavors, exotic spice notes, and deep down black tea flavors fill the mouth and haunt the palate. The 2021 Thistledown The Vagabond is a feast for the mind as well as the senses. Bold, balanced, and beautiful, one is hard pressed to find a Grenache as vibrant and delicious as Thistledown’s 2021 The Vagabond. Afford this exceptional, meticulously crafted Grenache at least 20 minutes of aeration before imbibing and ultimately carrying you away, as a Vagabond should. We recommend serving around 58°-62° F. Anticipated maturity: 2022-2032. Enjoy!
In true Thistledown fashion, the 2021 Thistledown The Vagabond Blewitt Springs McLaren Vale Grenache is as versatile as it is prodigious, making it a match for simple fare, the gustatory delights of a gourmet kitchen or, as some of us would prefer, a meditative after dinner experience between you and the wine. If brought to table, Grilled Lamb Chops rubbed with garlic, olive oil, and Mediterranean herbs provides a fine companion, as does a simple Three-Meat Meatloaf. Beef Short Ribs served with mashed potatoes or truffle fries makes a case for itself, too, as does an Herbes de Provence-Grilled Chicken Breast with rosemary fries. Almost any heady ratatouille, hearty bean, or lentil dish will also provide a lip smacking accompaniment in the presence of a bottle of Thistledown’s knockout 2021 The Vagabond Grenache. Bon Appétit.
What’s in a name? Plenty when it comes to Thistledown and their incredible portfolio of gorgeous Grenache wines. Thistledown specializes in old vine Grenache, but not just any Grenache. In the case of Thistledown’s 2021 The Vagabond Blewitt Springs Grenache (this month’s feature), think Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the very best Grenache you have ever tasted.
Two Masters of Wine, Giles Cooke (MW) and Fergal Tynan (MW), are the driving force behind Thistledown and their winery’s elite portfolio of wines. With the help of renowned winemaker Peter Leske, they launched Thistledown in 2010. They hand-make small batches of wines from old vines that illustrate the unique benefits of great sites and intelligent winemaking. Specializing in fashioning tiny lots of wine from prized vineyards has earned Thistledown tremendous critical acclaim and high 90+ point ratings from Wine Advocate, Decanter, James Halliday, James Suckling, and others. Although old vine Grenache has garnered the most attention, including the winery’s The Vagabond Blewitt Springs Grenache, Thistledown is equally adept at fashioning incredible Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Syrah.
Thistledown’s approach to Grenache makes it quite unique in Australia. Although Grenache is Australia’s most widely planted red variety and it figures significantly in Australia’s signature wine, GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre), Grenache is less often bottled as a single varietal and it often plays second fiddle to Shiraz/Syrah throughout Australia. Thistledown’s use of severely pruned old vines, wild yeasts, extended whole bunch fermentation, aging in larger oak barrels, and no fining or filtration render the winery’s superb Grenache wines some of the finest in the land. They are vegetarian and vegan friendly, and downright delicious.
Grenache, whose origin is thought to be Aragon in northern Spain, is the most widely cultivated red varietal throughout the world. The wine’s propensity for vigor, drought resistance, high alcohol, and inherent ability to yield powerful, spicy, complex wines has made it a favorite in warm climates the world over. When judiciously pruned, it yields wines of extraordinary quality, especially in Spain’s Priorat, where it is known as Garnacha, and in neighboring France, including the Languedoc and the Rhône Valley where it shines in all the greatest wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, and nearby Côtes de Rhône villages. It is also the most cultivated red grape in Australia where the country’s very old bush vines, many in excess of 100 years of age, furnish some of South Australia’s finest reds. This is especially true for Grenache grown in South Australia’s McLaren Vale. Grenache also forms the basis for Australia’s signature GSM blend, perhaps the world’s most recognizable blend. California also enjoys a long history with Grenache where it increasingly plays a supporting role in the state’s finest Syrah based wines.
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