2021 Thistledown The Vagabond Grenache

McLaren Vale, SA

A remarkable expression of old vine Grenache from McLaren Vale. Spectacular drinking.



Such a fine vintage, reverberating across such a great wine... so refined that one can only believe.

Ned Goodwin MW (Halliday Wine Companion)

About the Wine

Thistledown is no stranger to Grenache - in fact, they've admitted they're obsessed with the variety, and they work wonders with it.

Their Vagabond Grenache is a deep, contemplative expression, seeing multiple different vinification methods - some parcels seeing whole bunch, some aged in concrete, some in oak, and some seeing time in concrete egg. The resultant wine is filled with floral aromas, the palate overflowing with black cherry, wild berries and a warming touch of spice. It's a polished wine, made with extreme finesse and superbly complex, yet it manages to maintain so much freshness and energy.

If you love a Grenache, you'd be crazy to look past this one. It's a spectacular wine to sit back and philosophise with.

About Thistledown

Thistledown wines is a unique arm of the global Alliance Wine company.

Founded by UK natives Fergal Tynan, and Giles Cooke, the two MWs met while they began their WSET studies and formed a fast and strong bond.

While they have vineyards and wineries across the globe, Thistledown holds a special place in their hearts, with many of Giles' first forays into MW wine travel happening around Australia.

With renowned local winemaker Peter Leske on hand year-round, Giles is still quite hands-on with Thistledown, ensuring to be down-under, throughout the year at key points in the winemaking process.


Peter Leske, Giles Cooke & Fergal Tynan
Peter Leske, Giles Cooke & Fergal Tynan
Thistledown Winery, South Australia
Additional Info

From the Producer

From 4 separate, old, dry grown, bush trained vineyards in Blewitt Spring, planted in deep sands with some ironstone. All the fruit was hand picked with each vineyard vinified separately. One vineyard was wild fermented in a concrete pyramid which had layers of whole bunch and crushed fruit. This ferment had no mechanical extraction. The balance was wild fermented in an open fermenter with 35% whole bunches, 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.

Blend : Grenache (100%)
ABV : 14.5%
Closure : Screw Cap
Drink Until : 2030
Bottle Size : 750ml

Old-vine Grenache
Old-vine Grenache
McLaren Vale, SA
Expert Reviews

Critic Reviews

The Real Review

"Deep, bright red/purple colour, with a fragrant bouquet of black fruits and fresh herbs, aromatic and bold, a hint of coconut, the palate lusciously fruit-sweet at its heart and backed by firm but gentle tannins that are in good balance while supplying appropriate structure. Extra length. I’d give it a year more, but it's a good drink now. I especially enjoy its freshness and vitality." - Huon Hooke (The Real Review)

The Wine Front

"So much perfume here. Dried flowers, thyme, spice, orange peel, raspberry and strawberries. It’s medium-bodied, quite tense and firm, fine sandy grip to tannin, brightness and so much energy, a subtle meaty edge, dry with plenty of grip and superb shape to the long finish, and fresh red fruits and fragrance to close. An outstanding expression of Grenache." - Gary Walsh (The Wine Front)

Halliday Wine Companion

"Such a fine vintage, reverberating across such a great wine. Pithy cherry, cranberry, raspberry bon-bon, anise, thyme and basil. The leitmotif, the thrust of a superbly extracted tannic kit, sandy and pixelated, juxtaposed against the parry of fruit so refined that one can only believe." - Ned Goodwin MW (Halliday Wine Companion)


"Aromas of red cherries, baked strawberries, violets, crushed stones and suede. Medium- to full-bodied with silky tannins. Succulent and mouthwatering. Mineral notes add definition and a hint of saltiness, which creates wonderful integration with the pretty red fruit. Floral as well. Lovely. Vegan. Drink or hold. Screw cap." -


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